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July 2013

Valerie Frederickson & Company

Seeds of Wisdom: The Legacy of a Female Entrepreneur

Dear Friends,

Back in 1993 when I was a fledging consultant, I finagled my way into a large employment conference put on by the San Jose Mercury News. I was absolutely thrilled to be a part of this wave of innovation. Just driving into Silicon Valley that morning in my tiny 1985 Toyota Corolla, passing all the high tech buildings, gave me goose bumps. This was to be my first large professional conference out of graduate school. Because I was working as an outplacement consultant for DBM and was networking with the employers at the conference on behalf of the 300 or so outplacement candidates in my caseload, I wanted to learn as much as possible about the employment cycle. In graduate school, I had studied career counseling and organization development and thus, was fascinated by social mapping, networking, theories around personal presentation, career maturation and compensation negotiations. I was already in the midst of developing my big bang theory, which has become the oft-quoted, “There is a right job for every persona, and there is a right person for every job.”

I can still remember the one presentation that stood out the most that day, given by a petite, quiet woman, toughly and confidently moderating a panel of three macho, larger-than-life staffing guys, and having them eating out of the palm of her hand. To this day, I haven’t met anyone quite like her, who had such strong business relationships, was such a content expert, and came across so incredibly prepared, smooth and in control. Fast forward 20 years and, after decades of stellar work in Silicon Valley and beyond, this tough-as-nails HR consultant decided to close the doors of her highly-respected executive search and consulting firm and has retired to spend more time golfing and with her grandchildren. You could say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I’ll go a step further and say that she not only served as a role model and confidante for thousands of human resources professionals, she has made Silicon Valley a better place through her visionary work with the HR Symposium, UC Extension, and Project Hired, among other organizations.

So in her honor, I’d like to dedicate this newsletter to Jeanne Palmer. Thank you for setting the bar so high. My team and I work hard every day to keep it there, and to be as innovative and courageous and ethical as you have been. I hope that we follow in your footsteps.

And, in the professional spirit of Jeanne Palmer, but with the take names flavor of Valerie, next week I will be moderating a panel entitled, Clash of the Titans: How sophisticated HR executives influence their Boards of Directors. As you know, Boards of Directors are getting bigger, more powerful, and have more famous members on them than ever before. This, coupled with the billions of dollars public tech companies control and the ups and downs of the market, put you. as the CEO or CFO or HR executive, into a high stakes, high risk/reward situation—one that you certainly can’t hide from. What is HR's and the Board's role in developing corporate strategies? How much do you really know about the inner-workings of Boards? What are the major differences between private and public company Boards? What would you do if you were asked to present at your next Board meeting during a crisis or scandal?

To help answer some of these questions, we’ve invited an exciting panel of HR superstars to share their experiences, strategic advice, and practical tips on collaborating with and presenting at Board meetings. We’re going to make this fun and also will cover the important areas of compensation, succession planning, strategic workforce planning, crisis management and M&A.

If you will be in Northern California and would like to attend, find out more here. For the rest of you, stay tuned as we will be doing similar panels in various other cities in the US and Europe this coming year. And, for those of you interested in being recruited onto some Boards, send me a note!

Lastly, due to expansion, we’re starting to spend more time in New York City and are doing three searches there right now. If there are any people you’d like us to know, feel free to make an introduction.

Take care,

Current Executive Searches

HR Executive Searches

A unique pre-IPO venture-funded cloud startup is ready for their first real VPHR to get systems and processes set up to scale, put in programs, and prepare to go public. This is a pretty complex business with different lines of revenue so business-savvy and experience collaborating with experienced startup executives is critical. Candidates should be strategic yet really hands-on, an expert in everything HR-related including compensation systems, on-boarding, talent management, leadership development, and have experience working directly with the Board. The successful candidate will be a confident, persuasive go-getter, used to setting up or revamping HR. Submit Your Profile

An important and innovative global technology organization needs a strategic HR leader to guide its U.S. R&D operations as it embarks on an ambitious growth trajectory. This is a highly-sophisticated and complex role reporting into one of the top global executives worldwide. In addition to world-class talent acquisition and management experience, candidates should have well-developed global communication skills, cultural sensitivity and experience working for a leading European or Asian Fortune 100 technology firm. Submit Your Profile

An important and innovative global technology organization needs a strategic HR leader to guide its U.S. R&D operations as it embarks on an ambitious growth trajectory. This is a highly-sophisticated and complex role reporting into one of the top global executives worldwide. In addition to world-class talent acquisition and management experience, candidates should have well-developed global communication skills, cultural sensitivity and experience working for a leading European or Asian Fortune 100 technology firm. Submit Your Profile

A high growth SaaS company, formerly public and now private equity-owned is seeking a global VPHR to set up and run the HR function. This will require jumping in with both feet to start leading and managing the function while simultaneously conducting a needs assessment and redesigning the global HR function, hiring additional staff, setting up HR programs, and building relationships with key internal clients throughout the US, Europe, and Asia. Submit Your Profile

A venture-funded startup, backed by world-renowned entrepreneurs, is seeking their first VPHR to partner with the executive team to develop strategy and build out complementary programs. This company needs a strong, confident, hands-on experienced HR executive who can handle a rapid, high growth environment with a heavy engineering focus. Experience with entrepreneurs, big company best practices, and a highly pragmatic and humorous sensibility will help in this role. Submit Your Profile

A leading SaaS enterprise player requires a new vice president of human resources, reporting to the COO. Candidates must be disciplined, sophisticated, highly-independent self-starters who require virtually no direction and who intuitively know how to make order out of chaos and prioritize a myriad of critical HR activities. Experience in global organizational redesign, M&A, all aspects of talent acquisition and management, and compensation programs is required. An excellent command of technology (e.g., presentations, spreadsheets, systems) is critical to success. Submit Your Profile

A publicly-held, highly-innovative B2B SaaS company is seeking a VPHR who will further develop the HR function into a scalable, global, best-in-class organization. With their recent IPO, this HR leader will be able to guide company through the talent, cultural, and organizational challenges it will face during a time of transformation and growth, and create a work environment that is both appealing and market-competitive to potential new hires. In addition to helping to develop a hard-driving, fun culture, the person in this role will continue to develop a proactive talent acquisition function as well as robust talent management systems and programs. Candidates will be highly professional, ethical, and energetic leaders who have the ability to communicate effectively with board members, executives, and employees. Submit Your Profile

A sophisticated, publicly-held chip company that is a global leader in their space requires a SVPHR to lead the function globally and support extreme growth. This HR leader will partner with the CEO, members of the executive team, and the Board of Directors to design HR programs and services that improve and drive results. Candidates should have prior success leading a global team of high-performers in every HR function including talent acquisition, total rewards, learning and development, and HR business partners. Submit Your Profile

A well-recognized national healthcare services company is seeking a Senior Director of HR, responsible for directing all human resources and health and safety-related activities for a multi-site, multi-state for-profit organization. The Senior Director will partner with the executive team to analyze and revise all HR-related programs and services to ensure both compliance with federal and state agencies and alignment with the organization�s strategic needs. Experience with full-cycle recruitment, compensation, employee relations, and health and safety is required. Submit Your Profile

An innovative consumer internet company, funded by world class visionaries, seeks its first Director of Talent Acquisition as it continues its exponential growth. This Talent Acquisition rockstar will manage a team of 20+ for rapid growth in the US and Asia, evaluating the overall staffing and recruiting functions, rebuilding teams and processes, developing enhanced employment branding materials, and partnering with major hiring managers on workforce planning. The sophistication to work directly with the CEO on key executive hires, the ability to collaborate closely with the VP of Sales on large sales ramp-ups, specifically in Asia, and experience in full-cycle recruitment is critical. Prior global experience highly preferred. Submit Your Profile

A wildly-popular, hip, high-growth B2C e-commerce company seeks its first Director of Talent Acquisition to lead the function globally. This TA leader will need to develop and implement a global talent acquisition and talent management strategy focused on identifying and developing the right mix of engineering and creative talent worldwide. Reporting to the VPHR, this role will include developing employment branding programs, diversity and inclusion, and creating metrics around the function. Submit Your Profile

A name-brand Fortune 500 telecommunications giant is seeking a Director of Employee Relations in one of its biggest markets. Responsible for all employee relations, diversity and inclusion, and compliance for this entertainment provider, this ER superstar will have oversight for multiple teams of specialists and managers, who together provide world-class service to internal client groups and manage the center of excellence, advising business partners on HR matters. Submit Your Profile

The world's most important social media employer is taking things to the next level and hiring their first Head of Diversity and Inclusion to lead global efforts. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create the overall vision and evolve the diversity and inclusion strategies for this high-profile, Silicon Valley darling. Candidates should have 10+ years of experience in HR, strategy consulting, or employment branding/advertising along with experience in full-spectrum recruitment and general management. Submit Your Profile

An extremely-successful commercial food producer with almost 200 employees requires its first Head of Human Resources to handle everything from compensation, benefits and payroll through recruiting, on-boarding and management development. If you love food and would like to make an impact on a daily basis, not only with your employees and your company but with the thousands of people who enjoy your food products daily, this may be the ideal role. Experience with all the basics of HR including employee relations, recruiting, and performance management is required. Submit Your Profile

A leading Fortune 200 company seeks a Director of Talent Acquisition to assess and revamp their talent management function. Reporting into the Senior Director of L&D, this Senior Manager will partner closely with a highly-sophisticated HR team to help develop programs for high potentials, manage talent development programs, and partner closely with the Senior Director to create worldwide succession planning. Successful candidates will be bright, detail-minded, strategic up-and-comers with sophisticated communication and presentation skills and extensive organizational development experience. Submit Your Profile

Internal VF&Co Searches

A three to six month assignment for a human resources executive overseeing mergers and acquisitions and running HR for a 600-employee global software-as-a-service company. This strategic HR executive will have extensive experience in M&A, change management, and global organizational design and restructuring, with recent experience and expertise working in Europe. Submit Your Profile

We are looking for consultants who are super strategic but can also roll up their sleeves and dive in, respond quickly and concisely to client inquiries, think proactively, know when to push back, and are all-around authoritative yet super easy to work with. Both pre- and post-IPO experience needed! Submit Your Profile

As companies look to expand their leadership development initiatives, we are adding to our internal executive coaching team! Coaches who specialize in working with new engineering VP's and Founders a plus. Submit Your Profile

With the continued globalization of our world economy, many companies are looking to expand into new markets, particularly in Southeast Asia and South America. We are looking for executives who have prior experience working in and who are interested in consulting to or becoming an expat for companies who are building their presence in these locations. Submit Your Profile

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HR Consultant & Contractor's Corner

Our hottest global HR contracting and consulting assignments include:

  • HR needs assessment for multiple startups ready to take their businesses through an IPO
  • Interim Head of HR assignments with pre-IPO companies in software analytics, digital advertising, and cloud-based services
  • Advising several European companies interested in relocating their headquarters to the United States
  • Providing Venture Capital and Private Equity firms with on-demand HR and compensation consulting for their portfolio companies
  • Comprehensive review of compensation programs for hot post-IPO tech companies, including benchmarking and redesigning of short and long-term incentive plans
  • Coaching an executive team through strategic planning for their leadership development function including succession planning and creating career development paths for hi-po’s
  • Executive leadership mentoring and “on call” support for CFO’s and HR managers at start-up companies in tech hubs that include San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Austin and New York
  • Customized outplacement projects for Fortune 500 companies in the midst of restructuring or integrating acquisitions

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HR Events

GOHR Star SF 2013
July 17, 2013 – South San Francisco Conference Center, South San Francisco, CA

GOLinkedIn Talent Connection
October 15-17, 2013 – MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV

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Spotlight on...

Clash of the Titans: How sophisticated HR executives influence their Boards of Directors

Join the VF&Co team at our annual HR Executive Lunch Panel at the HR Star San Francisco Conference! For more information and to register, visit our event website here.

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About VF&Co

Valerie Frederickson & Company (VF&Co) is a human resource executive search, HR consulting and corporate outplacement firm known for helping clients build and sustain winning teams in today´s rapidly changing marketplace. Since 1995, VF&Co specializes in creating customized solutions to meet an organization´s human resource needs at every stage and size from start–up to Global 500.

Outplacement Practice

Re–evaluating your outplacement vendors? Require a higher utilization rate for your outplacement dollar? Need higher touch services and consistency across all markets? Since 1995, VF&Co is the outplacement firm of choice for sophisticated corporate buyers. Join the numerous Fortune 500 employers and small firms who have selected us over their previous vendor and are now enjoying the best of both worlds: each employee well taken care of, and consistency in every city.

Price shopping or need to customize a program? Contact our Corporate Outplacement Team at 650-614-0220 or email them at for more information on our outplacement services.

HR Consulting Practice

With the dramatic increase of global technology outsourcing and the continued geographic dispersion of corporate teams, the need for international human resources strategy, design, and project implementation has increased. Our global team of HR consultants has the specialized skills and breadth of expertise to develop and lead your initiatives—saving you time, money, and resources. We can manage the international recruiting function, help you hire key local managers or an entire startup team in an overseas market, and establish HR systems for global expansion.

Why clients choose VF&Co:

  • Results-driven, value-oriented. To keep your HR programs in line with your corporate direction, we provide HR strategy, cost-effective HR infrastructure, and pragmatic HR advice across all critical areas of human resource management.
  • Any size, any stage. We draw upon years of experience with startups, midsize firms and large global enterprises to guide our clients strategically through any stage of growth.
  • Work smarter, not harder. In survey after survey, CEO's say the number-one issue keeping them up at night is "people problems." We help you solve them so that you can get back to focusing on your business.

Contact our HR Consulting Team at 650.614.0220 or email them at for more information on our HR consulting services

Executive Search Practice

Why clients choose VF&Co as their human resources-specialized executive search firm:

  • Prompt results. The average time from start of search to presentation of the winning HR candidate is 21 days. 50% of HR searches are completed in less than 45 days.
  • Superior results. More than 95% of HR executives placed by VF&Co are still with their companies five years following placement.
  • High client satisfaction. More than 90% of the firm's work is either repeat business or from referrals. A number of clients have been with VF&Co for more than a decade.

You get:

  • Access to the best global human resources executive talent available through extensive networks built upon long–term relationships with U.S. and global executives
  • Customized HR executive search solutions that fit your goals, budget and timeline
  • Interim HR management during the search process, followed by an assimilation period to ensure a smooth transition

Interim HR management during the search process, followed by an assimilation period to ensure a smooth transition Contact our human resources executive search team at 650.614.0220 or email us at to learn how your organization can reap the benefits VF&Co can deliver: Improved performance and greater success through your most valuable asset—your people.

Diversity Statement

VF&Co welcomes and encourages all diversity candidates to contact us directly. We highly value the diversity of our VF&Co team, placement of diverse executives into our client companies and our diverse clients, candidates, and supplier partnerships. We want to help swing the pendulum the other way.

About Our Newsletter

The VF&Co newsletter, "VF&Co In the Know," and VF&Co Executive Search Update are the intellectual property of Valerie Frederickson & Company. They are a free resource to business professionals. To subscribe to this newsletter, email

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