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March 2014

Valerie Frederickson & Company

2014 has started out with a bang—a very big one. Between closing searches and kicking off new ones, helping our customers set up new HR systems and continuing to provide strategic support to organizations going through restructuring, it has been a wonderful few months. If that was not enough, in response to our clients’ needs, we have grown our team by almost 28%, opened an office in San Francisco and are currently in the process of relocating our HQ to a new location in Menlo Park (see Spotlight for more details). I am out of breath just explaining this and our team has not had a single moment of downtime. To this end, I will be keeping this month’s note short and sweet.

The big picture is that 2014 will be a good year for your career. CEO’s will be spending and investing in their people again even if they are not hiring. We are also placing HR execs at a much quicker pace than normal so please check out our current searches and forward them to anyone who might be looking. If you happen to be in Northern California, in April, I will be speaking on the war for talent and how to come out on top at NCHRA, and, in July, I will be offering tips on how to reboot your career at HR Star.

Take care,

Ask Valerie

To submit your most daunting HR questions, email us at or visit us on Quora.

QHow do a company’s HR needs differ before and after their IPO?

This is a topic that could fill several books but I’ll focus on the core issues. For pre-IPO companies, the focus is usually on talent (finding, getting and keeping), assisting the founders in identifying the company culture, and building out a management team. Just before and after the IPO, the focus shifts to long-term scalability, namely developing and documenting the systems and processes that will help the company comply with various regulatory requirements and also create a transparency in how the company rewards successes and failures.

QWhat can your next job be after you are publicly fired from a high profile position?

First, let’s moonwalk back a bit. Always, always, and did I already mention, ALWAYS manage your departure. In many cases, an astute professional knows that things are not working out well in advance. Take control, think though how you want your employment to end, and then initiate action with a negotiated separation package. Let’s face it. Sometimes, it is just not a good personality fit, or the management changes after you arrive, or the company loses funding. There’s not use pointing fingers. Be positive, manage the dialogue (this will take a load off of the leadership), rise above the pettiness, and calmly and logically plan your transition. If you can manage all of the above, finding your next spot will not be a problem. If, however, you are being indicted for fraud or other professional misconduct, good luck.

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Current Executive Searches

HR Executive Searches

A high-impact social change platform, recognized and featured in most of the major media outlets in the past year, needs its first Global Head of HR to cultivate a culture of creativity and commitment to a long-term shift towards social good. Reporting into the COO and CEO, this superstar will oversee HR through an aggressive ramp-up of both headcount and global offices. The ideal prospect would have worked in a high-growth environment, be an inspiring leader and executive coach, have experience in a high-growth environment, possess a global mindset and expertise, and be able to think quickly on their feet and roll with the punches. The ability to create meaningful relationships while accomplishing all tasks is vital. Submit Your Profile

An international retailer with a US presence since the 1930's needs a Director of Human Resources to set HR strategy for a newer division of their business. Leading a small team, this strategic HR director will serve as a business partner to the division leadership as they embark on an ambitious reorganization and growth plan, all while instilling the positive, customer-centric culture of the parent company. The ideal candidate will have past experience in a fast-paced, chaotic, engineer-centric environment with the ability to think through and change directions. Prior experience working in a mixed startup/retail environment is ideal. Submit Your Profile

A high-growth digital media company, expanding rapidly overseas in APAC, needs a Senior Director of Human Resources to lead their US HR operations. Partnering closely with a sophisticated, strategic Head of HR, this individual will the #2 in the succession line and oversee all HR initiatives for the Americas, including talent management, training and development, total rewards, and employee relations. The ideal candidate will be a highly-analytical, smart up-and-comer with experience heading a key division within a larger corporation. An individual with a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude will be an excellent fit for the company culture. Submit Your Profile

An internationally renowned technology company that has seen tremendous growth in the past 6 months needs a Senior Director of Internal Communications to plan internal messaging strategies during a time of reorganization. This individual will partner closely with company leaders, marketing and legal to spearhead all internal communications efforts for this 5000+ employee company. A background in marketing and communications along with prior experience running the marketing function of a smaller company or the communications of a larger company is critical. A creative business partner will be a good fit with the sophisticated Head of HR. Submit Your Profile

A multinational semiconductor company that has seen steady growth over the past few years, needs a Director of Compensation and Benefits to lead the total rewards function for one of their business units. Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Total Rewards, this person will partner with their peers, both functionally and across the divisions, to implement a competitive and consistent strategy across the globe. This individual will be extremely detailed-oriented and have a highly-analytical, metrics driven mindset. This is a great opportunity for a strong up-and-comer who is functionally trained in compensation and benefits and is ready to take the next step in their career. Submit Your Profile

A semiconductor company that has had a strong global presence in the market for decades needs a Head of Global Human Resources to lead their people strategies in the Americas, Africa, APAC and EMEA. This individual would report to C-level executives while creating and executing on a high caliber HR strategy across all the international offices. The ideal candidate will have a history of working in a highly competitive, fast-paced tech environment, and would have the ability to shift direction quickly while keeping the global impact in mind. The ability to help foster creativity and entrepreneurship in an environment heavy with engineers is crucial. Submit Your Profile

A family-owned entrepreneurial financial services company needs an experienced HR executive to join their organization as the Head of People & Culture to lead the business's HR strategy as they continue to rapidly expand across the nation. Leading a small team of individuals, the Head of People & Culture will oversee all areas of HR, with particular focus in creating and delivering competitive recruiting and rewards strategies. Experience leading the HR function for a 500+ employee division of a global conglomerate or a startup is ideal. The best culture fit will be an individual who has the savvy of working with engineers in a fast-paced chaotic environment, yet understands the implications of partnering with financial executives who grew their careers in the more-traditional Wall Street environment. Submit Your Profile

A privately-held semiconductor company on the cusp of an IPO needs a Director of Learning & Development to build their L&D function from scratch. Reporting into the VPHR, this Director will have global reach in developing L&D programs for the Americas, Europe and Asia. An innovative, tech-savvy do-er with the ability to both envision and implement creative programs in support of succession planning will be ideal. The ability to communicate effectively to all levels, from executive level down the line to engineers, is critical to success Submit Your Profile

A cutting edge technology and production company with a vibrant and creative culture is looking for their next Senior Director of Talent Acquisition to build and manage new teams and systems. This leader will partner with management to create and set strategies for the recruiting of mid-career employees, college grads, and a vast number of contract employees. The ideal candidate will have led a talent acquisition and retention team, with exposure to other HR disciplines a huge plus. The company moves very quickly, particularly during peak sales seasons, but has a culture that breeds a fun work-environment. Submit Your Profile

A rapidly-expanding big data startup with a 100% growth rate, year on year, needs their first Head of HR to assess their current HR infrastructure and revamp for scalability. Reporting to the C-suite, this Head of HR will provide coaching and HR leadership to the executive team and oversee a lean but effective talent acquisition team. An up-and-coming HR executive with startup experience and a strong generalist/business partner background, combined with global expertise in Southeast Asia, is ideal. A straightforward, analytical-minded individual with an excellent education will be very successful in assimilating to the company culture. Submit Your Profile

A medium-sized healthcare company focused on improving the healthcare experience for the average person is searching for an experienced professional to become their Director of Talent Acquisition to lead their recruitment efforts. This position reports directly to the CFO and would lead a small team of recruiters in filling positions for this quickly growing company. The director would also have the responsibilities of creating a scalable recruiting strategy and design a candidate assessment process to keep the talent bar high while delivering a world class experience to our candidates. Experience in early stage and high growth companies would help a candidate stand out to this company that has won awards for their amazing work Submit Your Profile

Internal VF&Co Searches

We are looking for senior HR executives who want the excitement of building HR for a startup or the challenges behind strategy, organizational design and change management for Fortune 500's who need support during their search process, while holding on to freedom associated with controlling your own schedule. These are three to six month assignments that can include preparing a company for its IPO, M&A due diligence and integration, or running HR for a 600-employee global SAAS company whose incumbent is on paternity leave. These are high-level strategic HR roles and potential candidates should have extensive experience in the broad spectrum of HR disciplines. Global experience a plus! 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:

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

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HR Events

GONCHRA HR West 2014
April 28-30, 2014 – Oakland, CA

GOTotal Rewards Conference
June 12, 2014 – Santa Clara, CA

GOSHRM 2014 Annual Conference
June 22-25, 2014 – Orlando, FL

GOGlobal HR Summit
June 17, 2014 – San Francisco

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Spotlight on...

We’re now in SF!

VF&Co is pleased to announce our new satellite office in San Francisco’s up-and-coming SOMA district. Our San Francisco space will allow us to better partner with our clients (and new neighbours), including, Viator, Twitter, Marin Software, Kabam, and, and allow our SF-based employees to have a much-deserved break from the rough-and-grind commute down the Peninsula.

We’re also moving into new offices in Menlo Park!

In equally exciting news, VF&Co is in the process of renovating a new space just a few short blocks away from our current offices in downtown Menlo Park. Our new headquarters will have an open office layout to encourage greater collaboration and communication, both internally and with our valued long-time clients. We will also begin hosting invite-only HR and C-level executive networking events at our new digs before long so keep an eye on your inbox!

But…there’s more!

We’ve also added two new members to our team: Devin Schroeder and Chris Dawson. Devin, a recent grad from the University of San Francisco, will join our Executive Search team, focusing on building out our pipeline of stellar HR candidates. Chris, a recent grad from the University of the Pacific, will join our Client Services team, focusing on developing and maintaining long-term relationships with our global network of 10,000+ HR executives and counting. Say hi to Devin and Chris (and the rest of our team) at HR Symposium in May!

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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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