Phone Number: (713) 489-9724

Completed Engagement – EnviroGold Global – Chief Executive Officer

Completed Engagement – EnviroGold Global – Chief Executive Officer

Allen Austin recently completed a retained search engagement for EnviroGold Global with the selection of Dr. Mark Thorpe as the Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors, based in Colorado.

Dr. Thorpe’s career has spanned over 30 years in mining, sustainability and environmental operations, across 30 countries and 4 continents. Dr. Thorpe is a passionate leader and has held senior positions at Placer Dome, Golden Star and Torex. He has won numerous accolades in his career and serves as the Vice Chairman of the Canada Mining Innovation Council.

“Dr. Thorpe is a remarkable leader with the depth of experience, the personal presence and the technical expertise to lead our world class team as we continue to capitalize on the enormous opportunity to sustainably satisfy the world’s increasing demand for precious, critical and strategic metals by transforming mining waste into the future of profitable, responsible resource development,” said David Cam, Chairman of EnviroGold Global. “Under Dr. Thorpe’s leadership, we are confident the deployment of our market-ready, technical solutions will accelerate as the Company grows to achieve its full potential, setting the benchmark for ESG – focused corporate performance.”

This search was led by Senior Managing Partner, Darcie Murray and Victoria Lopez-Negrete, Partner.

About EnviroGold Global

Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, EnviroGold Global is a clean technology company capitalizing environmental stewardship and sustainably supplying the world’s increasing demand for precious, critical, and strategic metals by profitably reclaiming unrecovered value from mine tailings and resource development waste streams. EnviroGold Global leverages proprietary technology, superior operationalized knowledge, and an agile, efficient culture to recover valuable metals, recharge resources and accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable circular resource economy. EnviroGold Global is actively expanding the Company’s significant reprocessing pipeline.

New Engagement – Chief People & Administrative Officer – Foundation Communities

Allen Austin has been selected by Foundation Communities to conduct a retained search for a Chief People & Administrative Officer to be based in Austin.

Foundation Communities is one of the most impactful and financially strong nonprofits in Austin, Texas. They are a nationally recognized nonprofit that empowers low- and moderate-income families and individuals through quality affordable housing and tools to increase their health, education, and economic standing.

This search will be led by Jackie Gorman, Senior Partner.

Completed Engagement – WoodRock & Co. – Chief Administrative Officer

Allen Austin recently completed a retained search engagement for WoodRock & Co. with the selection of Shelley Radabaugh Kessler as the new CAO, based in Houston, Texas.

Ms. Radabaugh brings over 15 years of extensive experience as a finance, accounting, and operations leader, developing and executing visions, strategies and plans for organizations across a spectrum of industries. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Corporate Communications for the University of Houston, and an MBA from the University of Houston, C.T. Bauer College of Business.

John P. Dennis III, Principal, Managing Partner of WoodRock & Co., stated, “We are delighted to welcome Shelley to the WoodRock team. Her extensive experience across a multitude of functions and operations made her the perfect choice for our firm in the newly created Chief Administrative Officer role. She will play an important role in helping us accomplish our strategic growth goals.”

This search was led by Darcie Murray, Senior Managing Partner, and Victoria Lopez-Negrete, Partner.

 

About WoodRock & Co.

WoodRock & Co. was founded on the principle that investment banking is first and foremost a service business.  Our managing directors get deeply involved in every engagement, bringing a level of attention and a long-term view that other advisory firms often do not provide.  Adding to our consultative approach, our bankers are more than just bankers; each principal brings over 25 years of experience that includes “sitting on the other side of the table.”  While having deep financial backgrounds, we have also run businesses and been purchasers of every form of investment banking service. Based on those experiences, we set out to build the investment banking firm we wish we could have hired ourselves.

We bring a unique combination of practical business acumen, global reach and financial experience that is vital to assisting our clients in achieving immediate and long-term success. With international relationships and experiences that span the globe, WoodRock is able to bring a level of service and reach that is truly unique in a boutique firm.

 

Allen Austin Introduces Communication IQ™

 

(Houston, TX) – Wednesday, March 24, 2021 – Allen Austin, a leading executive search, interim solutions, and leadership advisory firm based in Houston, and parent company to Gaines International, is announcing an important new service offering to support leaders in pursuit of a culture of peak performance: Communication IQ.

The Communication IQ methodology identifies seven communication styles, known as Life Languages™, which individuals “speak” with varying degrees of fluency. While each person has their preferred styles, Communication IQ aims to help people communicate in all languages successfully, making collaboration between team members a more positive and effective experience.

“Other assessments tend to do their best to describe you and build self-awareness, and then they leave it at that. Communication IQ, on the other hand, is both descriptive and prescriptive,” says Danielle Mairs, Managing Partner of Allen Austin’s Leadership Advisory practice. “It doesn’t just tell you about who you are – it tells you what you can do to improve, both as a person and as a team. It’s a growth mindset, not a fixed one.”

Gerald Parsons, CEO of Life Languages International and of the Communication IQ methodology, cites years of experience and research to back up his model.

“We’re used to some pretty dramatic numbers,” says Gerald. “Failure to communicate is at the core of most failures in a business setting, so investing in communication pays off. One of our clients, for example, lowered their turnover from 40% to 12%, and saved $1.5 million. Those are numbers we are very proud of.”

Having completed her certification as a Communication IQ Consultant, Ms. Mairs will lead Allen Austin’s leadership advisory practice in offering Communication IQ services to new and existing clients. Offerings include Communication IQ Foundations Workshops, point-of-need workshops, and team and individual coaching. Communication IQ services are also available as an add-on to complement Allen Austin’s retained search engagements, helping new executives integrate more smoothly into existing teams.

Following the launch of this new service offering, Ms. Mairs will host a complimentary, virtual introduction to Communication IQ on April 22, from 2-3 p.m. Central Standard Time. Allen Austin encourages interested participants to register online here.

To learn more, please visit our website or contact Danielle Mairs at DMairs@AllenAustin.com.

 

About Allen Austin

Allen Austin is a global management consulting firm specializing in retained search, interim solutions, and leadership advisory services. In an industry that has not innovated in over 100 years, Allen Austin delivers solutions based on Total Performance Leadership™, the nine principles that enable organizations to reach their highest potential, engaging their workforces and delivering unprecedented shareholder returns.

We are trusted advisors to boards, CEOs, and senior leaders of companies small and large, public and private, family-owned, private equity, venture-backed, domestic and international. You can count on us for competence, understanding, empathy, consistency, transparency, and honesty, even when it is not convenient.  Allen Austin’s core purpose is to improve the lives and effectiveness of our associates, clients, and the leaders of the world. Our mission is to help leaders build high performance, purpose-driven organizations that produce unprecedented results. For more information, please visit www.AllenAustin.com.

Allen Austin Announces New Interim Leadership Practice

(Houston, TX) – Wednesday, March 3, 2021 – Allen Austin, a leading executive search and leadership advisory firm based in Houston, and parent company to Gaines International, is pleased to announce Ari Cretu has joined the firm as Managing Partner of its Interim Leadership & Project Consulting practice.

“I was drawn to the firm by its commitment to culture, disciplined approach to client service, and proven methods of success,” says Ari. “Allen Austin has an aggressive growth strategy planned for the next five years, and I’m honored to be a part of that growth trajectory through building the Interim Practice. It’s an exciting time to join the team, and I’m ready to hit the ground running.”

In his new role, Ari’s responsibilities will include client management, engagement delivery, and overall execution of services. He will also serve as a key member of Allen Austin’s leadership team, assisting in the strategic direction and tactical plans of the firm.

Ari brings 15+ years of experience providing advisory services and interim leadership to start-ups, private equity-backed entities, and publicly traded enterprises. Ari has built a strong track record of assisting companies in identifying critical business issues and driving revenue growth across multiple service offerings, industries, and geographical markets. He prides himself on building longstanding partnerships with investors, owner-operators, management, and boards to deliver value to the organization.

“While getting to know Ari over the last several months, it’s clear that he is not only an exceptional consultant and leader, but he also shares a commitment to our mission, vision and values,” says Darcie Murray, Senior Managing Partner. “We are extremely excited to have him on our team, and for the opportunity to add another service offering for our clients. Our purpose and passion at Allen Austin centers around helping companies build cultures of peak performance and adding an Interim Leadership practice is another avenue through which we aim to be long-term partners and advisors for our clients.”

To learn more, please visit our Interim Leadership Practice page or contact Ari Cretu at acretu@allenaustin.com.

 

About Allen Austin

Allen Austin is a global management consulting firm specializing in retained search and leadership advisory. In an industry that has not innovated in over 100 years, Allen Austin delivers solutions based on Total Performance Leadership™, the nine principles that enable organizations to reach their highest potential, engaging their workforces and delivering unprecedented shareholder returns.

We are trusted advisors to boards, CEOs, and senior leaders of companies small and large, public, and private, family-owned, private equity, venture-backed, domestic, and international. You can count on us for competence, understanding, empathy, consistency, transparency, and honesty, even when it is not convenient. Allen Austin’s core purpose is to improve the lives and effectiveness of our associates, clients, and the leaders of the world. Our mission is to help leaders build high performance, purpose-driven organizations that produce unprecedented results. For more information, please explore our website.

Allen Austin Launches Executive Mentorship

(Houston, TX) – Wednesday, February 10, 2021 – Allen Austin, a leading executive search and leadership advisory firm based in Houston, and parent company to Gaines International, is announcing a new service offering: Executive Mentorship. This service connects talented new executives with qualified external mentors, providing a confidential space for learning and development.

“Our reputation as one of the world’s most effective retained search firms has been built largely on a commitment to facilitate matches that work and last. We practice search as a specialized form of management consulting and are known for helping clients get clear about exactly what they are trying to accomplish and who and what they need to get there. We want candidates and clients to be happy together for many years to come,” says Danielle Mairs, Managing Partner of Leadership Advisory. To Allen Austin, mentorship is an extension of that same idea. “We match new hires with mentors who have been in their shoes, who know what it takes to succeed. It’s an investment in talent for the long term.”

Allen Austin, in partnership with Executive Springboard, engages a diverse group of 80+ mentors, representing 15 functional areas, 10 countries, and decades of experience in Fortune 1000 companies. Each mentor has a minimum of 6 years of experience as a senior officer and a long history of service as an internal mentor.

“When they’re already at the top level of an organization, where are new leaders supposed to go for guidance? Too often, there’s no answer to that question,” says Steve Moss, President of Executive Springboard. “Even when there is internal mentorship available, it can be hard for executives to be vulnerable with their coworkers while establishing themselves as new leaders. We see external mentorship as the solution to that problem.”

In Allen Austin’s program, mentorship is confidential. Mentees, not mentors, report on their progress. This lets employers understand the return they get on their investment. It also leaves mentees free to ask questions they may otherwise avoid, receiving expert advice from an impartial perspective.

Mentorship programs are available at both the Vice President and C-Suite levels, and it is offered either as an add-on service to a search engagement or as a standalone service.

To learn more, please visit our website or contact Danielle Mairs at DMairs@AllenAustin.com.

About Allen Austin

Allen Austin is a global management consulting firm specializing in retained search and leadership advisory. In an industry that has not innovated in over 100 years, Allen Austin delivers solutions based on Total Performance Leadership™, the nine principles that enable organizations to reach their highest potential, engaging their workforces and delivering unprecedented shareholder returns.

We are trusted advisors to boards, CEOs, and senior leaders of companies small and large, public and private, family-owned, private equity, venture-backed, domestic and international. You can count on us for competence, understanding, empathy, consistency, transparency, and honesty, even when it is not convenient.  Allen Austin’s core purpose is to improve the lives and effectiveness of our associates, clients, and the leaders of the world. Our mission is to help leaders build high performance, purpose-driven organizations that produce unprecedented results. For more information, please visit www.AllenAustin.com.

Building Peak-Performance Cultures #34: Unified Leadership – Symptoms of the Abilene Paradox

 

Written by Rob Andrews, with paraphrased content from The Abilene Paradox by Dr. Jerry Harvey.

In last week’s blog post, we introduced Jerry Harvey’s concept of the Abilene Paradox – those situations where everyone knows they’re headed in the wrong direction, but nobody points it out. Each person assumes, incorrectly, that they are the only one with a desire to change course. Each person, afraid of rocking the boat, gives in to what they think is the majority opinion. This leaves the actual majority opinion unsaid.

According to Jerry, the most prevailing issue in modern organizations is not the inability to manage conflict. Rather, it is what he calls “an inability to manage agreement.” In my opinion, the jury is still out on which problem causes more chaos. But it is undoubtedly true that agreement management is a necessary skill for any unified leadership team. This week, I want to share the symptoms of poor agreement management – the building blocks of every Abilene Paradox – and stress the importance of preventative treatment.

Groups that fail to manage agreement effectively display six specific characteristics:

  1. Organizational members individually agree in private about the nature of the situation or problem facing the organization.
  2. Organizational members individually agree in private about what steps would be required to cope with the situation or problem.
  3. Organizational members fail to accurately communicate their desires, concerns, and/or beliefs to one another. Rather, they do the opposite, thereby leading one another into misperceiving their collective reality.
  4. Operating on invalid and inaccurate data, organizational members make collective decisions that lead them to take actions contrary to what they believe is right, behaving in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s stated purpose.
  5. As a result of taking counterproductive actions, members face frustration, anger, irritation, and dissatisfaction with their organization.
  6. Members form subgroups with trusted individuals and blame other individuals, authority figures, or subgroups for the organization’s dilemma.
  7. Finally, if the members don’t deal with the organization’s inability to manage agreement, the cycle repeats itself with greater intensity.

As an example of how these characteristics show up in real life, I’d like to share the story of National Convenience Stores.

I worked for NCS from 1984 to 1991, when they were the third largest convenience store operator on the planet. For much of that time, I led their largest operating division, 516 stores that stretched between El Paso and West Palm Beach. It was a fantastic job which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I still enjoy many relationships that were forged during that time. We had great locations, great facilities, great executive talent, and a pretty decent strategy. Certainly, we had great potential … more of which would have been realized had it not been for our repeated trips to Abilene

The CEO I worked for was one of only two people to preside over NCS during its 36-year history. He was one of the most capable men I’ve ever known. I will always be grateful to him for the tremendous opportunities he afforded me. He was, however, prone to trips to Abilene for several reasons.

Notably, he didn’t particularly like the C-Store business and didn’t appreciate its fundamentals. Like the leadership of many companies, NCS leadership was comprised of extremely bright, exceptionally talented individuals. But they were not a united team, and they were not skilled at managing agreement. This lack of unity led NCS along on three particularly long and costly trips to Abilene, each of which could have been avoided.

The first long trip to Abilene during my tenure took place between 1984 and 1986. We opened approximately 150 “Hex” stores during that time, many of which were opened on ill-suited properties. Hex stores were large, hexagonally shaped stores with huge gasoline instillations designed and built to attract women and older shoppers. The stores were very successful when built on the right real estate.

The problem was a commitment to open 50 new Hex stores in 1986, when most of the available sites were intended for smaller conventional stores. It has been well documented that no one on the senior leadership team wanted to build these larger stores, which cost twice as much to build and operate as a conventional unit. But the CEO had made a public commitment, and the stores were built, resulting in millions of dollars in losses. By 1988, all senior leaders said they wished they had been more vocal in dissuading their CEO from building Hex stores on conventional store sites.

The second trip was in 1988 when a new Vice President of Marketing conceived a consumer promotion, still lamented 30+ years later as “The Black & Decker Debacle.” The promotion was meant to build customer traffic by issuing a ten-spot punch card. Customers would receive one punch for an eight-gallon fuel purchase, and double punches for purchasing premium gasoline. When customers had saved up ten punches, they received a Black & Decker product with an average cost of $20.

Two senior operators voiced concerns that the margin on fuel purchased on each card could not exceed $8, so the average loss to the company would be $12 per card. The 16-week promotion went forward and was abruptly discontinued after 6 weeks at a cost of $9 million and the loss of substantial customer loyalty. A postmortem revealed that several senior leaders felt uneasy about the promotion, but were reticent to voice their opinions because the enthusiasm levels were so high, and due to their desire to support the new VP of Marketing.

A third and even more costly trip to Abilene took place in 1989 when a new Vice President of Advertising championed a major initiative around “Great Sandwiches,” designed to energize NCS’s Houston customer base, where it operated 500 stores. The playbook called for 430 retrofitted checkout counter sandwich cases, a new $3 million commissary, and a fleet of delivery trucks with “Great Sandwiches – Made Fresh Every Day!” plastered on all sides.

Now the pesky details: The average store sold six sandwiches a day prior to launch, at an average retail of $.99, or a little over $2 in 2020 inflation-adjusted dollars. Breakeven on “Great Sandwiches” was 40 sandwiches a day at $5, or a little over $10 in inflation adjusted dollars. This grand scheme was discontinued after less than a year at a total cost of over $12 million, having been challenged at its inception by few and buoyed by the tacit support of a skeptical – but silent – majority. Those few who voiced concerns still lament this painful trip to Abilene, and wish they had been more vocal in expressing their misgivings.

In the rear-view mirror, these trips are almost comical. In real time, they were unbearable. They had significant negative impact on the organizations’ financial health. In a company that generated $25 million in cash flow during its best year, these three trips to Abilene conservatively cost the company over $30 million.

If this material causes you to think there may be some of the Abilene Paradox at work in your organization, we’d love to help. Give us a call.

 

Warmest Regards,

Rob

Completed Engagement – Archer Systems LLC – Vice President of Lien Operations

Allen Austin recently completed a retained search engagement for ARCHER SYSTEMS, LLC with the selection of Alex Blacutt as Vice President of Lien Operations, based in Austin, Texas. Mr. Blacutt brings over 18 years’ experience in successful business process transformation, change management and cross-functional collaboration. He is an Industrial Engineer, graduate of the Franz Tamayo University, Bolivia. He is certified Agile Scrum Master, Six Sigma Black Belt, and Lean Practitioner with an MLC from University of Texas, Austin, TX.

Robby Avery, Archer Systems’ Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are delighted to welcome Alex to the Archer Systems family. He will play a critical role in the continuation of our strategic expansion plans.”

About ARCHER SYSTEMS, LLC

ARCHER SYSTEMS, LLC is a leading provider of comprehensive settlement services including Claims Administration, Lien Resolution, QSF Administration, Medical Record Review and Plaintiff Fact Sheet Services, Bankruptcy and Probate Coordination, MSP Compliance and other settlement services.

The retained search was conducted by Ken Minter, Senior Partner, and Victoria Lopez-Negrete, Partner, at Allen Austin.

Archer Design Logo

Completed Engagement – Lexitas – Chief Information Officer

Allen Austin recently completed a retained search engagement for Lexitas with the selection of John Baker as the new CIO, based in Houston, Texas.

Mr. Baker brings over 23 years of extensive experience as an IT leader, developing and executing technology visions, strategies and plans for global organizations. He holds an MBA from Rice University – Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and a JD from the University of Houston Law Center.

Gary Buckland, Lexitas’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are delighted to welcome someone with the experience and career accomplishments as John. He will play a critical role in the continuation of our strategic expansion plans.”

About Lexitas:

Lexitas is a professional family of litigation support companies that offers an array of litigation support services including expert court reporting, state-of-the-art real-time and internet deposition services, and specialized medical records retrieval services for workers’ compensation cases, plaintiff counsel, defense counsel, corporations and insurance companies

The retained search was conducted by Darcie Murray, Managing Partner, Victoria Lopez-Negrete, Partner, and Echo Green, Partner at Allen Austin.

New Engagement – Platinum Pools

Allen Austin has been selected by Platinum Pools to conduct a retained search for a COO to be based in Houston.

Platinum Pools is the top custom pool builder in Houston, Beaumont, and Victoria TX. They have been building custom swimming pools in Southeast Texas since 1998, and is the Houston pool builder whose clients can trust with the construction of their backyard swimming pools.  Platinum Pools prides itself on providing high quality swimming pools, and no matter what the design is, every customer can count on the company’s team of experienced pool professionals to get the desired results. Their commitment to quality has resulted in Platinum Pools being voted “top swimming pool builder in Texas” by several trusted sources.

The search will be led by Darcie Murray, Managing Partner, and Kelly Thomas, Partner.