Founder & Managing Director, Sapphire Partners
I’m proud to have built a business that punches above its weight and has helped spotlight the vast pipeline of high-potential, off-the-radar talent.
Drawing on her international experience in strategic consulting, corporate finance, and executive management, in 2005 Grussing founded Sapphire Partners (www.sapphirepartners.co.uk), a London-based executive search firm helping exceptional businesswomen and men attain their professional goals. “I’m proud to have built a business that punches above its weight and has helped spotlight the vast pipeline of high-potential, off-the-radar talent,” she says. “Never underestimate the impact that one voice—or one firm—can have.”
Know thyself. The decision to transform your career is very personal: some individuals want to keep going 100 miles per hour while others consciously want to take advantage of a plateau. You’ll need a combination of luck, good judgment, good advice, and balanced risk-taking. Your goal should be to find a role you fundamentally enjoy and are good at.
Benchmark. You can’t transform your career without external input. Take incoming headhunter calls, discover what the market compensation levels are for your skill set, and develop an understanding of what different avenues might be feasible based on where you are in your career or your company. You won’t get the full picture if you’re in a vacuum.
Establish your own independent board of directors. I recommend a combination of colleagues, business school classmates, and people you may have started your career with. One of my best advisers is a pioneering Tuck alum much wiser than me. Your boss and spouse have important perspectives, too, but it’s harder for them to be objective. I am also a big supporter of using an executive coach—a good one won’t tell you what to do, but will give you an unvarnished view of your strengths and weakness.
Don’t undersell your potential. Women, for example, can sometimes be too cautious in making a change and less confident than they should be in leveraging their network or applying for roles. Companies are working hard to do a better job of recruiting and retaining women, but women have to join the fray and put their head above the parapet: have a CV ready, create and update your LinkedIn profile, and network, network, network.
Be ambitious but realistic. Think of your career like sailing: you can tack from A to B to C to D, but it’s pretty exceptional for people to go directly from A to D. Set yourself up for a successful transformation by building your skills, your experience, and your client relationships. If a company’s offer seems too good to be true or too big a leap, weigh it carefully. After all, you—not the headhunter or recruiter or the company hiring you—are the one with the most at stake.
Not every transformation will be successful. Companies go bust, projects run out of funding, roles are over- or undersold—everyone is unlucky at times. The challenge is to learn from those hiccups. If you’ve transformed your career and you realize very quickly that it’s absolutely the wrong job, plan your next move thoughtfully. It’s not a good idea to stay somewhere you’re miserable, but remember: To get back on track, you’re going to have to understand and explain why you made a bad decision.
Don’t view your career as a sprint. It’s a marathon, so make the most of your talents and don’t take anything for granted. If you truly want to transform your career, seize the opportunities. Remember, very few individuals are fortunate enough to have things fall in their laps with no professional setbacks. You have to be resilient and persevere. Be the author of your own success.
You’re never too old or established to transform your career. No matter how difficult a transformation seems, if you want to make one, have confidence and the courage of your convictions. We’re all going to be working longer and there are a lot of careers today that didn’t even exist a few years ago. For someone with a strong MBA from somewhere like Tuck and sufficient prudence and networks, you have the tools. I’m a big believer in not having regrets—just make sure that any risks you take are calculated.
How to Keep Your Company Data Secure
What Alison Connolly T’11 finds fascinating, most corporate leaders find terrifying. The director of strategic partnerships at DarkOwl is an expert on the darknet.Read More
How to Make a Successful Startup Pitch
In her seven years as a venture partner at LaunchCapital in Cambridge, Mass., Heather Onstott T’07 has heard about 1,000 pitches from startups.Read More
Marketing a Disruptive Brand
Twitch is a live streaming platform with a growing global brand and two Tuck alumni, Kate Jhaveri T’03 and Michael Aragon T’01, are leading marketing and innovation.Read More
Charles F. Preusse II
A partner at Ridgeway Partners, Charles Preusse, II T’95 is a matchmaker of strategic talent.Read More
After guiding National City Corp through the financial crisis, Peter Raskind D’78, T’79 found civic engagement in confronting two of Cleveland's public crises—for the sum total of $2.Read More
Christoph Böhmer T’96 is helping lead a 500-strong volunteer effort to resettle Afghan, Iranian, and Syrian refugees in Germany.Read More
Lauren Krostue T’10 tried working in other industries, but something about the hospitality world kept drawing her back.Read More
How to Promote Diversity and Nurture Talent
After Tuck, Suzanne Schaefer T’02 went into management consulting, figuring that eventually she might connect with a particular industry—to her surprise, she instead felt a strong pull toward recruiting and talent development.Read More
At Tuck, Jayne Hrdlicka T'88 learned to think deeply and challenge convention—skills she draws on today as CEO of the Jetstar Group of airlines.Read More
Shawna Huffman Owen
If you think the Web made travel agents obsolete, Shawna Huffman Owen T’98 has news for you.Read More
Kathryn Baker T'93 is a true expert on boards of directors. She has served on more than 20 of them over the last 16 years, ranging from oil and gas companies to Norway’s Central Bank to Tuck’s own European Advisory Board.Read More
Over twenty years ago, Carolyn McGuire T’83 helped form Community Consulting Teams of Boston. It’s still going strong today—and facilitating a lot of good work.Read More
T'98 Victoria Levy’s post-Tuck career took off with The Monitor Group, an iconic strategic consulting firm where she became a partner by age 33. Now, the firm has been acquired by Deloitte and Levy is guiding the integration of the two practices.Read More
Not many people in ball bearing sales finish their careers in venture capital. For Mike Carusi T’93, now one of the most successful health care investors in Silicon Valley, that unlikely journey started with two eye-opening years at Tuck.Read More
Bill Achtmeyer T’81 has worked with hundreds of senior executives at Fortune 500 companies and shares five pieces of advice for managing a large organization effectively.Read More
On Establishing Your Personal Brand
Helen Kurtz T’97, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of Foster Farms, Inc. talks establishing your personal brand.Read More
Fluent in four languages and passionate about entrepreneurship, Michelle Mooradian D’95, T’04 went from her post-Tuck consulting job at Opera Solutions to spend almost five years working for McKinsey’s Rio de Janeiro office.Read More
On the Rewards of Nonprofit Board Service
Amy Houston T’97 was inspired to attend Tuck after seeing firsthand how a board with for-profit management experience can help a nonprofit, and she kept this lesson in mind when she joined the Robin Hood Foundation.Read More
On Influencing Company Culture
In his six seasons as executive vice president and chief human resources officer for the National Football League, Robert Gulliver T’97 has helped manage the NFL through some major cultural shifts.Read More
Amy Feind Reeves
A consultant turned job coach, Amy Reeves T'92, was able to research, model, and project the successful future of her business using the skills she acquired at Tuck.Read More
In much of the Middle East and North Africa, cash is still king. PayPal’s Francis Barel T’05 wants to change that, and open people’s lives to the world along the way.Read More
How Small Businesses Can Use Online Marketing Tools
After gaining experience at several software startups, Gail Goodman T’87 launched her own in 1999. As CEO of Constant Contact, Goodman has helped more than a half-million small-business customers navigate a rapidly evolving industry.Read More
A new book on design strategy by Deepa Prahalad T'00, daughter of management guru C.K. Prahalad, was rated by Fast Company as one of the 13 best design books of the year.Read More