Curiosity is something I value. More often than not, the real insight into a candidate or client comes from diving far deeper than the surface level in the questions asked and, more importantly, listening thereafter. The level of impact a headhunter can have by being curious is limitless and drives real success in terms of placing the right people with clients and developing strong relationships along the way.

It always feels surprising to look back and realise how long I’ve been at Kea! I joined straight from university as an intern with no clear prospect of a full-time role thereafter and, after 10 years, I was appointed CEO. I’ve had the benefit of progressing through the research and consulting tracks in the business before taking on a leadership role. Having joined the business at such an early stage in my personal development and at an early stage in Kea’s life cycle, there was a lot of trial and error. However, the challenges were met with support, which proved beneficial for learning and progression. In my current role, I seek to create an environment for others that mirrors the healthy balance of challenge and support, which allowed me to find my way forward in the business.

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I spend a lot of time creating constructive challenge internally and externally in pursuit of client and team goals.
Even as a challenger firm back in 2012 when I joined, there As I progressed, I wanted to learn how to advise a client and consult them through challenges and Kea provided the right platform for this. The belief that this would generate great business outcomes proved to be true and remains a foundation of our business today. I am continually conscious of not building a culture that is KPI-driven, sets colleagues against each other, and that incentivises ‘wins’ in an ugly way.

In the early stages of my career at Kea, I was a little too short-sighted. I was often too focused on the here and now and didn’t invest enough in mid or long-term goals. For instance, I made snap decisions on whether a potential client was a worthwhile conversation to have based on their existing set-up, rather than having the foresight or curiosity to understand their ambitions to grow and develop in the future and, as such, missed the opportunity to work with a handful of funds that have grown into exciting businesses.
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I enjoy the diversity of the role. Every individual, client, role, and candidate is different and the challenges that this can present provide constant opportunity to learn.
KEA

What does success mean for you at Kea?

KH

Firstly, seeing the sustained growth of individuals within the business: for me, it’s rewarding to see the growth of individuals in the team and their growth, albeit often difficult to quantify, is a real marker for success. Secondly, being present in our collective pursuit for excellence: success on this front is being sure that we’re collectively being fulfilled by the journey towards excellence, rather than viewing excellence as an end goal.

KEA

How have your outside passions & education influenced your time here?

KH

Sport is a key outside passion, both team (rugby) and individual (boxing) and I have pushed myself in both endeavours and competed at a good level alongside work. The influence from rugby has sparked a strong interest in understanding team dynamics and playing to the strengths and desires of individuals, whilst not neglecting the overall team vision and direction, which partially informs my leadership and management style. Boxing has taught me how to seek calm in a high pressure environment. As such, I’ve always enjoyed pursuing high calibre clients that present difficult challenges and confronting these challenges head on. Educationally, I studied French and Spanish and, combined with coming from an ethnically diverse background myself, I enjoyed challenging thought around diversity and inclusion, which is a conversation that has risen to prominence in recent years.

Drive to Improve

It’s complex in its simplicity. This Kea value can often be perceived solely as a willingness to work hard and, whilst hard work is valued, I enjoy pushing myself to be introspective on real areas of development and think creatively about how I can address them. For me, this value creates an opportunity for real honest conversation with oneself, which can create some powerful results.

My edge

Enjoying living in the shades of grey! Each problem we’re confronted with is complex and my edge is enjoying exploring challenges in different ways and finding the right hue of grey to solve for the challenge we’re faced with.