Jeff Kiesel, CEO Restaurant Technologies Inc. (RTI)
I worked with George Dow during 2005. George helped guide my transition from a larger company background to a fast growth small/mid-sized organization. George’s assistance was invaluable.
I spent 18 years with General Electric and had experiences with fast growth businesses as President and various Sales and Marketing roles. After a brief stint at G&K Services as SVP, I worked with George to define my unique skill set and the best environment for me to apply my skills. I was extremely fortunate to become the CEO of RTI, a fast growth, dynamic company providing unique cooking oil management solutions to restaurants across the US. RTI continues to grow and thrive as we have created a winning culture, management team and management systems. George helped me find the best position for our company and me.
George led me through both qualitative and quantitative analysis to help guide my transition. In fact, I refer to these tools to this day. But the best feedback and guidance I received from George was the straight talk and revealing conversations. This is where George separates himself as a transition consultant. George is insightful, caring and provides guidance in just the right doses for acceptance and then holds you accountable to achieve results. I highly recommend George.
Ken Sobaski, President & CEO, TUI University
I have had the luxury/opportunity to work with George Dow twice in the past 5 years. The first time during late 2005 and the second time in late 2008. In both cases George helped guide my transition into bigger roles with more responsibility and commensurately more compensation. He more than helped me land on my feet, he helped me catapult ahead. In both cases, finding the right role in less than 9 months even in a tough job market. George’s assistance was invaluable.
The second time around George’s assistance went well beyond that of your typical senior executive transition consultant. He was more of a life coach to me. In the spring of 2008 I was going through a CEO succession horse race at Capella Education Company, a for profit on-line university, where I was President & COO. I was an internal candidate facing a board level external search with numerous external candidates. It was a very difficult process for me. My expectations and beliefs as to what a CEO was were very different than what the Chairman and founder believed. So much so that I wondered if I really wanted the job at Capella as CEO. Even though he wasn’t engaged to help me at that time, George helped me sort through my possibilities in a very clear, rational way. Ultimately leading to me removing myself as a candidate and as a result leaving Capella. I was so thankful for George’s help that I asked Capella to allow me to use George instead of the outplacement firms they had under contract.
But George’s “life coaching” help went well beyond helping me sort through my CEO candidacy. At the same time as I was leaving Capella I was also in the midst of a separation and divorce. In our sessions together George realized that it wasn’t just about finding a job. I really was going through a life change and he was willing to blend that into his help for me. While George wasn’t the only friend/counselor I relied on during that significant period of transition, his help/advice/counsel were instrumental in me landing on my feet. Now very recently remarried and CEO of another for profit on-line university, I can look back and know with certainty that George truly helped me get to this great place today.
One last thing I appreciated about George. His help, the tools he used, the advice he gave was not cookie cutter. It was geared specifically to my needs. I know for a fact that how he handled my search/transition was different from other clients of George. In fact it was different from the first time to the second. It wasn’t about a particular way but about my particular needs.
Al Rausch, CEO, American Financial Printing
Most of my career was spent climbing the corporate ladder. I started at a twin cities based company when it was $28 million, and spent 23 years there as it grew to $1.2 billion, I found myself challenged with multiple careers within this one company over the 23 years and as with most companies they had to adjust to the economic downturn and I found myself in a job transition having a Vice President role. Knowing that there were many on the market with my experience I had to reinvent myself and start networking.
I was fortunate enough to be offered an executive transition coach which is where I met George. I was excited about all the alternative career choices I had mapped out, however I was struggling with where my energy should be focused. Frankly, I was all over the place. George channeled my energy by putting me through assessments, narrowed my focus, and got me on track with the right approach for the right time in my life. He assisted me in my planning and development strategies which focused me on the right opportunities. Looking back, his skill of channeling my energies into the right career focus made all the difference. I filtered opportunities quickly identified with those I should pursue, and I wasted very little time.
I found myself employed in an area that was high on my list of next careers. I wanted to use my past knowledge and join a smaller company in a senior executive role. I am now the CEO of American Financial Printing in Minneapolis. Our company is growing despite the economy and my energy and focus combined with my experience is making a difference. Having your skills well aligned with your next move is critical in setting you up for success And George was excellent at it.
Greg Guettler, President, Hypertension Diagnostics, Inc.
I have known George Dow for 25 years and have found him to be one of the most insightful, effective and articulate career coaches in the business. I have found George to be generous with his industry contacts, spot-on in his assessment of opportunities, and superbly well-organized in his follow-up. Although my transition from intrapreneur to entrepreneur is now a dozen years old, George played a key role in helping me understand the wisdom of the adage: leap and the net will appear. As usual, he was right and the journey has been very rewarding.
Dave Rothschiller, Executive Director, Northwest Anesthesia, PA
When I first started, I felt George was leading me out of a pretty dark place. As we came through that process, I realized he wasn’t leading, but rather he was right by my side. He was encouraging me, and was right by my side as I began to position myself for the next part of my career. Then there came this point where I realized that he wasn’t beside me, he was behind me. George went from being an unknown to me, to being a coach, to being a friend; someone I know I can rely on as you can if you’re true friends.
Each of us responds differently, and that’s really George’s skill. It’s not a science; maybe it’s the art of it. Taking each of us through a process but on different paths – a slightly different path for each of us. He allows you a lot of freedom in this process, but he’s also a voice of reason for you. He becomes your conscience. George also spent time with my wife Jody. He understood that Jody and I were traveling this path together, and he wanted her to be a part of that process. He invited her in and they really connected.
George and I debated the pros and cons of each opportunity both near-term and long-term, its impact financially and personally on my family. In the end, we decided together that I should try the independent group practice model again. Now that I have landed, I feel like I’m reborn. I feel like I’m in a position where I’m really driving value. I’m happier at home, engaged, and thrilled to be doing what I’m doing. It’s what I had, it’s what I missed, and now I’m back in it!
Bob Adkinson COO, Archway Marketing Services
I highly recommend George Dow and his services! In early 2005 I left a large company in the Twin Cities and retained George to help me with my next job opportunity. My executive history was with Fortune 100 companies, so naturally I pursued the same. Via George’s assessment tools and practices, he helped me to understand that the attributes that most energized me were not at all related to company size, but instead more related to high-growth opportunity. He also helped me understand that my skills and interests were pronounced as related to turnarounds (identifying and fixing broken business practices). Ironically during this same timeframe I was offered a position with a local Fortune 100 company. George quickly helped me understand that this was not a good alternative for me. Following George’s advice, I rejected the offer and instead found a mid-sized, privately held company that could be a high-growth company with my skills and experience. I can honestly say that I’ve never been more energized with a job in my life!
Tim Wieland, COO, Vomela Specialty Company
I have been a C level executive for middle market manufacturing companies for the past 24 years. I was with ME Global for 28 years, starting as a staff accountant, progressing through the various financial and administrative positions, and spent my last 12 years there as CEO. The company transitioned through 4 different ownership changes but remained resilient and grew 4 fold during the 12 year period.
With the last ownership change, I found myself in a career transition. I had the good fortune to be aligned with George Dow to help me through the process. George brought an experienced, calm, steady and positive influence to me during a somewhat emotional, self questioning time. I had not expected to be in transition at age 53 in a tough economy. George helped me to understand my options and made me believe I could indeed renew my career and flourish.
I landed after 3 months in transition with Vomela Specialty Company as Executive Vice President and CFO. In the 4 years I have been here, we have made 3 major acquisitions and now are a $120MM company with over 600 employees in 15 locations in North America. I have also become the COO of the company.
George Dow was the exact right person to work with me in my career transition. He is a person of high integrity and operates with a strong set of core values. His knowledgeable and caring approach fit my needs perfectly. I feel fortunate to have had him in my corner.
Reed Watson, CMO, TUI University
My career spans over 25 years in senior marketing and general management roles leading the delivery of rapid top and bottom line growth. I was recommended to George during outplacement following the arrival of a new CEO and the resulting senior leadership reorganization.
George helped me in my transition in three key ways:
· Simplified my very broad 25 year experience spanning multiple industries, company sizes, and developmental stages, into two easy to follow and coherent stages.
· Identified a compelling, unifying theme of how I have consistently added value across my diverse experience.
· Continuously reinforced the value of my past accomplishments and what great potential opportunities were ahead of me. I always left meetings with George feeling better about my future options.
I am now the Chief Marketing & Outreach Officer for TUI University, a growing adult-serving online university. I work for a CEO I trust and have known for 25 years. While I did have other offers, George kept me grounded not only on where my experience would be valued, but also on which opportunities would be the best personal fit for me.
Jeannine M. Bieter, Vice President, Consumer Experience, CPP North America
I have more than twenty-five years of experience in sales, account management, customer service and call center operations. I worked for Thomson Reuters in a senior leadership capacity for more than fifteen years. My successes were in building and developing strategies for call centers, exceeding sales goals, defining new opportunities for channel management and driving new revenue growth.
In 2008, I was notified my position was being eliminated and I was fortunate to be provided executive search support and services through Right Management. I was determined to find the next chapter in my career and was connected to George Dow.
George was invaluable in helping me get focused, define goals and begin the networking process. Having spent twenty-five years in one organization with a predominantly internal focus; I needed to begin from ground zero to build a network and contemplate choices like crossing industries, company size, geographic location; pretty much everything from soup to nuts. George’s skills, talents, connections and wisdom helped me get off to the very best start possible. He helped me learn the process and begin thinking outside of the box to find my next opportunity.
Simply put, without his help, guidance and wisdom, I believe my journey to the next chapter would have been much more difficult. The high esteem I hold for George is due to his compassion, talent and keen ability to help chart the course.
Today, I am the Vice President of Consumer Experience for CPP North America. I have changed industries and company size. I can honestly say, I am the most challenged and invigorated I have been in my career and it was with George’s expert guidance, I was able to seize the day.
Karen Poel, VP Marketing, Apothecary Products
I am a Harvard MBA who has been a retail executive for over 25 years. I started at Target Corporation (the Department Store Division) in 1989 and became one of 3 head merchants (SVP/General Merchandise Manager) in 1997.
After a buyout by May Company and then Macy’s, the Minneapolis buying office was closed down in 2008. After my job ended, I worked closely with George to “grieve” the loss of my business identity, sketch out my story – strengths – dreams for the future, and put a plan of action in place. George provided a safe place as well as wise guidance. Probably the best thing he did for me was to stop me from moving too fast, or from taking jobs that were not the right fit. He kept challenging me to join a “winning team.”
When I could look George in the eye and clearly articulate my reasons for taking the VP Marketing position at Apothecary Products, I knew I was making the right decision. In the last 2 years, I have made a challenging transition from Fortune 500 to small company, and from merchandising to consumer goods. It has not always been easy, but I have been able to stay in Minnesota, spend more time with my husband and daughters, lead a more balanced daily life, and still lead a winning team to success, which is what I love to do!
Amy Boyle, Executive Vice President, Marketing, IMRIS Inc.
George was invaluable to me as my executive coach during my career transition in 2010. He was very helpful to me in pin pointing and articulating my strengths and passions and in guiding me through exploration of different career paths.
More specifically, my natural style is to credit the team with my successes. George coached me to describe my legacy and the impact that I had on my organization, the business and my team in a manner that highlighted my strengths and accomplishments but did not feel arrogant or self admiring.
Later, George challenged me to be true to my interests in evaluating opportunities and in choosing between options. His guidance helped me explore the unlikely, challenge the logical and easy and think through what path would bring me the most personal and professional satisfaction.
George listens intently to truly understand his clients. He discovers what energizes and what does not. His years of experience are evident in his insight. George becomes a partner in career transition with a genuineness, wisdom and commitment that make the transition experience a truly positive one.
Tim Larson, Vice President of Global Customer Excellence, Polaris Industries, Inc.
Trying to find that great fit with a transition coach? Look no further. George Dow delivers!
He has a great knack for knowing the right counsel and direction at each stage. His proven experience provides timely insight when you need it most. George masterfully balances a disciplined process with the flexibility and customization for your needs.
Beyond the career aspects, George helped me learn and thrive through major life changing events.
I would never go on a career transition without him. George has my highest respect and recommendation, as a person and professionally.
George May, Vice President, Product Strategy, Kroll Ontrack
I met George Dow while in career transition, having moved on from working at the same company for over 20 years. As anyone who has had that experience can tell you, it is a life-changing event. So much of who we are is wrapped up in the work we do. Nothing you’ve learned in life or business can adequately prepare you for the process. You find, despite a wealth of experience, that you lack proper perspective — about the market, your best approach, even about yourself.
It was my good fortune to be introduced to George Dow as I started planning my transition. George is the sort of exceedingly rare individual who not only helps with the problem at hand, but also offers thoughtful counsel about issues one wouldn’t even think to consider. Thanks to his decades of experience, George has keen insight into the issues of career transition.
He’s very well-connected to a loyal network of executives in the greater Twin Cities area, many of whom George helped to place in their current roles. Most important of all, George has the touch and temperament to be a wonderful sounding board for senior executives making decisions about the next phase of their careers.
George and I continue to stay in touch. His referrals garner my time and attention, furthering the work George does serving the Twin Cities business community. Anyone in a career transition would be wise to retain George’s services.
Kathy Kenny, Human Resources Business Partner, Cisco Systems
I was introduced to George in 2005 when I availed myself of Right Management’s career planning services for executives in transition. I had resigned my position as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for RSM McGladrey, a midsize accounting and consulting firm headquartered in Bloomington, Minnesota. The first half of my career life was built around Human Resources leadership, and I wanted to reevaluate how I wanted to play out the second half.
George became my career coach who helped me figure out different career options. He showed his support in a number of ways. First, his competence for this work is outstanding. He does not have a formulaic approach that is a “one size fits most”. He asked probing questions that helped my thought processes and options expand. Second, his commitment to his clients is incredible. George volunteered in the course of working with me to do some career coaching and assessment for 2 of my sons who were early in their careers. The results of his counsel were life changing for them. Third, George has tremendous character which was evident in all our interactions. I knew he truly cared- and that my success was his success.
In 2006 I relocated to the Bay area of California to join Cisco Systems. I am a Human Resources Business Partner with overall HR responsibility for a $6.5B division of Cisco. The company is a great cultural fit for me, though the adjustment in moving into high tech from an accounting firm was initially a steeper learning curve than I had anticipated. I evaluated multiple opportunities before deciding on Cisco. George Dow was instrumental through my entire transition. I am confident that I made the right decision for me.
Steve Hendren, Vice President of Human Resources, Logic PD
One of my early encounters with George was sitting next to him at a Master’s Forum session where we were each given a stack of cards that were intended to help us sort our career interests. Like many other attendees, I studied each card and couldn’t quite decide what to do with it. Not George. He rifled through the deck, quickly assessing his interests and comfortably finishing, while I and others were still pondering. Reflecting back on this experience, I believe George knows himself well enough that he is able to be completely in service to others.
A couple of years ago I asked George to help me think through a consulting business idea that I was pursuing. Over a 6 month period, George helped me build a business strategy through his personal coaching, assessment tools and his list of suggested readings. I gained tremendous clarity that had been missing years earlier during our “card sorting” encounter and this clarity prepared me for a “dream project” that came my way just as George and I were concluding our work together. I initially dismissed the opportunity because it involved setting aside my stated goal of achieving greater professional freedom by working independently. However it was an executive leadership role that would leverage many of my deepest interests and capabilities with a company profile that fit my consulting “sweet spot” – mid-size, high-tech, unique value proposition and with significant potential for greater synergies across locations and business units. I describe it as a project because that’s how George suggested that I consider viewing it. I am almost a year and a half into that “project” now and it has become the most fulfilling professional role in my career. And for now it has displaced earlier independent consulting ambitions.
Throughout my work with George, he didn’t tell me what to do. Through his probing questions and insights we discovered the answers together. I now have a much better awareness of the core elements that must exist in my professional life. I highly recommend his services, especially for mid- to late-career executives who are seeking deeper meaning in their professional lives, with an eye toward a graceful transition to a “portfolio life” filled with meaningful professional and personal diversity. After working with George, I have a much clearer picture of what a “portfolio life” could look like for me and it is not as dependent on my original view of consulting. Someday I may get the consulting itch again, but it won’t be because I am seeking greater freedom. With George’s help, I already have it.
Joanne Sunquist, CIO, Hennepin County Medical Center
I had the opportunity to work with George a number of years ago when I was in career transition. He was instrumental in helping me identify my strengths so I could feel positive about myself in the process. Because of his significant experience, he can provide his clients with the tools they need to define where they want to go and how to get there. In my case, he really helped me figure out how to choose among my next career options–and I have been very happy with the results. I would highly recommend George.
Anne Peacock, COO/Vice President of Organizational Development, CommonBond Communities
I first met George after taking some time off post “reduction in force.” My background includes over 25 years in the financial services business were I had the opportunity to have impact in the areas of operations, product development, program management, strategic planning, sales and marketing, and relationship management. Having spent the majority of my career in one industry, leaving it was not easy – I had been fortunate to have worked in a highly entrepreneurial and creative environment where change was embraced and with colleagues that made every day enjoyable. Replacing that was not going to be easy.
The transition (with George as my guide)
As I entered the reinvention lab George provided the input and guidance I was looking for. I had some ideas on what I wanted to do with the “next phase” of my work life and found that George had this incredible approach and thought process to help me understand myself and the alternatives in front of me. George helped me formulate the structure to evaluate my motivations, my strengths, where I found enjoyment and satisfaction, what might hold me back, and asked the tough questions that would allow me to make choices. We assessed possible scenarios, discussed pros and cons, matched that to the vision I had for the future. What I appreciate about George’s approach is that he requires you to own your process – the reinvention lab can be exciting and uncomfortable all at the same time and George provided the right tools, the direct and insightful suggestions, the “hold up a minute” lets talk that idea through a bit more, the alternative way to think about the future, and the motivation along the way. I am pretty sure George knew what I was going to do from the beginning – he is that good!
Transitioning my skills into a not for profit organization that aligned with my personal beliefs and values as well as my professional experience has been rewarding. I now work for CommonBond Communities – the largest provider of affordable housing with services in the region. As their COO/VP of Organizational Development I have the pleasure of working with creative and energetic people that make an impact everyday in the lives of others. I am learning new things along the way and helping a great organization build it’s capabilities for the future. I am fortunate in my outcome and grateful to George in the part he played in my journey.
David Bach, Director of Development, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
I have enjoyed a rich career in the arts (as a musician, teacher, advocate, and arts administrator) and in nonprofit management. Every move was a step up and an exciting new adventure. After nine years as a vice president and chief operating officer of Scholarship America, I faced unemployment for the first time in my life. I was one of the casualties of restructuring under a new administration.
Thankfully, I first turned to George Dow. I had known George for awhile as a friend from church and we had talked about the challenges that appear with new leadership for an organization. We had already started to map some new options for my career. In all my nonprofit jobs, the mission has been core to why I was there. Leaving this position really left an emotional as well as professionally void for me. George understood that and helped me step back and look at the great opportunity that was in front of me to assess my values and skills and see some exciting new directions. He really understood the nonprofit sector and guided me through the many opportunities with positions from CEO to development director. He connected me with the local nonprofit network I had lost touch with during my national work. He helped me evaluate (and finally reject) an enticing offer as VP of development at a small southern college. George stayed with me as I settled into a development position in a small gutsy environmental organization, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, that was a big drop in salary from a COO of a national nonprofit but the perfect opportunity for me to step back and develop more skills and experience in an area that has proven to be an exciting new direction in my nonprofit journey.
I am now director of development at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, a large nonprofit which allows me to use my extensive management skills and experience coupled with the hands-on development skills I acquired at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. I enjoy working with a very bright staff for a mission I really believe in. George and I keep in touch as this adventure continues. I couldn’t ask for a better coach and friend.
Kim Skyelander, Associate Director of the Natural Resource Center at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO
I am currently the executive director of a large, non-profit outdoor residential school. Before this position, I taught at a university and tribal college out West, and worked for about 16 years as a professional natural resource manager for a federal agency. Because my background is quite different from the other folks I saw listed on the testimonial site, I had some initial reservations about using George as my career consultant. So I called George and expressed my concerns. He was very understanding and assured me that his coaching process is applicable to almost any situation and that he did, in fact, have experience as a career consultant for people in non-profit positions. He is also a lover of the outdoors so I figured he must be a good guy! Thus, George was hired and it was a terrific decision.
I have been in my current position for almost seven years. This is the first non-profit job I’ve ever had. Although I love the mission and people of the organization, the day-to-day routine duties had started to wear on me. The trouble was I didn’t know what else I wanted to do. The conversations I had with George and the exercises he assigned me allowed me to see the patterns in my work life, what I liked about each job and what I didn’t like, where my values lie, etc. These patterns showed me that I’m the kind of person who likes to be creative, start up new initiatives, develop and deliver programs or re-invent something. Challenges and opportunities for growth are very important to me and my current job had become routine. However, because of the poor economy and the fact that I had a deadline for moving on, I was worried that I would take the first acceptable job that came along. George was instrumental in keeping me on track and staying true to my needs and values.
George also really helped me nail down my interviewing skills as well. I learned how to do a needs assessment based on what the employer was looking for, and anticipate and be ready for the hard interview questions. My interviews went really well thanks to George’s coaching and I ended up choosing between two excellent positions. I chose the job that would challenge me more and allow me to grow and stay true to myself. Before I met George, I might have chosen the other one because that position was familiar, comfortable and “safe”. I would have been comfortable but not happy! My new position is the associate director of a natural resource center at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO. This position involves everything I loved about my other jobs without the things that bogged me down. It’s a great fit for me. Thanks, George!
John E. Byom Owner, Classic Provisions Inc.
I came to Right Management after a long tenure at International Multifoods, 25 years in one company, so, obviously this was going to be a major change for me. George led me through a broad view of opportunities and potential paths. Coming out of leadership roles in a fortune 1000 company and considering such things as buying a small company it took strong counsel to keep me on track. With guidance from George it became clear that I could and should pursue a lifelong desire to own a business. The outcome was that I became the majority owner of a specialty foods distribution business.(Classic Provisions Inc.) It’s a perfect fit because I enjoy working with; the people at Classic Provisions, the high quality products we offer, and the local customers we serve…… and our business is growing nicely. One of the most important aspects of my transition is that I really enjoyed and appreciated the time of transition. The people I met while networking and the encouragement of George made the time rewarding and left me feeling that the transition was a wonderful learning experience along with an ideal job outcome. I highly recommend George because of his ability to guide and to open up the possibilities that may not always be obvious.
Nathan Dungan, President and Founder, Share, Save, Spend, LLC
I “grew-up” in the traditional financial services world. My first step was as a financial advisor for Thrivent Financial (formerly Lutheran Brotherhood) in Philadelphia, PA from 1988 – 1998. I did very well as an advisor and carved out a unique niche working with multigenerational families (youth and adults). In 1998, I was recruited to the corporate office where I served as vice president of marketing and communications from 1998 – 2002. Suffice it to say I enjoyed the role and learned a great deal. When the merger was announced in 2001, I served on the corporate transition team. It was a fascinating experience, but I knew I wanted to get back to my roots – focusing on multigenerational money issues.
That’s when I met George Dow – it was part of my transition package from the corporate sector to the new and exciting world of being an entrepreneur. George really helped me zero in on my true strengths and was a great sounding board during the writing of my first book, Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child’s ATM. The next important step in the process was to develop a business plan for my new company: Share Save Spend LLC.
One of George’s outstanding strengths is his ability to connect people of like interests and business acumen with a goal of helping each person realize their specific business and life goals. With George’s help and guidance I was very fortunate to connect with other leaders in transition. That small leadership group of like minded entrepreneurs served a critical role as I launched my new company.
George is a terrific coach, mentor and organizer! He helped me see the big picture of possibilities when it was tough to see beyond tomorrow. Today, Share Save Spend has really hit a growth curve, even in a rather tenuous economic environment. George’s ability to coach me through a significant life transition and launch a new venture speaks volumes of how he will approach your unique situation – with care, concern and open and honest feedback.
Douglas Owens-Pike, Owner, EnergyScapes, Inc.
George was extremely helpful moving me to see the options for my career path as I transitioned from the role of doing toward more leading. This transition has freed me up to do more of what I love, writing and teaching, as my body ages, making it obvious I will not be installing landscapes for the next ten years. Thanks for your creative leadership in guiding me.
Gordon “Chip” Perry, Director, Kalypso
I worked with George during the spring of 2006. I had recently left my third business start-up and sensed I needed to shift my focus for the next (final?) transition in my career.
George sized me up in about five minutes over coffee and I felt I’d been insightfully “read” or understood. We agreed to work together. Quickly George helped me to focus in on moving into a consulting career. I had spent several years consulting on my own earlier and knew I did not want to go out on my own again – too hard and too lonely. George got me doing the necessary homework to research local firms as well as firms across the country. As fate would have it, this work made me “remember” I’d learned about a small startup firm focusing on innovation and product development. I reached out to them and over several months I found myself accepting an offer to join as a manager.
At the time Kalypso was twenty people and several million in revenue. As luck would have it, my first consulting gig was with P&G. Off I went and never looked back. Two years later I became a Senior Manager and this fall was made a Director. Now I’m working for my own company. Kalypso has grown exponentially and has plans to continue to do so. It’s been quite a ride. One insight George provided me was key: since consultants spend considerable time together, we select on fit as much as skills and experience. We want to spend time with people that have imagination, character and a real passion to help their clients. That insight helped me to present myself, as myself, and quickly appreciate that Kalypso is one of the most value driven organizations I’ve ever worked for, and it shows in who we hire and who stays.
George has those same characteristics and more. I’m glad to see he is now able to devote all of his time to helping people transition meaningfully.
Bob Meekin, Owner and consultant, HR Executive Insourcing, LLC
I knew of George before I met George. When I was VP of HR a few senior executives worked with him during their career transitions. They all had extremely positive things to say. He was requested. Later, I saw George give a presentation at a workshop and his presentation style and material stood out. I especially liked when he discussed the concept of “broader possibilities” from a career perspective. Based upon those experiences, I decided to work with George when I was transitioning to consulting and teaching.
Transition periods have their ups and downs. My discussions with George prepared me for what I was about to face. He has the ability to build rapport quickly, he is knowledgeable, and he asks the right questions and makes the right comments. His timing and style felt “just in time” on several instances. With George, you not only learn about “broader possibilities”, you also learn about “experiments”, the “portfolio life” and several more important concepts.
I recommend George for any senior level person contemplating a career transition.
Diane Merrifield, CFMP Principal and Sue Schabert, Principal , MindBridge Marketing, LLC
After more than 50 collective years of working within the financial services arena in various marketing and leadership roles, our employer at the time closed down Minnesota operations, leaving both us at critical career decision points. Making the decision to strike off on our own, we were extremely fortunate to be able to work through our transition under George’s guiding hand. George directed us through the process of establishing our new marketing business by ensuring first and foremost that we were not only well-suited for an entrepreneurial venture but that we were also compatible. His approach in working with us was extremely effective – continually coaching and challenging, and always lending his support. He was able to impart valuable knowledge, excellent resources, contacts and tools through his vast experience in working with a diverse range of clients. We truly believe George’s role as our consultant was key in the development of our business and success in achieving our first-year revenue goal.
Diane Kokal, Co-Owner of BK Research Solutions
Little did I know that when I decided to leave The Pillsbury Company at the ripe old age of 27 and go with a new market research consulting firm, that it would be a lifetime commitment. Custom Research Inc. (CRI) was started in 1976 and I was part of the original seven people who started with the firm (three partners and four of us who were employees). After an exciting and successful career as part of the Leadership Team at CRI which included winning the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and functioning as the EVP in charge of Client Services, my job was suddenly eliminated in 2006. The Partners, wishing to retire, had sold CRI to a German company (GfK) and GfK eliminated my function in Minneapolis, replacing it with a person already on board in New York.
I was set up with Right Management to handle my outplacement and job transition. Since I had been in the same career all of my life, and with the same company for the majority of it, I wanted to take some time to determine what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was 56 years old, my third child was just finishing her last year of college, and my husband and I felt we had some flexibility in what we required for income.
The counselor at Right Management was leading me towards a more traditional outplacement, looking for a position similar to what I had. I knew that was not what I wanted, but wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. I then attended a Career Transition workshop put on by George Dow and was completely inspired. The workshop helped me to think about this time of my life in sections—work life, family life, and volunteer life. I knew exactly how I wanted to proceed and what I wanted to do.
Working with George, I set up a market research consulting business with a partner, went on the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association and began volunteering with the Jeremiah Program, and started spending a day a week with my daughter and grandchildren. The three parts of my life are fully in balance and I couldn’t be more fulfilled. The recession has had a small impact on my business but I am learning to live with the financial uncertainty, which to me is worth the tradeoff for the flexibility and balance in my life! I really credit my transition to George. He gave me the inspiration to create a balanced life and the confidence to pursue my dreams.
Bob Schulte, President, Schulte Associates LLC
George Dow was of great help to me in a career transition years ago. He understands career changes from an executive’s perspective. I would highly recommend George Dow to anyone making a transition or, better yet, thinking about doing one.
Pat Berger, IT Consultant/Contractor, Validus Consulting
George is the most awesome career coach! He thoughtfully and expertly took me through the entire career transition process with the utmost care, compassion, and professionalism. His ability to discern and understand his clients’ needs and respond appropriately makes him an invaluable resource.
George helped me to re-evaluate my career goals, strengths and abilities after separating from a company I had been with for 25 years. He encouraged me to explore alternative career options that I had not even considered while ensuring that my networking, interviewing and resume skills were top-notch. His out-of-the-box ability to “tell stories” with a goal in mind is a quality that puts him head and shoulders above the crowd. Ask him about it sometime!
I believe that George is the number one reason I have a great new career today. He was recommended to me by a number of friends, and I would give a glowing recommendation to anyone who asked. George Dow rocks!
Mike Jackson, Owner of MLJ Consulting
I enjoyed a 30+ year career with SUPERVALU, a leading retailer and wholesaler in the supermarket industry and a Fortune 50 company.
My career started at an entry level and included many positions of responsibility throughout the country. I became a Regional President in 1995 and then President and COO in 2005. I was the internal candidate through succession planning for the CEO slot in 2009, the board made a decision to go with an external candidate and I left the company. Currently I am the President of MLJ consulting which provides services to the retail and wholesale food sector.
As part of my transition from SUPERVALU I connected with Right Management and George Dow became my counselor. George helped me to focus on what I wanted to do next, both in my professional, personal and community endeavors. Through much coaching and listening, George was able to translate my thoughts and emotions into a logical process that allowed me to make good choices for myself and my family. I have a new found balance in my life and the flexibility to engage in a manner that is very rewarding. This journey would not have been possible without someone as skilled as George Dow to guide me along the way. I highly recommend George as a career consultant and life coach!!
Robyn Waters, President and founder, RW Trend, LLC, Author of 'The Trendmaster’s Guide' and 'The Hummer and the Mini'
After nearly 30 years in the retail profession, I found myself at a crossroads. I had risen to the ranks of Vice President of Trend and Design at Target, and although I had one of the best jobs in corporate America, I no longer loved what I was doing.
George helped me re-evaluate my strengths, reboot my self-confidence, and re-energize my passion. Working with him allowed me stop and take inventory of my values and refocus my direction. I determined that I wanted to create a portfolio life, not just find a new job. I wanted meaningful work, more time for leisure, and more room in my life to give back to causes that mattered to me.
George helped me find the courage to leave the corporate world, strike out on my own, and write the book I had always wanted to write. I now have 2 books in the Library of Congress, a thriving speaking career, and more time for things that really matter to me. George’s compassion, intuition, guidance and support helped me realize I could define success on my own terms, and still make a great living.
John Rinn, Portfolio Life, with contract at General Mills
Background: I enjoyed a long and successful career working for The Nielsen Company, a leading provider of marketing information, audience measurement, and business media products and services to manufacturers and retailers of Fast Moving Consumer Goods. My last position was as Vice President of a national client facing technology and information client service and consulting organization.
Transition: George Dow and I just clicked. Never pressuring, always intently listening, explaining and coaching, George expertly counseled me on “the art of the possible” of career aspiration and choices. Through a careful and measured process of evaluation and discussion George instilled in me the confidence, the skills and the plan for achieving my next career position.
Today: After three months working with George I entered the brave new world of “independent consultant.” I landed working at General Mills on a six month project leveraging my experience and skills acquired at the Nielsen company. General Mills is a wonderful company, with great products, very smart people and an exciting and stimulating work environment. Now, over three years later, I have steadily continued my engagment at General Mill and am thoroughly enjoying the work and flexibility of being an independent contractor.
Kathy Andrus, Current HR Consultant/Contractor, former boss of George Dow and VP Career Management Services, Right Management
George is an extremely creative and committed career consultant. He has spent most of his career guiding and directing executives through career and life changes and I haven’t met too many individuals who have his level of passion about their job. His intellect, excellent listening skills and enthusiasm for the work make him a much sought after consultant. He definitely challenges his clients with “out of the box” possibilities and is their most steadfast supporter.
As a colleague and peer George brings energy, humor and creative thinking to our work. He’s generous and kind and a pleasure to be around. He’s a highly valued member of the Right team!
Edith M. Swiatek, Health Care Executive
George is the consummate executive career consultant. George encouraged and supported me as I pushed on my boundaries and explored new territory within my professional life. As a result, I spent 5 years working on “an experiment” during which every week was an absolute delight and created an opportunity for me to give back to my community in a manner I would never have imagined was possible. I would recommend George, without reservations, to any executive who wants the best from their professional, personal and community life.
Bonnie Roed, President, Roed-Consulting LLC
My career life began 30 years ago at Dayton’s Department Stores where I was hired as a management trainee. Incredibly, my career with Target Corporation lasted 28 years with the majority of my experiences in merchandising (buying) roles. My final position with them was as the VP of Product Development for the Home categories. After I left Target I took a year off to spend more time with my family, get my house in order and travel. When I was ready to “get serious” about my next move I was fortunately connected with George Dow through Right Management.
George is a great listener and extremely perceptive. He patiently listened to my personal and professional story and helped me form concrete objectives from those experiences when I was the happiest and most successful. George did not subscribe to a “one size fits all” approach to my transition, and let our session topics flex to fit my situation. He showed compassion and understanding, and at the same time held me accountable to make progress and stay on track! George’s approach to include the “whole me” in our discussions proved to be extremely helpful as my goal for this next stage in my life was to have a balanced blend of time for myself & family, time for my professional development, and time for community service. He counseled me on all three components and helped me define goals and limits to guide my decisions.
I ultimately set up my own consulting firm which has allowed me to set my own hours and choose projects that match my personal interests and passions. George guided me through this process as I hired an accountant, lawyer, and negotiated my first contract. I also took on an executive leadership role within my congregation and his insights of “church life” were extremely valuable as I contemplated this decision. This past year I’ve been fortunate to have landed a part time contract with a major Canadian retailer. The projects have been fun and extremely rewarding! They have been accommodating with my schedule so I still had time to manage that balance to include my family and community I was looking for.
I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to meet and work with George. He helped me negotiate the land of “transition” which was quite foreign to me as my entire career was within one corporation. Each meeting was a productive step forward toward defining and reaching my goal. I truly feel my life has been transformed and George’s extensive experience, optimistic outlook and realistic approach was just what I needed to help me in this journey.
Mary Nedry, Portfolio Life to return to full-time employment
A journey guided by George Dow. That’s how I view the support I received from George Dow as I transitioned from a 19 year career that included Human Resources and Service and Operations leadership. George has a special gift and provided individualized coaching, support and guidance as I made this transition. Using traditional skills and interest inventories, suggested reading and supplemented by personalized one on one coaching, George helped open up a broad range of alternatives for me- not just a traditional “find the next job” approach offered by others.
I describe this as a journey as it does not and will not have only one destination. My first destination was a significant change from a vice president position in a large corporation to a special education volunteer that led to a part time special education Para professional position for three years. Extremely rewarding work I had never imagined for myself until I worked with George. Then as the economy changed and brought school closings, time to brush off the tools George and I worked through initially to determine the next stop in my journey. This led me back to pursue a position in human resources and back to school to earn a Senior Professional Human Resource certification to ensure my HR skills and knowledge were current. I am now and HR Manager with GE Fleet Services.
Where next in my journey? While my next destination is not yet determined, I know it will lead me to something rewarding and meaningful that will allow for continued personal growth. I thank George for the guidance and support he provided and continues to provide in my journey to think beyond a “traditional” career options.
George Lopuch, Portfolio Life
After receiving my MBA from the University of Notre Dame, in 1974, I began my professional career at Supermarkets General Corporation in New Jersey, where I progressed from store management to district management to corporate management.
In 1979, I moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin as Director of Business Planning for ShopKo Stores, a division of Minneapolis-based SuperValu Inc., eventually becoming Vice President of Marketing, responsible for Marketing, Advertising, Distribution, Real Estate, & Store Construction. In 1989, I was asked to join the parent corporation (SuperValu) as Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategic Planning, responsible for Corporate Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions, Consumer Research, Site Location, and the International Division.
In 1997, I joined Best Buy, Inc. becoming Executive Vice President of Corporate Development, responsible for Corporate Strategic Planning, Marketing Research, Real Estate, Store Construction, Site Development, Mergers & Acquisitions, & Consumer Relationship Management.
I was terminated in September 2002. I was 52 years old, at the time.
As part of my termination package, I was supplied outplacement with Right Management. There I was introduced to George Dow, who became my counsel.
George immediately began assessing my background, skill set, mindset, including my goals and ambitions. He then began offering me with a conceptual construct of what life options I may want to consider, around a career, community & personal activities … a ‘portfolio’ approach to life.
George listened intently. He was sensitive, objective, supportive, and realistic in his evaluations & guidance of my ambitions & goals. George’s approach was a genuine back-and-forth dialog, collaboration. We were discussing my life: where it had been, where is currently was, where it was going, and, most importantly, where did I wanted it to go.
It was obvious right from the beginning that George’s vast experience with executives in similar (& different) circumstances provided him with a large number of real world examples & case studies of individuals, who took the next steps, not simply to successful career moves, but more to a holistic satisfaction of ones life ambitions & goals. George’s counsel was everything to my developing options and ultimately making choices.
As it became clearer where I wanted to be heading with my career & life, George introduced me to a support group of four individuals with similar objectives. George moderated us.
In my case, as well as others in the group, I was looking to ease-into-retirement…a retirement that would include personal pursuits (travel, writing); community give-backs, and some transitional employment. Again, George & I, individually and as part of our group of five, discussed the various options available to me (i.e., re-employment, teaching, professional volunteering, consulting, authorship). It resulted in my concluding that approximately 5 years of consultancy would ease me into the portfolio I desired.
As a result, I & two former Best Buy associated became partners, starting-up a consulting company, Retail Masters, in 2003, which immediately began obtaining clients. Our two largest contracts had us employing anywhere from 10 to 20+ employees, and provided me with an annual, mid-six-figure income, as well as warrants (stock options) from our clients. As part of my plan to ease-into-retirement, after the five years of retail consulting, I resigned from my consultancy, last year, to pursue the rest of the life portfolio, George & I designed.
George & I, and the rest of our support group, still meet every year (at least twice), for 8 years now, to monitor each of our portfolio plans & progress. Currently, I’m in process of writing two books, one business and one a fictional biography. Who knows if they will ever get published, but I’m doing what I enjoy. My wife and I travel extensively around the world during the course of the year, we play doubles tennis weekly, and we spend 5 months of the year in our home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to get away from MN’s winters. I can, without a doubt, say my life would have been gravely different if it wasn’t for George’s insight and counsel. I would have undoubtedly, prematurely jumped back into the work force without considering what I really wanted to do and what I could afford to do, with the rest of my life.
George’s intelligence, experience, and empathy were and are crucial to my portfolio decision making. George has seen it all and can bring these observations to bear on a successful executive life transition. I could not have been as successful and happy without George’s counsel.