The 12th year, according to Buddhist beliefs, is the first significant milestone in a person’s life. The Buddhists follow a 12-year cycle, celebrating their birthdays every 12 years, or so I gathered when I lived in Thailand for 10 years. So being 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 are big deals to the Thais, most especially when attaining the 5th cycle of 60.
It’s always edifying to reminisce when we started KSearch in October 1999 in a limited corner space at the 23rd floor offices of Laya Mananghaya in this building. It was then just Ricky, Karmeli, Joy, Rubi and Franco. What we lacked in technology and admin support then, we more than made up with everyone’s full cycle, multi-tasking, hands-on involvement. Karmeli and Rubi can share more of their startup experiences, I’m sure. I like to think that I was rather infectious with that startup group with my own genuine enthusiasm, my conviction, about KSearch (given our Values), what it was (given our Mission), what it would be (given our Strategies) and what it could become (given my Vision) and what it would mean for each one of them individually (their Career) and as a group (our corporate Success). Well, the rest, as they say is history.
We celebrated our anniversary milestone the first time when we turned five years old. We held that one at the penthouse of this building, had it catered by Alba’s, and had Bill Pfluger, the GM of Caltex Shared Services Center, together with his boss from the States, as our special guests. Then we started a series of big-deal celebrations at the Tower Club during our 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th anniversary. It was our way of creating a public image that here’s a company to reckon with, while taking those occasions to thank our clients, alliances and our own people. But always, we would have a Thanksgiving Mass to anchor the celebration.
Celebrating milestones can be an emotional experience. It is a time for reflection of how we have fared: a sense for individual and group achievements, the challenges we faced, the many frustrations we overcame, the many victories we relished, the many friends we have made, the numerous professionals whose careers we have enhanced, the great variety of clients we have supported, the invaluable skills, knowledge and competencies we have gained individually, the ever widening network that you generate each day, the foreign travels made to broaden our cultural experience, the young people we have mentored, the corporate success we have gained -- not only in the careers we have built for our own people, but also for being counted as a responsible member of the business community, complete with alliances with first class institutions the likes of Amcham, MAP, the BPAP, among others not to mention our corporate social responsibility programs. It’s exciting to add that in line with our vision, we are now part of a global partnership, much in line with our Vision.
And how about our culture of recognizing and giving credit to each one’s conversion, the unfailing recognition of each one’s loyalty to the company as we recognize each one’s own anniversary with the firm, the customary birthday celebrations, the incredible Christmas party competitions, the quick support we would give to a KSearch employee needing an unusual kind of personal help, and even the call for a pizza treat at the slightest provocation, though mundane but invariably forms part of the KSearch professional family culture.
All those said, I would be remiss if I do not talk about the essence of the KSearch brand (being one of the Top Executive Recruitment Firms in the Philippines) that we have built. Let me tell you, the brand of KSearch is not about our attractive KSearch logo, it’s not our brochure or the occasional ads that we put up in the Amcham Business Journal. Sure, they all help build and entrench name-recall. The KSearch brand is the experience each one of us provides to each of our clients and each of our candidates during our interactions with them. Wak Laqui’s experience working with Karmeli, for example, defines the KSearch brand. Lisa Conway of Coffey from Australia working with Ruby was a brand-building experience no less. Citi’s experience working with Ross is what the KSearch brand is to them. Logica’s experience working with Jen is also exactly that. And it goes all the way to every client and candidate-facing experience that we individually and collectively would have had any impact upon.
Which brings me to what I would like to end my remark with -- that is, what KSearch stands for. Let us not forget that the values we stand for are all contained in our Mission Statement which defines that: “we are effective and efficient as a firm -- focused on providing our clients with outstanding candidates -- within the shortest possible time”. To continue: “we are passionate to satisfy our clients – enhance our candidates’ careers – ensure that our people advance in their skills, knowledge, professional recognition and rewards”. And we end it with the most crucial value of all, which is that: “we will do all these with integrity and utmost respectability”.
I thank everyone for all your dedication, hard work, initiative, and commitment. I thank Karmeli, especially, for being the epitome of what KSearch stands for in every way that she has performed and generated results. I thank Rubi for being the invaluable pillar, like Karmeli, who provides a source of inner strength in KSearch.
I just read over the holidays Harvard Business Review’s interview with Howard Schultz, the founder and the second-time CEO incumbent of that remarkable company, Starbucks. Shultz said that success is very shallow if it doesn’t have emotional meaning. I believe that more than the obvious rational career-based objectives each one has in being with KSearch, it becomes even more fulfilling to have that emotional motive for having a strong sense of commitment to the company’s mission.
And if there is one discipline I would like for all of us to reflect upon and work on very seriously starting now and should carry forward into our 12th year of operation and beyond -- is that of imposing Quality in all phases of our work. We’ve got to think and breathe quality and let it manifest in all aspects of our processes and output -- such that our clients and our candidates experience the KSearch brand of quality. The operative word is Experience. I cannot think of anything more urgent and more important where we could quickly create a difference in this very competitive industry. Why, because we live in a sea of mediocrity, so let’s take advantage of that.