With many years working on both the agency and client side in the UK, Anita developed integrated marketing communications strategies for a number of Blue Chip clients. As a direct marketing expert, she was an early advocate of digital channels. Anita, a British national, has worked with numerous e-commerce organizations, including Amazon and Sainsbury’s To You. Diversity has been a keen area of interest to Anita since the beginning of her career. In 2004, she was a founder member of the IPA Diversity Committee, responsible for bringing diversity to the fore in the UK advertising industry. She continues to support diversity and sustainability as an executive search consultant. Anita founded DeVelde International following a management buyout of the O’Connell Executive Search business.
The current chapter of my professional story really began when I moved to the Netherlands in 2009 to be with my husband, who owns a business here. I happily relocated. With a successful career in advertising and marketing in the UK, I felt confident that I’d be able to continue my career trajectory here in the Netherlands too. That was not the case in a recession. I applied directly to companies through their HR departments and worked with recruitment agencies. It quickly became clear to me that many of these recruiters simply didn’t understand my background and my experience, and ultimately didn’t seem interested in me as a person. When I was interviewed, questions were limited to the degree I’d taken and very few people took the time to understand the kinds of work I’d done, the capabilities I’d built up and how that may fit with a specific role.
I was lucky enough to eventually work with a few recruiters who were human and communicative; people who took the time to understand me and look at the right fit for me. O’Connell was one of the agencies I worked with – they did understand me and I ended up joining them. I hadn’t expected to move into a new profession, to become an executive search consultant but I realized that the executive search world desperately needed more people with a human focus.
All of this experience has shaped the way I view my role as an executive search consultant. I understand the importance of being heard and understood – the importance of the individual, the importance of communication and transparency; the importance of ensuring a match between company and candidate. I’ve learnt to spot early on when things will just not work and Im honest about that. I want the journey to be a good one and every touchpoint valuable. These are the principles I put into everything I do at my own company today.
DeVelde International is a leading specialist executive search and organizational development consultancy.