Delta Management Group
Delta Management Group is the only search firm in Canada to be focused in the unique niche market of clean, green and climate related professionals, ranging in seniority from senior but non-executive individual contributors, technical and BD staff, to the “C” suite: chief sustainability officers, CEOs, and board members.
Led since 1992 by founder Gavin Pitchford, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Canada’s Clean50 Award program, in 2010 Delta began to pivot from its roots in staffing a wide range of roles within bleeding edge networking and communications product vendors and service providers, to the present day, where virtually all search activities are focused on roles that have some significant connection to our shared environment and stalling climate change, or dealing with climate risk.
Founding the Clean50
“Early on, as we pivoted to what we then called “green professionals”, we realized that, while we were talking to various leaders in various silos, at that point, they weren’t communicating with each other on this subject”, Pitchford explains. “And we also realized that climate action wouldn’t be successful without everyone engaged and collaborating across sectors. So we set out to convene a conversation where we could curate ways for all participants to hear perspectives they wouldn’t usually hear”.
One of the most effective ways to do so was to identify and recognize the leaders in each segment of the market. “As headhunters, we know that everything comes back to leadership from the top, how culture is set. And so we wanted to reward those leaders who were taking meaningful action, and perhaps inspire others in their market segments to follow suit”, he explained. And thus, in June of 2011, with support at the time from Corporate Knights magazine, the Clean50 program came into being.
While Delta is active in many of the sixteen categories that are represented within the Clean50, Pitchford points out that several of those categories represent no or very little part of Delta’s business. “We don’t do much business in several of the categories”, he explains, “but every one of them is critical to moving climate solutions forward in Canada. We don’t target the Education industry, for example, but we can find the right lead sustainability officer for any organization. Similarly, R&D and clean tech start-ups typically have no budget for search fees – and Emerging Leaders little sway over those budgets, and absolutely no one is paying us a fee to find a politician, ever”, he laughs. “But each of those groups need to be at the table. And we make sure they are”.
Pitchford continues: “It’s not just us though: We’re immensely grateful to the corporations who have supported us in this effort. And incredibly proud of the fact that every one of our sponsors came to be a sponsor based on someone having first attended a Clean50 Summit as a Clean50 honouree. And found it so valuable and impactful, they wanted to remain involved and connected to the effort. HP Canada, for example, came to me before the first Clean50 Summit was even over” Pitchford recalls, “and asked how they could help. They’ve been our biggest single sponsor ever since”. The Globe & Mail, CN Rail, Bullfrog, Enwave, Globe Series, Unilever, TELUS, Vancity and Resolute are all long time sponsors, joined this year by Frank Cowan Company and Intact Insurance.
As for Delta, they have some pretty good results of their own. Professionally, Pitchford feels the organization provides an unmatched combination of reach, and expertise. “Few firms, much less other search firms can even spell ESG”, he notes, “much less have a relationship with many of the leaders in the field before they start a search. For example”, he says, “We identified ESG’ s importance – and our first ESG expert for the Clean50 – over 5 years ago. Similarly we have expertise in finding and evaluating professionals building net-zero-energy housing developments, creating a building automation system strategy for major real property owners or financing energy efficiency”. The list goes beyond ESG to include responsible investment, SDGs, climate risk, corporate responsibility, sustainability, strategy. “If the role has an impact on, or is connected to climate, or a response to climate change”, Pitchford says “then we’re your team.”
“Delta’s real magic though, is in knowing who fits with whom. Whether that’s in helping Clean50 honourees network with exactly the right person – or putting candidates forward to clients. “Our average is consistent year after year”, he says, describing Delta’s results: “One of every two introductions we arrange, year in and year out, results in our candidate joining our client, and then, on average, staying with our client for nearly 8 years. Fewer than one in a hundred leaves in the first year for any reason” he says, proudly.
“We don’t ask our clients to do business with us because we’re carbon neutral or because of the work we do through the Clean50. We suggest they do business with us because we are exceptional at identifying talent – and we can help them build the best possible team. Far better than the one they could build on their own. In this segment, we quite simply know the talent better than anyone else in the country.”
That, in itself, is a highly sustainable solution to an often tricky problem.
About the Delta Management website? Pitchford explains: “The chances that someone looking for a job is the best candidate for any role is remarkably unlikely. The best candidates are heads down, working hard, and not distracted by scanning Linked In or Indeed – or the internet – looking for a new job. We found that maintaining a great website for Delta just encouraged lots of candidates we couldn’t help to reach out – and distract us from helping our clients. The people in our world know who we are – they know me or the team – they’re going to find us without a website. I don’t think we’ve touched it in 6 or 7 years”, he laughs.
Nonetheless – you can find it here.
Pitchford can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 416.925.2005 x 2300