Client Impressions - What It's Like to Work with Us?

I had the pleasure of working with Sharon & Alyson of the Executive Search Alliance on a very difficult search that was critical to the success of our business. Through every step in the process I was impressed with their open communication, commitment to understanding our culture, ability to assess technical competency of candidates and overall understanding of the competitive job market. It is with confidence that I recommend the services of Sharon and Alyson to deliver top talent for your most challenging searches. I was very impressed with both service delivery and quality of candidates presented."
– Director, Recruitment Strategies, Financial Services
I have always enjoyed working with Alyson. Her approach is diligent, deliberate and always seeks to match the needs of the client with the best interest of the candidate. I appreciated the way she took time to truly understand our organization, its culture and the specific requirements we had for a particular position. Using this knowledge she went out to the market to find great candidates that truly fit the mandate even if they were not always coming from the obvious places. This blend of knowledge and creativity allowed Alyson to exceed our expectations on every assignment."
– Martin Parizeau, Chief Executive Officer, Chase Card Services Canada
Kerry worked with us on a difficult search to find a lawyer with expertise in a niche area. There was a very small pool of obvious potential candidates and we had not been successful in our initial search, even with the help of other recruiters. Kerry spent a lot of time with us, learning about the firm, the details of the work and the other lawyers in the practice group. She listened closely to our discussions of our actual needs, rather than focusing on what we had initially told her we wanted. Kerry used her skills and experience to identify candidates we would not have found and brought us a great candidate. He did not have the background we initially thought we needed, but Kerry understood what professional, personal and client skills we were really looking for and found the right person to meet our need.”
– Director of Professional Development, Full Service Law Firm
I initially retained Sharon Mah-Gin to lead an important senior talent search at a time that I was executing a significant re-structuring across the company. Through the course of this project, Sharon brought so much more than professional expertise in senior executive search. Sharon exhibited exceptional skill in achieving an in-depth understanding of the unique dynamics of the company and its culture. She also showed a very strong sense of personal intuition in identifying potential candidates who represented the best possible fit with the company. Over many years, Sharon has become a trusted advisor who can be consistently relied on to deliver the best potential talent in the marketplace."
– Bill Mclean, Former President, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

It has been my pleasure to partner with Mark Coombs in many successful senior and executive searches since 1992. The searches have been across a variety of industries and disciplines, with a focus on Logistics, Retail, Real Estate, Sales and Marketing and HR.

Mark’s in depth search experience qualifies him to deliver top talent for your most challenging searches, he consistently impresses me with his service delivery model and quality of candidates he presents.

Mark is a talented professional who always operates with the highest degree of integrity. I value his commitment, dedication and passion that he brings to every search. Mark takes the time to understand the business and culture, the team dynamics, as well as the organizational structure and fit. He always has open and honest communication with me as the client, and also with the executives he represents. This is what he is known and respected for in the search industry.

I have enjoyed working with Mark over the years, he is a pleasure to work with, and has been a trusted advisor who can be relied upon to deliver the best talent in the marketplace."
– Sandra Ward, Director, Organizational Effectiveness. The Beer Store & Brewers Distributor Ltd.
Alyson's depth of experience in real estate matters uniquely qualifies her to truly understand company cultures and the requirements of senior roles and the attributes of qualified candidates. Alyson and her team work diligently to understand the intricacies of the role and then spend an extraordinary amount of time with potential candidates to match skills, experience and leadership qualities to ensure a successful long-term relationship."
– Senior Vice President, Real Estate Development Company
We recently worked with Kerry on a search for our new Executive Director. It was a difficult mandate replacing an incumbent who had been with us for over a decade. She was sensitive to the culture of the organization and worked well with our large hiring committee. She was a delight to work with, made the process painless and most importantly she found us the right fit."
– President, Jewish National Fund Ottawa Region
We recently had the pleasure of working with Sharon on a challenging search assignment. Sharon is a very insightful person who has an in depth knowledge of the market place, an extensive network of referral sources and potential candidates, and exceptional interviewing skill. As a result she understood our business and role requirements, and in turn delivered top-notch candidates. She is professional, personable, thorough, keeps you informed, and in the end gets the job done. I highly recommend Sharon to assist with your executive search needs."
– Vice President, Human Resources, Financial Services
Truly understanding both our technical and cultural requirements was critical to finding several qualified candidates for our CFO role. Alyson's professional approach and knowledge of the market was critical to our success in finding the perfect fit. I would not hesitate in recommending Alyson."
– Derek Dobson, Chief Executive Officer and Plan Manager, Colleges of Applied Arts & Technology Pension Plan
I worked with Mark for almost two decades in my capacity as Vice President, Human Resources of a 2.5 billion dollar, service oriented, cost containment retail and distribution organization. I know him for his professionalism, commitment to the process with a sense of urgency, and his approach of partnering with both the corporation and with me personally. He wants the search to be well received at all levels, and demonstrates integrity with a personal, friendly and engaging style. He is well respected in the industry and was well received by everyone in the corporation, as an approachable and genuinely good person whom everyone wanted to use for upcoming searches."
– Foster Brown, Human Resources & Labour Relations Specialist
I have worked with Alyson on a number of executive job searches and I can't say enough about Alyson's professionalism, commitment, dedication and passion in order to ensure that the absolute right candidates were identified. The searches we worked on were global in nature and very difficult to source and Alyson went above and beyond in each instance. Alyson ensured she had a thorough understanding of the needs of the role as well as the needs of the business. She is incredibly responsive and proactive and did not hesitate to challenge some of our thinking which resulted in our hiring candidates with skill sets we may not have considered but which raised the bar in creative and innovative ways."
– Sherry Adams, Former Vice President, Human Resources, Harris Corporation
As a Human Resources professional myself, I came across Kerry in my role as president of a not-for-profit, and in short order, she became my "go-to" executive search provider both in that volunteer role and in my own professional services business. I keep returning to her because she is tireless, thorough, and diligent. She strives – with consistent success – to deliver candidates of the highest quality, regardless of difficult market conditions. Responsive and proactive, Kerry takes a truly consultative approach, providing valuable market insight and thoughtful advice throughout the process."
– Frank A. Wilson, CHRP, CPC President and CEO The Employment Solution (TES)
I worked with Sharon on searches at the senior management and executive levels. She provided excellent candidates on each search and has been an important asset to our Company. Sharon spends the time required to understand and probe the requirements for each position which is helpful to the hiring manager as well as expediting the search process. Sharon uses her vast network to connect with potential candidates, always in a professional and courteous manner. She has represented our Company "brand" well on each search. We are very happy with the relationship we have built with Sharon and have a much stronger and focused leadership team in place partially as a result of her skill, effort and experience. Sharon delivers and she is fun to work with."
– Leslie Ferrari, Former Chief Operating Officer, Polytainers
Alyson is a true partner in improving the quality of your company's team. Keen focus is placed not only on the candidate's relevant and transferable skills, but on fit. In a pool of candidates that is often a puddle, Alyson finds creative ways to bring you the right people to enhance the team and the new team member's engagement in your company."
– Tony Grossi, Real Estate Consultant and Board Member
Sharon Mah-Gin has proven to be an invaluable extension to our Human Resources team. Sharon's enthusiasm and professionalism are second to none. I have truly enjoyed working with her. I have valued the candor and commitment she has demonstrated. I would strongly recommend Sharon and her firm."
– Tanja Fratangeli, Senior Manager, Human Resources, ConAgra Foods
It is with pleasure that I provide some words of recommendation for Kerry Siegel. As the successful candidate on a search that she conducted, I was impressed both with her discretion and insight, from initial contact to final offer. Not only did Kerry spend the time to get to know me as a person and understand my past experiences, but more importantly, she took the time to understand my career goals and what roles would help me to achieve this growth.

At every stage of the process, I found her to be open and accessible, and it was refreshing always to receive honest feedback from her along the way. Her ability to provide me with a clear understanding, not only of the role that I might have, but of the corporate culture and personalities involved, allowed me to make an informed decision as the process came to a conclusion.

Professionalism and integrity were hallmarks of my experience working with Kerry, and I would not hesitate to recommend her as a highly effective and engaging recruiter."
– Sean Ramnarine, Director, Strategic Procurement, Shoppers Drug Mart
Sharon is one of the best networked individuals in the Canadian Life Sciences community. Whether you're trying to get referrals or find candidates for C-level and board positions, Sharon has the ability to conduct a disciplined and successful search process, or simply offer introductions to "people you should know". The quality of Sharon's introductions are outstanding, based on her assessment of the individuals and fit with whatever situation you are involved in."
– Har Grover, Managing Director, Nucleus GC Inc.
Alyson was instrumental in helping our company make the transition from an entrepreneurial company to a professionally managed company. Ultimately she found excellent candidates for the members of the Board of Directors, the Board of Trustees and the Chief Executive Officer. In order to arrive at this end result, she first had to work with the owner to incorporate his wishes and needs into an organizational framework that would meet the needs of all stakeholders. Her patience and willingness to listen, along with a solid understanding of corporate structure, were instrumental in arriving at an optimum organizational structure. We would highly recommend Alyson to any company looking to make the same sort of transition."
– Chief Executive Officer, Real Estate Firm
Sharon's team was instrumental in quickly assessing the needs of the company and the critical elements required for the specific role. Alignment on the candidate profile, sourcing, pre-screening, and communication was all dealt with in a highly proficient manner. The practical and efficient approach ultimately resulted in a successful outcome for our company and I would highly recommend her."
– Elie Farah, MBA,CFA,CA,Macc, CEO & President, Merus Labs International Inc.
Sharon Mah-Gin has become a valued partner in our business. Having worked with her for six years and on numerous searches, we know that we can trust her to deliver high quality work. She has consistently been able to identify outstanding candidates that are the core of our management team. When we are about to initiate a search, she is our first call."
– Avi Grewal, Chief Executive Officer, Fralex Therapeutics Inc
Of the many things I admired about Kerry's work, two stand out.  First, she was thorough and far-reaching in seeking and approaching suitable candidates. In this she went far beyond the "usual suspects" to deliver real value in her research and outreach.  Second, she was very attuned to finding the right fit – for both the organization and the candidate – and was adept at assessing that fit to ensure the employment relationship would be a successful one and meet both parties' expectations."
– Kelly Duffin, Executive Director, Ontario Institute of PMAC
Alyson's in-depth knowledge of the real estate industry and highest levels of expertise, diligence and integrity have made her a vital partner in seeking out new senior personnel."
– Stephen Price, Chief Executive Officer, Graywood Developments
MolecuLight Inc, an early stage company bringing advanced optical imaging technologies to the medical marketplace engaged Sharon Mah-Gin to search for our new CEO. From the beginning, Sharon and Kerry were sensitive to the stage of our company and immediately began an international search for candidates with exceptional credentials and who represented the best possible fit with the company. Sharon spent a lot of time getting to know me as the founder as well as the Board of Directors and brought a highly professional expertise to this search, our most important hire as a 'start up'. Her deep knowledge of the life science space as well as its key players was exceptional and her ability to triangulate through the network of candidates was remarkable. As the process unfolded, she was able to provide real-time updates to the Board of Directors (and founder) and her ability to distill data down into understandable and useful elements was an asset to all of us. Candidate assessments were presented to us on a timely basis and thoroughly vetted for 'fit' into our organization. Sharon showed a very strong sense of intuition about people and her level of sensitivity and courtesy was of the highest caliber. On a personal note, Sharon helped to mentor me as a founder and this was a very special bonus in working her because I learned a lot. On the day that we selected our new CEO (early 2014), I recall the words that Sharon said on the call "We did it, we have a CEO". Those words exemplify what Sharon is all about.....delivering on a search (on time and on budget) and doing so in 'partnership' with the client.....the key word being "WE"."
– Dr. Ralph S. DaCosta, Founder, Director, CSO, MolecuLight Inc.
I have had the pleasure of working with Alyson in a variety of searches. Alyson is a consummate professional, who works hard to deliver on assignments she has accepted. But what particularly distinguishes her are her intelligence and her ability to listen effectively to her clients. Alyson is able to hear what her clients say, and also to understand what they may not actually articulate. Alyson is also discerning about candidates and positions and is able to express very clearly the pluses and minuses of individuals and opportunities. On this basis, she is able to bring forward candidates who are realistic contenders for the job, and to sell jobs appropriately and effectively. Alyson has justifiably earned the confidence of many in my business community. I have no hesitation in recommending her highly."
– Barry Reiter, Chair, New Economy Practice, Bennett Jones LLP
Sharon has completed a number of assignments for us. She brings a clear focus, strong discipline and a keen sense of urgency to the search process. She delivers on her commitments. We were delighted with the quality of the candidates we have met and employees ultimately hired. We look forward to working with her again."
– Paul Proulx, Vice President, Human Resources, Dundee Precious Metals
I first met Kerry when I was a candidate on an Executive Director search she was conducting, and have since become one of her clients. As a candidate, I found her to be thorough, honest and transparent throughout the process. She provided me with valuable insight into the organization she was representing. Once I became her client, I was immediately impressed with the confidence she inspired with my volunteer board of directors. This proved itself to be well warranted, as she took a creative approach to tough assignments where others have not been successful. Quite simply, she works extremely hard, leaving no stone unturned, until a solution is identified, while ensuring that everyone feels positive about the process. I appreciate her approach of looking for the right fit at the end of the day for both the candidate and her client; she knows that if it is not a match on both ends, it just is not a successful hire.”
– Andrea Freedman, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Federation of Ottawa
Having worked with professionals in the search business for over 25 years it is not everyday that I meet one of the real 'stars' of the industry! I have known and worked with Alyson now for almost five years and every time we interact on a search or in a professional business situation I am always pleased with her knowledge of the business environments that her clients work and recruit in. At the same time her ability to deliver a tough message with honesty and integrity is key to our continuing to work together."
– Bob Phillips, President, RW & Associates, Inc., Co-author "Absolute Honesty—Building a Corporate Culture that Values Straight Talk and Rewards Integrity" (AMACOM 2003)
Sharon's strength is in understanding the total package of attributes that are required….and then delivering. Her diligence in ensuring success keeps us coming back."
– Ed Frackowiak, Chief Executive Officer, Wescast Industries
As a venture capital investor, human capital is the single most important success factor in any of my portfolio companies. On pivotal C-level searches, Alyson is a trusted resource. She invests the time to understand the business of the portfolio company and effectively articulates the underlying value-proposition to prospective candidates. That may sound straightforward but rarely occurs, especially with large volume-driven search firms. Alyson's commitment to her craft ensures that the right candidates are secured in order to drive value for everyone."
– Head of a leading venture capital investment team
Sharon has conducted a number of very successful Executive searches for Wescast - she was able to present high caliber candidates within tight deadlines - despite the tough industry conditions we are experiencing. Sharon is relentless in her pursuit of the best!"
– Alan Blignaut, Vice President, Human Resources, Wescast Industries
I have had the pleasure of working with Alyson Soko and team on a number of executive searches. Working with Alyson you are guaranteed a home run in finding the right individual for your team and business. Alyson's approach is unlike any other executive recruiter l have worked with. Alyson's depth of knowledge and expertise ensure that you are presented with quality candidates, but what truly differentiates Alyson from the pack is her strong ability to determine organizational fit."
– Director, Human Resources, Global Organization
I have worked with Alyson on two major recruitment efforts for our company, our Chief Executive Officer and a senior role in Human Resources. I have been very impressed with Alyson's professional and client focused approach to search. She is very thorough and tenacious in her desire to ensure the client is clear on the expectations and associated profile of the ideal candidate. Alyson listens. She hears and interprets client needs in a very accurate and insightful way. I appreciate her strong commitment to updating the client through her weekly tracking reports and her strong documentation on both potential candidates and summary documentation on candidates that would not be a good fit for the role. I know the needs of our organization including our reputation and our priorities around how all candidates are treated are being served well and are an equally high priority for Alyson. I appreciate my candid conversations with Alyson and I know that I can count on her and I have great trust in our relationship."
– Carroll Hern, Human Resources Executive

What Candidates Say

I have been a target "candidate" with many executive recruiters in the past. From the moment that Sharon Mah-Gin made contact with me, I found the experience altogether different. It was clear to me that she had a very deep understanding of the client she was representing. Her questions were always relevant to the position and company that she was representing. As we moved through the process, I appreciated the consistent way that Sharon ensured I was prepared for each contact point with the company. Her briefings before and her post-meeting follow-ups were excellent. She kept me completely engaged throughout the entire process and made sure that any concerns I had were addressed fully. I felt like I was working with someone who was focused on the best interests of both the company and me as a candidate at the same time. Thank you Sharon for playing such a positive role in this decision for me!"
– COO, Professional Services Firm
If Alyson presents you, the makings are there for an excellent fit. Alyson is one of the rare breed who makes it her business to dive deeply into understanding the client's business and requirements, and matches that with her thorough knowledge of your experience, skills and needs."
– Chief Operating Officer, Technology Company
In a recent job search, Sharon demonstrated a strong affinity to link my strengths as well as position my development opportunities in a highly effective manner for the role I was seeking. She provided a comprehensive overview of the role as well as detailed background on the key decision makers that helped greatly in preparation for each series of interviews. Communication was extremely timely at all stages of the process and Sharon was consistently engaged. I provide my highest recommendation to Sharon for her ability to stand out from the crowd with her strategic approach to help guide your approach from start to finish."
– Director, Sales, Global Consumer Products Company
From the day my phone rang with Kerry Siegel calling to recruit me for my current role, I found that I was dealing with somebody who was determined to create a perfect match, not only for her client, but for me. It wasn't enough to be able to do the job; she had to know that I would make a real connection to the people I would be working with. Every step of the way, her enthusiasm for the opportunity was contagious, and I found her to be thorough, knowledgeable, discreet and professional throughout. I have always felt that my own priorities need to mesh with those of my employer, and as it became apparent that we had that common ground, Kerry was there to ensure that both sides' needs were being met. She kept in constant communication which was critical for me as a candidate and really distinguished her service. I recommend her to my colleagues in the industry, and see her as someone I would turn to for future recruiting needs."
– Nadia Vattovaz, Associate Vice President, Retail Finance, Canadian Tire Corporation

Mark is an exceptional executive recruiter with whom to collaborate. He recruited me for my current role, and during the process it became very obvious that his strength is not only in selecting the right candidate for a role, but that he is genuinely vested in the process.

He brings a wealth of information that I found relevant to the process; information that one would not normally think about unless you have the years of experience that Mark brings to the table.

Mark is an experienced, professional executive, with loads of integrity and he will always be my 'go to' executive recruiter."
– Dawn (M.C.) Johnson, P.Log, Vice President, Supply Chain Management, Browne & Company
Alyson always seeks the right balance between what is right for the candidate and the needs of her client, even if that means delivering difficult messages to either party. Her integrity, discretion and professionalism are of the highest order."
– Chief Executive Officer, Financial Services
Sharon, you have built a stellar reputation as a person to trust and lean on for me and many others in the Life Sciences area in Canada. You place people into the position that makes sense for them and for their employers and your mantra is that the long run is what is really important."
– Chief Executive Officer, Biotechnology Company
As a candidate that was recently recruited by Alyson, I can attest that Alyson adheres to the highest standards of professionalism. During the recruitment process, I was extremely impressed with Alyson's extensive and detailed knowledge of every aspect of her client/the role in which I became the successful candidate. Alyson's sincere and straightforward approach, her ability to understand people and issues, and her strong work ethic contribute significantly to her success in executive recruiting and her outstanding reputation in the industry in which I am employed."
– Senior Executive, Real Estate Development Organization
Sharon Mah-Gin really cares about the candidates she works with. She sets herself apart from other executive search consultants by really getting to know the client's requirements and culture as well as the potential candidates' experience, career goals and personality. She ensures that not only does she find candidates that meet the specifications, but that they will also fit into the organization; and more importantly, that they will enjoy and flourish in the position. She is a real pleasure to work with and I hope to have the pleasure to work with her again in the future."
– Chief Financial Officer, Life Sciences Company

Bringing integrity, the ability to ask the tough questions/share the tough answers and a boat load of professionalism, Mark is a surprise in a highly competitive industry not necessarily known for these qualities. It is easy for Mark because it is his true character, therefore he has no need to sell, no need to convince, just a strong foundation in experience and a great gut instinct.

My perspective is that he has an uncanny ability to identify cultural fit - first seeking to understand all he can about a role and the Company culture before venturing on the journey to find the perfect fit. In my experience, many claim to have this gift, while few possess it. If it weren't for Mark and his team reaching out to someone completely outside the hospitality industry and instead focused on cultural points, value pairing and essential transferable skills, I wouldn't be where I am today.

Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching - this is Mark Coombs."
– Lorianne (LA) Glassford, Director - Real Estate, Sir Corp. (Service Inspired Restaurants)
I was fortunate enough to have met Alyson recently as a candidate to a CEO search that she was leading. From my initial interview it was apparent that Alyson was a seasoned professional in the executive search field who brought insight and critical appraisal instincts to her role. My experience through the process met 100% of my expectations, the communication and timely follow up was exemplary and the level of support more than I have ever witnessed previously. It was evident from subsequent events that Alyson had developed a strong relationship with the client firm and her advice and input were valued. I would not hesitate, in my current executive capacity, to partner with Alyson on a key position search."
– Chief Executive Officer, Global, Financial Services Organization
Sharon recruited me to MolecuLight in early 2014. She managed the process in a professional and efficient manner keeping me informed of the status at all times. Not only did she manage the recruiting activities very well she went above and beyond by helping me navigate the tricky process of relocating internationally. Her help and support has greatly improved the entire process."
– Craig Kennedy, CEO MolecuLight
I've had the good fortune to work with Alyson recently and have found her to be a highly professional recruiting executive with great integrity and industry awareness. She is particularly effective at articulating the key skills and attributes required by a hiring manager and communicating effectively with candidates. All my dealings with Alyson has been professional and treated with utmost discretion. I would not hesitate to recommend Alyson to hiring managers who require customized and personal attention, or candidates seeking candid and thoughtful advice."
–Vice President, Development Firm
Sharon helped me in landing my current role and then was instrumental in building my finance team at the new company. She is energetic, efficient and extremely hardworking. There are some search consultants who simply understand, better than others, the intangible qualities that make a great fit between employees and employers and that is Sharon's greatest strength."
–Muhammad Niazi, Corporate Controller at Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.
Alyson is a talented executive search consultant. As a candidate for a senior level search, I was thoroughly impressed with her professionalism and her commitment to both the client and the candidate experience. Alyson exercises a high degree of intelligence and utilizes excellent judgment in the search process. She is a consummate consultant with outstanding capabilities in being able to discern the client and candidate needs creating an environment of shared understanding. Alyson's insightful approach ensures the best interests of both parties are met while exercising the highest degree of integrity. Alyson is truly a shining star in the executive search business."
– Director, Human Resources, Global Health Care Company
This was my first experience working through an executive search process, and Sharon made it one I would be very happy to repeat. I knew that she had the interests of all parties, including mine, top of mind. She kept me actively engaged throughout the process and it was seamless!"
–Lara Coulter, Director, Compensation and Benefits, Mackenzie Financial
I recently had the opportunity to work with Sharon of the Executive Search Alliance from a candidate's perspective. What truly stands out about my experience with Sharon is her commitment to meet both the needs of her clients and the candidates. Based on our first experience together, Sharon's approach of marrying the process, professionalism & rigor of the service required in her business to service her clients seemed to be superseded by her desire to provide personal attention and great career coaching conversations which were invaluable to me. I appreciated Sharon's intimate knowledge of her client, her connectivity with both the client and myself throughout the process, her tenacity to ask the challenging questions that I needed to think about throughout the process and her passion & desire to ensure the fit was right for both parties. I would summarize my impressions of Sharon by concluding that she truly cares for the long term win-win of both her clients and potential candidates."
– Suk-Hi Creighton, Head, Sales and Marketing, Cubist Pharmaceuticals Canada, Inc.