Planning for the New World: A Q&A with Mark Atkinson
3rd September 2018 3 minutes read
Green Park introduces the third Q&A in its championing diversity and inclusion series, speaking with Shirley Asiedu, Head of Bids in the Bids and Tenders Department.
Shirley joined Green Park in 2016 as Head of Bids where she writes proposals and manages the end-to-end bidding process for Green Park as part of the organisation’s business development. Her experience spans a number of specialist business support areas and includes a number of years working in marketing teams in both recruitment and construction, as well as full responsibility for business management systems.
What was your career path to your current position?
My career in bids and proposals commenced in 2004 in a major construction firm where I had previously been holding a number of administrative and secretarial positions while undergoing full-time undergraduate study. On completion of my degree, one of the business owners asked me to start up a new proposals department as Proposal Coordinator. After two years, having then gained a Masters in Business Administration, I was promoted to Proposals Manager.
After 7 years in this role, I transferred my skills into a ‘start-up’ recruitment business where I also took on the role of Marketing Manager and was responsible for developing a Quality Management System which required development of processes and procedures for efficient running of the business. After 4 years, I joined Green Park as Head of Bids.
What attracted you to the field of executive recruitment?
It was purely coincidental. I was contacted by a rec-to-rec agency to support Green Park in a one-time bid delivery, later winning what is, today, the largest contract we have secured to date and certainly the largest I had ever worked on!
While working on this bid, I met with Raj Tulsiani (Green Park’s CEO). He began to involve me on other tenders for Green Park’s Private, Public and Charity Practices and here we are, exactly two years later. Needless to say, winning that bid kick-started a successful relationship between myself and Green Park and it is largely the reason I am at Green Park today!
How have clients’ needs changed in the last ten years?
In the context of bidding, clients have increasingly and gradually shifted their focus from a service offering that is based on price. Clients expect a lot more added value from their service so where as 10 years ago, executive search tenders were typically weighted at 30:70 quality to price, at Green Park I now submit tenders where the ratio is 90:10 with quality and added client value being the primary focus. This shows how the expectations of clients are changing in terms of what they want their search partner to deliver and the additional value they would like them to bring, from talent consultancy to post-placement coaching.
What does it take to be a successful executive search agency?
To listen, respond and innovate. In my opinion these are the golden rules. When I work with consultants to create successful tenders, our focus is on really understanding the clients short-term and long-term needs and objectives, identifying the challenges in achieving those and being creative in crafting a solution. Creating an organisation that encourages inclusivity and collaboration is also really important. I think one of the reasons Green Park have been successful is that everyone shares ideas and expertise and there is a lot of cross-sector communication and collaboration which really benefits clients in helping to enrich the approach to problem-solving and provide a more divers candidate pool.
What attracted you to Green Park?
At the time of being contacted about the role, I was looking to change the direction of my career by channelling my efforts into a role that I felt would be ‘making a difference’ by affecting change beyond just the organisation I worked for – whatever that was. For me, winning proposals for an organisation that celebrates diverse talent and is committed to breaking down barriers that create environments where individuals feel they can’t reach their potential on the basis of inequality, well, that ticked the box. It meant I could do what I love (writing and bid management), knowing that I was contributing to the promotion of diversity and inclusion throughout the UK private, public and voluntary sectors.
What would be your advice to your younger self?
Yes, the choices you make tie into how your story unfolds, but do not spend time worrying about the future. Just be YOUR best at everything and things will fall into place and somehow the path will connect at the right time.
This article was published in Recruitment International Magazine in September 2018. To read the full magazine, click here.