A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.
Title: President and CEO
Tony Sorensen, president and CEO of the newly formed Versique Search and Consulting, is focusing on growth, from professional development of the firm's leadership and employees to expanding the business to improve service to clients seeking permanent placements and contract consultants.
Versique (the name combines the words versatile and unique) recruits executives in sales, marketing, engineering, human resources and technology. It does contract consulting in human resources and marketing and its sister company, McKinley Consulting, does technology and business consulting.
Sorensen launched Versique on Jan. 1 with partner Chris Ohlendorf after the amicable split of partners of the former McKinley Group and McKinley HR, which had been the Twin Cities largest executive recruiting firm. McKinley Consulting is the only entity continuing under the McKinley name.
"I find myself working harder and smarter than I ever have before," said Sorensen, whose responsibilities include marketing, business development and looking for merger and acquisition opportunities. "Part of it is we have a shared vision at the leadership level that we probably haven't had for four or five years."
Working with executive peer-advisory groups Vistage and Entrepreneurs' Organization, Sorensen said, helped galvanize the vision for what would become Versique and its focus on growth. Rather than running business divisions as at McKinley Group, Versique is hiring practice directors so that leadership can focus on developing the staff and organization. Versique also is committed to giving back to the community and supporting employees' community involvement.
"At the end of the day I would take 'best company to work for' in front of any other goal," said Sorensen, recalling his humble beginning growing up in a single-parent family. "I feel fortunate to be where I'm at. If we can make it easy for our employees to volunteer some time, that's good."
QHow did your peer-advisory groups influence your move to launch Versique?
AThey pushed me outside of my comfort zone and saw that I wasn't growing professionally. Our company was reaching that flat line in the bell curve. It took me three or four years to listen to their advice.
QWhat challenges have there been in establishing Versique?
AAs the visionary of this organization, I know what I want this company to look like and the legacy I want to leave. Too many times I get ahead of myself. What's good is that I surround myself with a leadership team that holds me up and says we have a lot of work to do now.
QHow have employees responded?
AAt a company happy hour one of our employees that has been with us for five years said for the first time he feels like he is waking up to a career versus a job. For the first time in many years we have a leadership team that is 100 percent united with a vision of who we want to be and where we're going.