Frank Green is the president of ExecuSource, a recognized leader in the Atlanta recruiting market due to its personable, hands-on culture and ability to tackle any business objective. The firm has deep-rooted knowledge in the finance, accounting, and IT professions and works aggressively to find the perfect human capital solution, regardless of industry or company size.
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Table of Contents
Welcome to your ValiantCEO exclusive interview! Let’s start with a little introduction. Tell us about yourself.
Frank Green: My name is Frank Green, and I am the president of ExecuSource, one of the nation’s leading staffing and recruiting firms. I have been in the industry for over 30 years and began my career in recruiting after graduating college from Northeastern University. I started as a temp at a local recruiting firm in Boston and was immediately hooked. Throughout my career, I have started three very successful recruiting firms in Boston and Atlanta and have served in executive leadership roles for two large regional firms.
I started ExecuSource in 2010, when the country was in the midst of the recession. I was able to step into a leadership role and successfully restructure our entire organization, leading to annual triple digit growth during one of the most challenging economic backdrops.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get to where you are today? Give us some lessons you learned along the way.
Frank Green: When I graduated from Northeastern, I wanted to go to law school. I earned a B.A. in history with the full intent of becoming a lawyer, but the temp job I took at a recruiting firm changed the course of my career. I fell in love with the industry’s people-centric nature and found myself naturally fitting into the fast-paced, collaborative environment.
Along the way, I have learned that authenticity is one of the most important traits for a leader. Growing up, I have always had a big personality. In the past, I would tailor my conversations and change the way I acted around certain people to “fit in” more, but I quickly realized that the best way to form meaningful relationships is to be your authentic self.
Tell us about your business, what does the company do? What is unique about the company?
Frank Green: ExecuSource is one of the top recruiting and staffing firms in the country, with offices in Atlanta, Greenville, Denver, Austin, Dallas and Miami.
Our company stands out because of our resiliency. I started ExecuSource in the midst of The Great Recession and managed to build a booming business that quickly became one of the leading firms in the Southeast, and one of the fastest growing companies in Atlanta for six consecutive years.
Within the past two years, ExecuSource has grown 30% year-over-year and opened two new offices, yet again seeing one of its most successful years during the challenging, unpredictable era of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to become a CEO? Some will focus on qualities, others on degrees, how would you answer that question?
Frank Green: To not only become a CEO, but to succeed as one, it’s crucial to understand the qualities and character traits that can propel your team and business forward. Anyone with the right amount of intelligence can earn a degree, but that doesn’t automatically make them an effective leader. To be a CEO and to succeed in your role as a leader, it’s important to have humility, compassion, resilience and transparency. When you step into the CEO role, the successes and failures of your team will fall on your shoulders, and it is vital to connect with your employees, stay resilient when times are tough and always be open, transparent and ready to listen to the challenges your team is facing. Those who do not possess these qualities will not thrive as a CEO or executive.
What are the secrets to becoming a successful CEO? Who inspires you, who are your role models and why? Illustrate your choices.
Frank Green: A successful CEO knows how to laugh at themselves and does not have a large ego. Big egos kill office culture and make it nearly impossible to connect on a meaningful level with your peers. The largest secret to being successful as a CEO is to remain humble and relatable.
I am inspired by the people I have met, interviewed and worked alongside during my 30-year journey in the recruiting industry. I have met so many people who have overcome the most unbelievable obstacles and still managed to remain positive and successful, which motivates me to push myself to be the best leader I can be. It is the people who I have met along the way who have ultimately led me to where I am today.
Many CEOs fall into the trap of being all over the place. What are the top activities a CEO should focus on to be the best leader the company needs? Explain.
Frank Green: A CEO should equally prioritize their personal and professional goals. Within our professional lives, it is important for a CEO to prioritize relationships with their employees, as well as their professional goals and attitudes to maintain success within their company. On a personal level, it’s important for CEOs and leaders to also prioritize their mental health and self-care. If a leader is not taking care of themselves, this will reflect in their responsibilities as a CEO.
The Covid-19 Pandemic put the leadership skills of many to the test, what were some of the most difficult challenges that you faced as a CEO/Leader in the past year? Please list and explain in detail.
Frank Green: Transparency is one of the most difficult challenges I have faced as a leader over the past two years during the pandemic. To be blunt, everybody was suffering during the height of the pandemic – this was no secret among the business world. At times, I found it challenging to be honest about how the pandemic directly affected ExecuSource. I thought that if I was open about the negative impacts, I would be letting my staff down. This, of course, was not the case, as transparency and honesty are imperative to building trust and respect between you and your team.
We have been fortunate enough to thrive as a company since 2020, having grown in size by 30% year-over-year. 2021 has been one of ExecuSource’s most successful years yet, something which we do not forget as we reflect on our lives since the pandemic started.
What are some of the greatest mistakes you’ve noticed some business leaders made during these unprecedented times? What are the takeaways you gleaned from those mistakes?
Frank Green: As I’ve said previously, having a big ego is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen CEOs make during these unprecedented times. Especially now, there is a closer eye on those at the head of the table, and CEOs must understand that their actions are being watched on every level. Having compassion and understanding when it comes to your mistakes can alleviate any challenges that arise, because leaders who fail to connect on this level with their teams often struggle at leading their business to success. A “my way or the highway” approach will get you nowhere as a leader, but the ability to put yourself in others’ shoes is what will set you apart from the rest.
In your opinion, what changes played the most critical role in enabling your business to survive/remain profitable, or maybe even thrive? What lessons did all this teach you?
Frank Green: At ExecuSource, we have placed a renewed focus on prioritizing our employee’s mental health over the past two years. In 2020, we implemented a new, company-wide mental health insurance plan, which has helped tremendously in creating a comfortable work environment for our team. This has played a key role in the success we have seen since over the challenging past two years, by showing our team that when they take the time they need to remain mentally and physically healthy, they will thrive in their professional lives.
What is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Frank Green: Our number one challenge isn’t necessarily a bad one to have – we are continuously trying to find new talent to add to the ExecuSource team. Business is booming, and we are working to keep up with the demand for new team members so we can continue our growth trajectory.
You already shared a lot of insights with our readers and we thank you for your generosity. Normally, leaders are asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is the most useless skill you have learned, at school or during your career?
Frank Green: There are times in my life I’ve thought (and said), “Why am I doing this?” or “Why do I need to know this?”. Many times, I’ve learned that even the things I didn’t think I needed to know have helped my intellectual, social and career development. So, I think many experiences are useful, whether I see that at the time or not. I am not a huge “dwell on the past” type of person, as I am grateful for my life and realize that each experience is part of what got me to this point.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. We will select these answers for our ValiantCEO Award 2021 edition. The best answers will be selected to challenge the award.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make, this past year 2021, for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Frank Green: As a leader, I had to change my perspective and behavior to adapt to the changing landscape of the world. Changing my personal ways at 52 and changing the way ExecuSource does business after 30 years was the most difficult decision I have made in my career. Ultimately, this change had a positive impact on our business as we experienced more growth than ever before.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Frank Green for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Frank Green or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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