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How SCORE Helped

Carina Whitham, Founder and President of the top Renewable Energy Executive Search Firm, Whitham Group, first approached SCORE about five years ago when she was just launching her company.

She discovered SCORE through an internet search for mentors. Carina said she was somewhat skeptical when she saw SCORE’s counseling was free. “I wondered if this will help me and would they have “A” players as consultants if there were no charge,” she said. “I was pleasantly surprised as the counselors are informative and experienced.”

“When I first met with Richard, he had me construct a business plan and a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis,” she said. “He really made me do my homework.”

As her company expanded, she continued to meet with Richard to discuss growth strategies. Today, she’s very proud to say that Whitham Group has experienced phenomenal growth, has a staff of eight, and is extremely successful. “Now when I meet Richard, he tells me how he always knew I was going to make it,” she said.

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#1 Renewable Energy Headhunting firm Whitham Group Leads the Scene and Keeps it Green

Whitham Group has embraced the commitment to going green with a passion for renewable energy and the people who have dedicated their talent to protecting and sustaining the environment. Taking these small actions can make a big impact, and Whitham Group wants to lead by example. With this mission in mind, Whitham Group recently joined the Green Business Bureau, which is a national membership organization that uses an on-line assessment to certify green businesses.

In keeping with their sustainable business vision, Carina Whitham, the President of Whitham Group and Kelly Gillette the Operations Director have incorporated numerous green initiatives:

• Their office is kept digital and dematerialized whenever possible. A paperless environment not only helps staff stay more organized, but also keeps things neat and tidy. The office now utilizes software, like GreenPrint, which helps eliminate blank pages from documents before printing and can also convert to PDF for paperless document sharing.

For more information on Whitham Group, please visit http://www.whithamgroup.com. For more information on the GBB program, please visit http://www.gbb.org. # # # About Whitham Group: Whitham Group is an executive search firm specializing solely placing candidates within the following industries: Renewable Energy; Solar, Wind, Biotechnology, Geothermal, Biofuels, Hydropower, Biomass, Energy Efficiency, Cleantech, Distributed Generation, Utilities, Tidal Power, Battery Technology, Energy Storage, Fuel Cells and more.

Kelly Gillette, Operations Director

• They have embraced a Zero Waste philosophy, utilizing a Recycle and Composting/Organics materials waste management system within the office.

• Everyone brings their lunch to work and packs lunch in a reusable lunch bag or use Bento boxes.

• Their office does not use bottled water, using a water cooler instead.

• Office does not use Styrofoam, paper, or plastic cups or plastic utensils in the kitchen; mugs, dishes, glass, and silverware only.

• A designated area to recycle/reuse any paper that is generated in their office. They also use recycled paper only, and by doing so, the water saved by producing recycled paper as compared to virgin paper is 55 percent. Recycled paper also takes 60-70 percent less energy to produce than paper from virgin pulp.

• Using videoconferencing to meet “face-to-face” with remote clients, candidates, and some of their staff instead of traveling is routine. This saves considerable money and reduces the carbon footprint associated with traveling to meet in person.

• Optimized the use of natural light and ventilation and do not turn on the lights unless necessary and open the windows instead of turning on the AC.

• The use of only non-hazardous and eco-friendly cleaning products.

• The entire company is on the “Whitham Group Green Team”. That includes everyone from the President Carina Whitham to Nicholas, their 19-year-old office intern. They have set a goal to make their building as energy efficient as possible by integrating the green principals into their work and home life.

• The energy settings are optimized for their computers.

• They have replaced all inefficient, high-energy light bulbs such as incandescent and halogen lights with lower wattage, energy saving lights such as compact fluorescent and LEDs.

• They use Sonoma Clean Power and are in the Evergreen program, which is 100% local, 100% renewable, and power their office entirely from geothermal and wind power.

• 90% of their entire office is furnished with sustainable materials or used products. Their conference table is made of used Solar Panels and reclaimed wood, and their reception desk is made from leftover flooring material and tiles.

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Whitham Group named the #1 Executive Search Firm in Renewable Energy in the US by Solar Power International

San Francisco, CA – Since becoming a GBB-certified green business, Whitham Group has evolved to become the market leader in recruiting candidates for companies in the renewable energy industry. The company has embraced the commitment to going green with a passion for renewable energy and the people who have dedicated their talent to protecting and sustaining the environment, with a strong belief that even small actions can make a big impact. In 2015, Whitham Group joined the Green Business Bureau (GBB), which is a national membership organization that uses an online assessment to certify green businesses.

In keeping with their sustainable business vision, Whitham Group has incorporated numerous green initiatives:

  • Adopt Environmentally Sound Business Practices, one being “Green Marketing”, where the website is 100% green and powered by renewable energy. Their entire office is powered by renewable energy as well.
  • 90% of marketing materials are all online, and their team also has business cards with chips so instead of massively printing them, employees just swipe the chip on their client/candidate’s cell phones, and the V-Card is automatically loaded into their phones instead of their hand.
  • For the holidays, the firm sends e-cards to all of their clients and candidates instead of paper holiday cards. The Huffington Post states, “The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.” So, Whitham Group did not send even one card on Thanksgiving or Christmas, saving approximately 10,000 cards from being printed. The firm now sends cards electronically without the additional postage costs and waste.
  • 90% of employees drive electric or hybrid vehicles.  

A consistent mindset throughout the organization is key to making a positive, sustainable impact on the environment, and Whitham Group embodies the goal toward becoming a truly sustainable business. Having already achieved GBB Gold Certification status, all of Whitham Group’s employees have adopted a greener lifestyle from recycling at home to energy efficiency. In the office, they recycle toner cartridges and do not print anything unless necessary. They also do not allow plastic bottles in the office and have a water station with reusable glasses. And since their core business is within renewables, clients and candidates are all very savvy in terms of green lifestyles; having the certification solidifies their commitment to preserving the environment.

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SPI 2016 – Leading Renewable Energy Executive Search Firm Sponsors Solar Power International

Whitham Group, the leading executive search firm in the renewable energy industries, has been named a Kilowatt Sponsor of the annual Solar Power International conference, held this year in Las Vegas, NV on September 12 – 15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. More than 600 exhibitors at the conference will be showcasing their products and services, as well as new technologies, by companies from Europe, Asia, North America, and South America.

Carina Whitham, President, reports that job growth in the renewable energy industries…especially solar and battery storage technology…has risen for the past five years. “It’s a career path that promises to be expanding for decades as the world grapples with soaring energy needs, decreasing fossil fuels, and climate change. We expect to speak with many of the SPI attendees while we are here.”
Salaries for renewable energy executives range higher than most other industries. And qualified, skilled talent is often difficult to find. “We have negotiated some very attractive compensation packages for our job candidates, while also meeting the critical needs of growing renewable energy companies,” said Whitham.

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Renewable Energy, Sustainable Executives

Renewable energy is a multi-billion dollar industry. Investment in technologies such as solar power, wind power and hydroelectricity, reached $257 billion in 2011 alone.

Rapid growth like that creates a need among companies for top-notch executives focused on renewable energy. This is where Carina Whitham and the Whitham Group come into play. Whitham, founder and CEO, brought the company together in 2010 after spending over 10 years in recruiting and staffing. Whitham and her associates found a niche in renewable energy recruiting and brought both their talent and passion to bear on that industry.“The one thing we noticed was that the people within the renewable energy industry, they take their talent and direct it toward the bettering of the environment,” Whitham said. “And they’re just good people to work with.”

In less than two years, the Whitham Group has already found success. “In 2012 our revenues skyrocketed. This year – 2013, we are slated to double last year’s revenues,” noted Whitham. “And we are now expanding our offices all over the nation.”

Already Whitham Group has concentrations in solar power, with expansion into the biofuel, geothermal and wind industries.

Part of the reason for the scope of this achievement is the way Whitham and her associates go about finding talent for companies, saving them money in the process. Before taking on any new client, for instance, Whitham Group goes through an assessment process.

First, they only consider companies that are in the renewable energy industry. Whitham concedes that this means considering only American-based companies.

Secondly, each potential client’s revenue and capitalization is taken into consideration and thirdly, Whitham Group uses their vast connections to feel out the company, take a look into their corporate culture and interview people who work for that potential client. “We don’t want to place a candidate anywhere that’s not a viable position in a viable company with a good reputation,” Whitham said.

Because Whitham Group can offer a retained-level search and do it on a contingent basis, they are able to greatly reduce the amount of money a company spends on finding the right five-to-seven figure talent. That savings can be up to half of what is spent on larger, less renewable energy-focused search firms – and with better results.

With so much success already, Whitham Group is poised to continued their significant growth and influence in the renewable energy industry. “In 2014 our plan is to align ourselves with some of the top energy companies and diversify by expanding our client portfolio,” said Whitham.

This combination of passion, talent and even a sense of fun has driven Whitham Group to the top of renewable energy executive search firms. “We love what we do,” said Whitham, “so it doesn’t really seem like work.”

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Leading Renewable Energy Executive Search Firm Sponsors Solar Power International

Whitham Group, the leading executive search firm in the renewable energy industries, has been named a Kilowatt Sponsor of the annual Solar Power International conference, held this year in Las Vegas, NV on September 12 – 15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. More than 600 exhibitors at the conference will be showcasing their products and services, as well as new technologies, by companies from Europe, Asia, North America, and South America.

Carina Whitham, President, reports that job growth in the renewable energy industries…especially solar and battery storage technology…has risen for the past five years. “It’s a career path that promises to be expanding for decades as the world grapples with soaring energy needs, decreasing fossil fuels, and climate change. We expect to speak with many of the SPI attendees while we are here.”

Salaries for renewable energy executives range higher than most other industries. And qualified, skilled talent is often difficult to find. “We have negotiated some very attractive compensation packages for our job candidates, while also meeting the critical needs of growing renewable energy companies,” said Whitham.

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Students Win National “Project of the Year” Award from U.S. Small Business Institute

Windsor-Based Whitham Group Receives Strategic Insight, Finds Value in Student Consulting Project

Rohnert Park, California – The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) announced that students Alyssa Dime, Brooke Sherrill, Nicole Dockter, and Gina Delgado were recently honored at the “Project of the Year” experiential learning competition during the 2016 Small Business Institute (SBI) academic conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The SSU Business Majors were among three finalist teams selected for the competition’s Human Resources category, based on a practical consulting project they conducted on behalf of renewable energy sector recruiting firm Whitham Group.

The winning team identified and analyzed areas of concern to the organization as part of a comprehensive needs assessment and final report, including strategic recommendations for immediate and longer-term implementation. The project was carried out as part of the SSU business seminar in Management Strategy and Policy.

Insights from outside of your firm provide a new perspective on various segments within your organization. The students had an impressive understanding of both the content and its application, as evidenced by high-caliber materials that demonstrated a clear understanding of my business and core values. This was not a set of hypothetical scenarios from a text book, rather an in-depth look at my corporate structure, the challenges we were facing as a small start-up in growth mode, and viable solutions that I’ve since implemented into my daily processes,” Carina Whitham, President of Whitham Group Executive Search said.

“Project-based learning helps students apply theory to practice and creates a true sense of achievement. This award is recognition of the outstanding work done by these students to provide a detailed plan to the client,” Shannon Brodie, Professional Faculty and instructor of Small Business Analysis said.

“We learned so much about business consulting and the effect of strategy on operational outcomes. This project provided an important opportunity to help make lasting improvements for a local start-up,” winning team member and Business Major Gina Delgado said.

For more information regarding the “Project of the Year” experiential learning competition and Small Business Institute (SBI), or for information regarding programs in the School of Business and Economics, please call (707) 664-3477 or visit www.sonoma.edu/sbe.

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The 4 World-Changing Things We Learned at the 2016 World Energy Innovation Forum at Tesla

As a leader in executive recruiting for the renewable energy, solar, wind power, and geothermal industries, The Whitham Group was in full attendance at the recent World Energy Innovation Forum. Hosted by Elon Musk at Tesla, the Forum featured a stellar line-up of thought-leaders over the two-day event.

Besides Musk, former Secretary of State George Shultz; John Morton, National Security Council; Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy; John Hennessy, President of Stanford University; Steve Chu, Secretary of Energy; Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, Tony Fadel, Found/CEO of Nest, and other prominent speakers led thoughtful discussions about the future of renewable energy and how it promises to change…perhaps even save…the world.

After attending every Forum discussion, and meeting with dozens of thought-leaders from around the world, here’s our takeaway from the event.

1. Renewable energy projects are ahead of schedule.

Although The Whitham Group is deeply involved in the renewable energy sector, even we were surprised to learn about the progress being made in developing technologies.

We were reminded of this on our way to the Forum when we happened to see two Google self-driving cars. And then later, when we took test drives in the Tesla S model (Ludicrous version) equipped with Auto Pilot (0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds and hands-free driving on a busy freeway).

Batteries and storage were a constant theme throughout the event, and the next five years promises breakthroughs that will have an enormous effect upon electrical storage…and the many new devices, from cars to homes, that will rely upon it.

Solar power already accounts for large shares of energy production around the world and is growing exponentially. Just since 2008, solar power installations have grown an astounding seventeen-fold. At the same time, the average cost of rooftop solar photovoltaic panels now cost about 50% less than three years ago.

Of particular interest to The Whitham Group, the job growth in this sector is ten times the national average job growth rate. 1 in every 78 jobs created in the U.S. during the past year was created by the solar industry.

Advances in wind power, including new and more efficient design of wind turbines, will transform this source of energy. New wind turbines can be over 300 feet tall (higher than the Statue of Liberty) with blades that are up to 260 feet long. Most of the wind turbines and their approximately 8,000 components are manufactured here in the U.S., creating thousands of new jobs. As a result, America produces more wind power than any other country except China.

We learned from two attendees at the Forum about how they are addressing the opportunities that water currents and tides represent to generate power.

And from a German company we heard about how geothermal energy can be harnessed to complement other forms of energy production as a dependable source. While currently producing less than 1% of energy, the potential is much larger.

Renewable energy initiatives promise to make America energy independent, with all the positive repercussion that entails. The effect upon the world at large will be transformative.

2. Technology (and Silicon Valley) will produce world-changing ideas in the next 10 years.

The concentration of technical knowledge and money (either from corporations or from VC funding) is fueling hundreds of companies who are working on energy projects. And while there are companies from around the world working on transformative energy ideas, most of the leaders are in Silicon Valley.

Also, some of the brightest minds in the San Francisco Bay Area, from corporations and universities such as Stanford and U.C. Berkeley, are focused on solutions to the energy crisis. What the Valley did for technology and the Internet, it now promises to do to address energy challenges.

3. Energy innovation should not be a partisan issue.

Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who at 96 has seen a thing or two during his distinguished lifetime in government, spoke eloquently about the need for solutions to energy challenges and climate change. This important issue, he pointed out, should not be a partisan issue since it affects everyone. Science, and not dogma, should dictate our actions.

4. America’s best and brightest are focused on energy.

Where our best minds were once focused on computers and the Internet, now they are moving on to tackling energy challenges. Those who are mindful of future trends, and who want to make a difference in their career, are migrating toward renewable energy.

Elon Musk is the poster boy of energy innovation, announcing 400,000 advance sales deposits for his new affordable Tesla, new developments in the super-efficient Hyperloop that could potentially cut travel time between Los Angeles and San Francisco to just 30 minutes, building new battery factories, installing solar in tens of thousands of homes, and successfully launching and landing a space rocket (on a barge in the ocean, no less).

Others, like Google, are deeply involved in energy projects that are well-funded and headed by the best minds in technology. The self-driving vehicle is already a reality and will soon dramatically alter the world in ways we cannot even imagine.

While our world faces enormous challenges from climate change, pollution, and energy efficiency, we can be confident these problems and opportunities have many of the brightest minds working hard to solve them. We came away from the Forum excited and confident that America still has what it takes to be a world leader. And personally, we are proud to be part of this world-changing industry.

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Strategies for Success-Hiring Talent and Getting Hired

I will be a featured speaker at the Los Angeles Build Conference at the LA Convention Center on February 15th & 16th, 2017 from 9:30am-11:00am. The topics will cover both the Client side (companies hiring talent) and the Candidate side (talent looking to get hired). In this technology driven era, many of the Clients that come to my firm have exhausted Monster.com, LinkedIn, and other job posting sites. As some companies see this as an inexpensive way to recruit, what they are really attracting 99.9% of the time are unqualified candidates and hours of time pouring through documents. We all know that time is money, and no one can afford investing hours of their time with no return.

The candidates you are looking for are not going to answer an ad for a position, they are currently heads down adding value to their organization. That is where a Recruitment Expert comes in. I have personally spent years honing relationships with candidates, spending tens of thousands of dollars to exhibit and present at conferences, and take that time to leverage these relationships presenting my top candidates to my Clients. That is where the value of hiring the right search firm comes in. If that may not be an option for a smaller company, I will show you the ropes in terms of how you can position your company as a place people want to work.

Part of my agenda will be to give insight to companies who are hiring, yet not getting the types of candidates they are looking for. This may be due to the position description itself, or it could be the company’s website, or their Glassdoor ratings. I will provide clarity on how to best attract candidates and how the recruitment of candidates has changed not only with technology but with the multiple generations in the workforce.

On the Candidate side, I will show job seekers how to present themselves in the best light. This will begin with their resume. There is an industry format that is preferred by HR and Hiring Managers that takes your plain resume into a marketing tool that will get you an interview.

The question I am asked by candidates most often is how it is possible for a recruiter to scan a resume in 3 seconds? That, which is true, will be explained in detail with examples of a bad resume vs. a marketing tool. The resume is viewed as merely a document, yet it is exactly the opposite. I will also cover the importance of self branding and how your online activity reflects on you as a potential hire.

Being an expert in the recruitment industry means I not only know how to find the best talent, yet I can identify the exact type of personality you have in the first 5 minutes of speaking with you. There are numerous types of personalities in the workplace and many ways to identify them; Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, IPIP-NEO Personality Test, Kolbe Index, and many others. Companies these days are using these tools and heavily relying on their results to move you to the next round in the process. So before you can even get an interview, your resume has to pass muster and you have to nail that first interview and then it is time for your test.Or in some cases, the test comes first. I will show candidates/job seekers how to master whichever test they are given and instill confidence when you push that start button and the timer begins.

On the subject of hiring and getting hired I could speak for 18 hours non-stop (not sure if my audience would still be awake by then) so I will be compacting as much information as possible into my 90 minutes on stage. I hope you will be able to join me for this amazing conference and look forward to seeing you there!

About Carina Whitham: Carina is deemed an expert in the recruitment industry. Carina started Whitham Group seven years ago with the idea of a more personal approach to recruiting. Opposed to a fee driven industry where Recruiters are deemed as a necessary evil, Carina runs a firm that is relationship driven, not fee driven. “If I hear of a position that is not with my own Client, yet is a good fit with some of the candidates I know or have worked with previously on other searches, I am more than happy to send them the information and not force myself into the picture for a fee. That is not what this industry is about for me. It is putting people together, not about inundating a company with phone calls like a used car salesman (nothing against used car salesmen). And in an email I received yesterday a candidate who I referred to a company I read about said “I have never had a search firm just send me a position they heard about without trying to get a fee. It is so refreshing to see and it is also something other firms should adopt.” My stand is that it is not always about getting a fee, it is about putting aside your own interests and thinking of others and paying it forward. I have a strong roster of Clients for a reason and many of my Clients become my candidates and vice versa. I have a concrete set of values and ethics which allows me to thrive in this industry and my success is based on my relationships, not on a dollar amount.