Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and background?
I like to tell people I'm both a numbers person (I'm a licensed CPA) as well as an award-winning marketing/advertising professional. My diverse professional experience includes working for one of the world's largest public accounting and consulting firms (Deloitte) as well as one of Germany's most-awarded largest independent advertising agencies. I also grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, with my mother owning her own franchise bookstore, and my father taking over and owning a very niche construction and underground services company. His company primarily serviced the coal mining industry that was established in the early 20th century.
What initially drew you to GTE? Why did you want to work here?
I loved the idea of getting to work with aspiring CEOs on a day-in day-out basis. Most searchers bring great energy to the table, in addition to their own unique quirks and interests, which I get to interact with on a daily basis. It's the best part of my job, for sure. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurial parents, and I think that's also been a large part of what drew me here. I really admire the passion and risk-taking that my parents took, and I can see a lot of those same attributes in the searchers that I interact with.
Can you briefly tell us about your time at GTE? What impact has working in the search fund community have on you?
Working at GTE's been absolutely amazing. I've been able to learn so much from Brenden and Jamie in such a short amount of time. They are incredibly bright and talented individuals who clearly have a deep understanding of the space, given their experience as former successful searchers, operators, and investors in the space.
Having the chance to work in the search fund community's been a blessing for me. It's a bit cheesy to say, but it's oddly made me a better person at the end of the day. What I mean by that is the people in this small ecosystem are so eager to go above and beyond to help one another out. It's a well-known fact, too. And you don't necessarily see this much in other similar fields like traditional private equity, venture capital, startups, etc. It's also probably because this kind of attitude and approach aligns very well with my own life, so it helps me feel more closely connected.
What advice would you give to 1) prospective searchers looking to work with GTE and 2) students looking to intern at GTE?
My biggest piece of advice to prospective searcher is to take a day or two to truly reflect on yourself as a potential search candidate (from an investor's standpoint). Identify your most glaring weaknesses and begin plotting out ways to help mitigate any concerns that might be perceived on the investor end. A classic example of this is someone who has great past operational experience and therefore would be very likely to succeed as a leader in a small business environment; however, they may also be completely lacking in deal transactional experience. What can you do to show investors that you've taken steps to address this potential lack of experience? Example actions might be getting an internship with a current searcher, enrolling oneself in some form of transactions class or bootcamp, having calls with tons of transaction experts, etc. At the end of the day, this is all just an exercise in problem solving. Your problem is that you're lacking in certain areas. How do you solve this to get the end result (investor backing)? You'll need this skillset as a future small business CEO, too.
In terms of students who would like to intern at GTE, I highly suggest being proactive as much as possible. Yes, I do highly encourage people to apply to the job posting on our website. But go beyond doing just that. Find out who works at GTE. Look them up on Linkedin. Message them. Find their email if you're able to, and email them expressing interest and asking for a quick phone call. It's those candidates who have been the most proactive that have been the most successful in getting an internship in the past.