PFM Executive Search Names New Partner

June 21, 2016 – Vancouver, BC. PFM Executive Search is proud to announce the naming of Allison Rzen as Partner. Allison has been with PFM for 16 years, most recently as Associate Partner, and is committed to continuing to build on the firm’s reputation for developing long-term relationships and for delivering high levels of customer service and client satisfaction.

“One of Allison’s many strengths is her ability to get down to the core of what makes people tick and truly understand what clients and candidates are looking for,” said PFM co-founding partner George Madden. “She embodies PFM’s culture and unique approach to helping both our clients and candidates succeed. Having Allison on the management team as an equity partner strengthens our capabilities and positions us for continued success and growth.”

Allison started at PFM in 1999 as a research associate, transitioning after five years to the role of consultant and later senior consultant.  In 2008 she was named Associate Partner. Before joining PFM, Allison coordinated convention services for the Greater Vancouver Convention and Visitors Bureau. Her blend of business acumen and exceptional interpersonal abilities enable her to quickly identify the specific skills and intangible qualities required by companies to be successful in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

Allison resides on Vancouver’s north shore where she and her husband are raising two young children and where she is fulfilling her passion for community involvement. She currently serves as a commissioner on the North Vancouver Recreation and Culture Commission and as a member of the North Vancouver District Public Library Board. She is also a past board member of the Directorate of Agencies for School Health (DASH-BC), an interagency network that enables students to develop to their fullest potential.

“It’s an honour to be able to continue what has been built at PFM and what has made us so successful in meeting our clients’ ever-evolving challenges,” said Allison. “We have a very strong and positive culture that seems to really resonate with our clients – and I know plays a big part in our team’s drive to adapt to and meet our clients’ business needs.”

About PFM Executive Search

Based in Vancouver, PFM Executive Search is one of Canada’s leading executive search firms who, together with Panorama Global Search Partner offices, provides outstanding executive search services throughout BC – and around the world. For 24 years, the firm’s hallmark of success has been its ability to develop strong working relationships with a diverse group of clients in creating a seamless executive search process that nets proven results.

Capilano University President Retires

Retiring Capilano University President, Dr. Kris Bulcroft (centre) flanked by PFM Executive Search Partners, George Madden (left) and Allison Rzen (right)

Dr. Kris Bulcroft has retired after six years as President of Capilano University, a position she assumed in 2010 following a global search conducted by PFM Executive Search.

At a special retirement function held to honour her term as President of the university, Dr. Bulcroft spoke of the advances made at Capilano University and the positive impacts made over the last several years.  Capilano University is a post-secondary institution that has gone through a considerable evolution from a university college standing to one of BC’s preeminent teaching universities under the guidance of Dr. Bulcroft.

PFM Executive Search was engaged by the Board of Capilano University to recruit an innovative academic leader for the institution and Dr. Bulcroft was hired through a rigorous selection committee process.  She had a distinguished 20-year career at Western Washington University, serving as a professor of sociology as well as vice-provost for undergraduate education – a position she held until 2008 when she joined Franklin College – Switzerland as provost and vice-president for academic affairs before joining Capilano University as only its sixth President and its second Vice-Chancellor.  Dr. Bulcroft is a recipient of several Fulbright Awards for research and teaching in Canada and Slovakia, and has served as a reviewer for Fulbright proposals for Central Europe.

PFM Executive Search Congratulates Gilles Lepine as the New Senior Athletics Director for the University of British Columbia

Photo Caption: Left to Right, Shelina Esmail, Partner, PFM Executive Search; Gilles Lepine, Senior Athletics Director, UBC; Louise Cowin, Vice President, Students, UBC.

Today UBC Athletics announced Gilles Lepine will take the helm as the Senior Athletics Director for the UBC Thunderbirds. Lepine, the former Director of Excellence for Laval University’s Department of Athletics, will lead the Thunderbirds Athletics program and build upon its position as the most successful university sports program in Canada. Gilles Lepine will join UBC Athletics on July 11th,  2016.

To learn more about this appointment, please click here.

PFM Executive Search wishes Gilles every success in his new role.

Our search firm, based in Vancouver, along with our Panorama Global Search Partners, provides outstanding facilitation of large and diverse Search & Selection Committees in our work with private, public and not-for-profit organizations.  The hallmark of success for PFM Executive Search over the last 23-years has been our ability to develop a strong working relationship with Boards and Selection Committees in creating a seamless process that nets proven results for our clients.

Erik Kalacis – Director, Sales & Marketing for SilverStar Mountain Resort

PFM Executive Search is pleased to have facilitated the appointment of Erik Kalacis as Director, Sales & Marketing for SilverStar Mountain Resort.  From humble beginnings as a local ski hill back in the 1960’s, SilverStar Mountain Resort has evolved into a world-class winter holiday destination, with over 3282 acres of skiable terrain and 131 runs spread over 3 mountain faces.

Erik is a versatile, creative and entrepreneurial business professional with over 10 years’ experience as a leader in the hospitality, tourism and ski resort sector.  Erik’s strength and passion is rooted in consumer/B2B sales and marketing strategy, sports and experiential marketing, brand management and operations.

Leading a team of dedicated employees, Erik will be heading up all resort sales and marketing initiatives at SilverStar Mountain Resort, together with identifying opportunities to build winter and summer visitation, directing SilverStar’s reservations call centre and providing art direction and content creation to drive the brand forward.

PFM Executive Search wishes Erik every success in his new role.

Our search firm, based in Vancouver, along with our Panorama Global Search Partners, provides outstanding facilitation of large and diverse Search & Selection Committees in our work with private, public and not-for-profit organizations.  The hallmark of success for PFM Executive Search over the last 23-years has been our ability to develop a strong working relationship with Boards and Selection Committees in creating a seamless process that nets proven results for our clients.

How to Ace that Skype Interview

As with any interview, the key to a successful Skype interview is planning. The main difference with Skype interviews is that not only are you planning for what you are going to say and how you will respond to key questions, you are also having to consider camera angles, lighting and trying to keep the dog quiet for 90 minutes.

With the rise in videoconferencing globally, being prepared for a Skype or video interview is a must.  As a Project Coordinator with PFM, I schedule and arrange Skype interviews and test Skype calls daily, and understand how unpredictable technology can be.  Being prepared for such an interview will put your mind at rest and allow you to bring nothing but your “A” game to the meeting.  With the help of my colleagues at PFM, I have assembled a compilation of DOs and DON’Ts to help you ace that all important Skype interview!


Look the part

Be as professional as you would if you were going into an office interview.

Dress professionally from top to bottom. You may be tempted to wear your favourite sweatpants, which is fine until you accidentally stand up! You might need to adjust your webcam, or turn off the phone that you forgot to switch to silent. Shedding the loungewear will also help switch your mind to professional mode too.

Check your settings

Have the camera at the right angle so it is level with your face and avoid the camera pointing up at you. Have the camera a distance back so you are framed from the shoulders up, and ensure you are centred.

Make sure the microphone is on and check that the audio works properly, as nothing is worse for a selection committee than listening to a person who sounds like they are talking in a barrel.

Do a screen preview of yourself first before making the Skype call so you can see how you will appear on the screen to the other caller.

Prepare your surroundings

Make sure nothing distracting is happening in your background. Consider conducting your interview in a quiet room with a blank wall behind you to ensure the focus is on you and not your background.  If you don’t have sufficient privacy at your office, do it from home. A public place can be noisy and unreliable in terms of the internet connection.

If at home, close the door and try to keep pets and children at bay. Also try to turn off the ringer on the home phone line or remove the phone from the room altogether.

Request a test

If you’re unfamiliar with Skype, play around with a few test calls to ensure you know how to place a call, receive a call, turn on your video, etc. Conduct a practise interview with a friend, or request a skype call with the company, and consider recording it so you’ll have an accurate idea of how you come across on video. You want to feel comfortable with the technology so that you can focus on putting your best foot forward – most companies will respect this and offer to assist.

Have a Plan B

While there’s no worry you’ll be held up by traffic, or get lost finding the right building, there is always the potential for technical issues. Sign in early and make sure you know who is calling you.

Honesty is the best policy if you experience technical problems. If you can’t sort it out, suggest rearranging the call, or using a phone for the audio, and skype for the video.


Assume anything

Don’t assume that you won’t come across as natural or you won’t be able to put your best foot forward because the technology might get in the way. PFM Executive Search has interviewed thousands of people in person, through skype/videoconferences and on the phone. The person who is best for the job will shine through regardless of the medium.

Snack (yes this happens)

Don’t eat or drink anything other than water during your interview, and don’t try to hide it away from the camera because you may accidentally forget and reach for that glass of, yes you’ve guessed it, wine!

Forget about eye contact

Don’t look at yourself on the screen. Look straight ahead, and ensure that you are making eye contact with the interviewer.

I hope that these tips will help you with whatever online meeting you find yourself in. Feel free to contact us if you too have come across some useful ideas, as we would be pleased to pass them along!

PFM Executive Search