“We deliver services with care and concern for the impact they have on our clients. We’re an organization with heart, talented coaches and advisers who focus on helping leaders and their teams achieve exceptional business results.”
That’s how Patricia Berg, CEO of Career Partners International Twin Cities described her organization, a full-service talent management consultancy spanning executive coaching, leadership development, executive exit strategies and career transition services, that has touched thousands of lives in the vibrant Minnesota business landscape and beyond.
Berg’s roots are important to the story of her success. She is one of four children raised in a small Minnesota town by parents who instilled in her a set of immutable values which shape the organization she leads today. “My father owned a grocery store and my mother was a teacher. From my dad, I learned best-in-class customer service. People would drive out to the house on a Sunday night when they ran out of milk, and he would drive down to the store to make sure they had it. As a teacher, my mom worked until she was 92, and from her I learned that I have permission to do what I’m passionate about. They laid my path for life in so many ways, giving me self-confidence and courage, along with values that were seared into my life.”
In her mid-20s, Berg became the first woman manager at Peavey Company. “It was a great experience. I felt a deep obligation to pave the way for other women, and it was a tremendous opportunity for me to grow my career and build relationships.”
It was also a testing ground for Berg to flesh out what was essential to her about the relationship between integrity and business. She recalled what she learned the first time she had to fire an employee. “I was worried about the impact it would have on her. Afterward, I was disappointed by how I went about it, and I made a commitment to learn how to do it better. I set a personal goal to put care and dignity first and to act with integrity, doing the right things for the right reasons.”
A conscientious professional, Berg found her calling in the realm of career consulting. “I loved the work and the idea that you get to be a trusted partner. Being able to provide a transformative experience for clients is something I’m absolutely passionate about.”
She became the general manager of career management services for Personnel Decisions International and eventually purchased the division to form Career Partners International Twin Cities, which has just celebrated 10 years of meaningful service to Minnesota leaders. Under Berg’s dynamic, people-centered leadership, the company has thrived and adapted to fit the changing needs of the business community. “When I purchased the business, one of our primary goals was to retain our existing clients by continuing our culture and practice of delivering a highly impactful experience. We were already well-known for helping companies transition people who had been laid off. Early on, we surveyed people who had gone through a job loss. We asked them what they valued and what they thought we could do more effectively. They told us, ‘We feel like we get fired twice, first from our employer, then from the outplacement firm.’ That was an aha moment for us that has shaped our philosophy for how we want to do business.”
The way Berg and her company do business differs from other talent management firms in several ways. As the industry has diluted costs by moving to an online and workshop-driven practice led largely by “adjuncts,” Berg and her colleagues have insisted upon maintaining a personal, coaching-oriented approach and being thought leaders in the marketplace. “Our focus as a coaching organization is to help leaders and their teams excel by providing customized solutions. When the industry started going away from a customized focus on the individual, we decided to stay with our core values and continue the coaching and customized business model. This is not a commodity business – these are people’s lives we’re dealing with. We’re not just helping someone find a job, or improve their leadership skills, we’re helping them excel as leaders.”
Operating on their hallmark foundation of career community, Berg and her colleagues invite individuals to remain connected, creating a network in which they can pay it forward to other leaders who are engaged with the company.
Through its executive coaching and leadership development divisions, CPI is helping companies to keep pace with the rapid changes brought about by factors like disruptive technology among other dynamic factors. “Leaders are humans like everyone else, and they need support. Our coaches provide a sounding board where leaders can strategize about things that aren’t working, work out kinks in their style, build better teams and get better business results.”
As the baby boom generation begins to retire, Career Partners International Twin Cities is also assisting organizations with succession planning. “Most organizations haven’t developed a strong bench to turn leadership over to. As leaders retire, there is a loss of knowledge and an inability for people to step into those roles. We look at talent assessment from the standpoint of what talent do you have, and what development do you need? Then we provide the right experience to help them get the next level.”
Berg emphasized that it takes a whole cadre of thought leaders to engage clients in a personal and profound way. “This is a highly educated, committed team, and I’m so fortunate to have people here who believe in the importance of what we’re doing. Our culture is lived through our people.”
According to Berg, her best clients are those “looking for a partnership, not just a vendor. Our job is to help get the best from people by getting clear about their talents and where best to use them. We have an impact on our client so they can have an impact on their business.”
CAREER PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL TWIN CITIES
3800 American Blvd West, Suite 850
Bloomington, MN 55431