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Out of the Blocks and into the Boardroom – Mark Lambert, Rugby

At a time in business when competition to hire the best talent has never been tougher, Steve White-Cooper, founder of add-victor, thinks he has found you the edge. The recruitment firm, which launched just prior to the London Olympics, focuses on placing the most talented individuals from both elite sport and the military into internships and full time positions. As a result add-victor does not only focus on the traditional requirements of academic records but also attempts to source individuals with inspirational life stories.

“Identifying, attracting and developing unique talent is a key component in driving the worlds most successful companies” says White-Cooper, whose focus on candidates who have performed in demanding jobs and environments shows his specific interest in the unique. “We really believe in diversity as a formula for success in business; a variety of experience leads to different perspectives, different ways of thinking, and different ways to approach a problem, which can only strengthen an organisation.” This mantra is manifest in the company itself, with employees ranging from ex-soldier to banker, triathlete with extensive HR experience, actress and Paralympic standard athlete.

The high-pressure environment of serving in the military and the quest to perform to one’s full potential in the sporting arena present very different challenges, and the individuality of each character’s story provides the diverse range of expertise that add-victor hopes can fill positions across the professional sphere. However, there are also many common threads running through these professions that would suggest potentially strong candidates throughout the talent pool. Aside from the obvious teamwork necessary to prosper, skills such as discipline, mental toughness, ambition, drive and the habit of high achievement are all honed through years of self-analysis and meticulous planning. There is also the bonus of conditioned integrity and accountability, which cannot be a bad thing in the current climate.

Having been through the transition from professional sport to the workplace himself, White-Cooper knows from first hand experience what benefits a business stands to gain from lateral recruitment. After playing rugby professionally for Harlequins and England, he moved into the Executive Search industry where he has been for the last ten years. add-victor is White-Cooper’s second company after previously founding Apertus Consulting and his expertise is coupled with complete faith in the premise of transferable talent at the highest level. His belief is shared by some high-powered names in the military and sporting world, who have given testimonials for the company. Amongst them is Sir Clive Woodward, who was Director of Sport for the British Olympic Association, and Major General Martin Rutledge who is currently CEO of Army Benevolent Fund.

The timing of add-victor’s launch was not a coincidence, and with the widespread scepticism around the concept of an Olympic legacy, this recruitment firm could provide something really tangible in the aftermath of both the able-bodied and disabled games. “We believe that the project can not only create a legacy by helping retain people in sport, but also strengthen relationships between business and society, which we see as crucial in today’s environment.”

Looking at the Team GB line up that competed in the London games, the potential candidates for career transitions are remarkably strong, many boasting star-studded careers and Olympic and World medals to go with their multiple degrees from top level universities. Of course, the huge profile and unprecedented success of the home games also has possibly limitless commercial, branding and CSR benefits for a potential employer.

There are already successful placements for the company to hang its hat on, most noticeably Patrick Sanderson, a former England captain in rugby union, who has recently joined tier one European bank. However, just as you would expect from a man who is a living example of the product he is selling, Steve White-Cooper’s ambition for the company has no limit and he has his eyes set firmly above a handful of successes. As well as expanding his existing collection of able-bodied and disabled sportsman and ex-servicemen, who already number in the thousands, he hopes to widen the net of his talent search to incorporate other professions.

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