Chiara Anzovino: ‘Riding the high-speed train’ in the Business Development team
Chiara is our Head of Consultant Placements and has an exceptional ability for finding just the right talent for particular client engagements.
Having lived in the Middle East – one of Hyphen’s key markets – since 2008 and worked with several major consulting firms, her network and knowledge of consultants are abundant in both quality and quantity.
Managing those all-important relationships is no small feat, and yet Chiara also finds time to mentor members of our team who are still building their careers. Her role sees her work particularly closely with our three Co-Founders and everyone in our Business Development team. However, her work sees her teaming up with numerous other departments across the company.
Here, she reveals how this crucial part of the business functions, how she utilises her years of experience, and what wisdom she passes on to the rest of the team.
As my job title indicates, my job is looking after consultant placements for Hyphen, which is a job that keeps me very busy but which I greatly enjoy. However, before I go into my day-to-day activities, allow me to step back and explain how things work here in a broader sense.
Our Business Development team looks at both sides of the Hyphen, bringing in clients and then identifying and delivering the right talent to meet their needs. It takes a lot of organisation given how many projects we are working on at any given moment, so it makes sense to split up some of these tasks.
In terms of delivery, some people will focus more on finding experts, who have more of a technical background, and some of us look at identifying the right consultants. My role is very much trying to be on top of all the multitude of daily discussions concerning that latter group and everything that’s ongoing.
Matching the right people with our clients takes a real understanding of personalities as well as skill sets and experience. Sometimes I know almost immediately who would be the right fit for a job but often it requires a lot of research.
I spend a lot of my day scouting for talent – this can be scouring my own network or starting a hunt of my own online. Sometimes it can be a little personalised message online that forms a connection, but I enjoy speaking with people to understand their wants and needs. Given how many calls I make on a daily basis, it’s a good thing Hyphen is paying my phone bill!
It’s very satisfying to add someone to our pool and even more so when they start on an engagement that suits both them and the client. Building that rapport is so important as there are a lot of people to keep track of and, while we look at ways of improving network management, there really is no substitute for the human touch.
Little details can make all the difference and I really enjoy meeting people so when a new client or project comes in, I quickly get an idea of who would be right for them. That being said, it’s a collaborative process which is useful as you get different perspectives.
One of my favourite elements of this job is matchmaking – that is, realising who will be the perfect person for a particular project and then seeing them flourish and make a difference. When clients come back and express that they are keen to work with someone again, it’s amazing and feels like vindication for all the hard work.
That is not to say that my job is all about preparing for future engagements. I like to stay in touch with the consultants while they are on the job, which is partly to check if they are happy but also to see if there could be other potential opportunities for them down the line. Obviously how often – or even how – I might communicate with someone changes from consultant to consultant but that’s all part of the variety that comes with this job.
Another big plus for me is working with some incredible people and helping them on their own journeys. Lilas is at the start of her career, and she calls me her ‘Lady Boss’, which I find amusing! I copy her into a lot of different emails, and she shadows me on calls, so she gets exposure to a wide variety of situations that come my way. In my eyes, this is the modern-day version of my own training given that we rarely work in the same place.
Transparency is important to me, and I think Lilas has learned from some of these interactions – after all, everyone can learn from watching someone more senior. Now, even though I am on hand to offer guidance, she is confident and doing an excellent job working with contractors.
Obviously, it helps all of us to make sure we are all on the same wavelength, but it also gives me a sense of satisfaction, too, to see younger colleagues flourishing at Hyphen. We all crack jokes together and it is such a good atmosphere to work in, even when we are often so far apart.
While we are a remote-first company, it’s not like we never see each other. Our quarterly co-working retreats are the cement that binds everything together and it’s always fun to have conversations in person. I enjoy speaking with members of the team that I don’t perhaps have as much interaction with during working hours – you really get to know those people too and it makes you appreciate what a special group we have here.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fast-paced at Hyphen and particularly so on the business development side so it might not be for everyone, but it certainly works for me. The nature of consultant placements means you are driven by external forces – for example, you can get urgent calls late at night – but I like working at that pace. It gives you a buzz when it goes well – it’s like riding a high-speed train in some respects!
Because we are a growing company, things can evolve quickly and that’s part of the fun. Whenever there are any challenges, we constantly rise to them because we have a talented team that can react quickly. I collaborate with other departments, such as Operations and Finance, as part of my role and the quality here is always extremely high and everyone is very open and respectful.
Those with an entrepreneurial spirit can thrive here because there is the opportunity to experiment and there is such trust and transparency from the leaders here, which is important and beneficial for everyone. If you’re creative, willing to roll your sleeves up and can adapt to whatever life throws up, this really could be the right place for you.