Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in leadership development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Adam Pekarsky, Founding Partner of Pekarsky & Co., located in Calgary, AB, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are an awarding-winning retained executive search and leadership development firm with offices in Calgary and Toronto and clients from coast to coast. We work with companies large and small, public and private, local and global, private sector and not-for-profit, each of whom shares the common desire to attract and retain the very best talent for their organizations.

Tell us about yourself

I am a "recovering lawyer" having practiced for four years in the late 1990s. I started my career in search in 2001 and, after working for two leading global firms, decided to start my own firm in 2009. I did so because I always felt there was a better way to engage with the client, the candidate, the community, and the team with whom I am privileged to work each day. They are quite simply the best in the business. We are now 11 strong, growing, and dragging the traditionally conservative executive search industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century. We have been thought leaders through our monthly newsletter, The Ampersand, our podcast, and the way we treat each other and our clients and candidates each and every day. What motivates me is being the best and proving that it's not the big global brand that matters it's the people behind that brand who actually live their core values and are proud to represent each and every day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

There have been many. Awards won, heartfelt thank you notes received, and the like. Navigating the financial crisis, the downturn in oil and gas prices from 2015 to 2021, and navigating COVID without a single layoff - all of those were great accomplishments. However, the biggest accomplishment is empowering my team to care for this firm and brand it as though it was truly their own. The pride and professionalism they bring to work every day shows up in our work. Our clients and candidates see it. Our community does too. Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is as old as the firm itself. As our larger competitors scramble to adapt, it's always been a part of who we are. We are authentic, fun, professional, community-minded people who treat each other with respect, value one another's differences, and make thoughtful decisions every day. These virtues are in short supply when you look around the world today.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The burden of knowing your people depend upon you for their livelihoods. My team always jokes with me when I fret about the pipeline. "You always worry about the pipeline," they say, inferring I'm sort of Chicken Little when it comes to work. I usually respond by saying, "The day I stop worrying is the day you should start worrying!"

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't let people tell you that you can't.
  2. Trust your gut.
  3. Work hard, be ethical, give back, and pay it forward.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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