Executive Search Specialist Natasha Makhijani and her firm Oliver Sanderson are to be featured in the Official Platinum Jubilee Album. Published by St James’s House, the illustrated coffee-table book will celebrate the life and reign of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, whose 70th year of service as Queen will be marked with an extended bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June 2022. Makhijani and Oliver Sanderson were invited to feature in a section on organisations aligned with the Queen’s values, having been selected for making a “transformational contribution” to the British business sphere.
Makhijani expressed her pride and gratitude for the prestigious feature. “This is a great honour for me and my team,” she said. “We’ve had a very successful year, but this tops it all!”
“Being a British Asian, my life has been shaped by our Royal Family. In particular, I have always been inspired by our Queen – her values, her global presence, her exceptional work ethic, and the way that she has always upheld service, even in the most challenging circumstances. There are no better role models for as an Asian woman CEO in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Makhijani’s journey has been uniquely challenging. But her success represents a powerful example of modern multicultural Britain, and she has always been inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit and values of her Indian heritage.
“I come from a very entrepreneurial background, and I always wanted to build something of my own. I knew that was the best way for me to make a bigger and wider impact.”
Her firm had humble beginnings. “I left a comfortable position as a recruiter to start my own business, and launched Oliver Sanderson from my living room in 2011. It was a big risk – I had to take a bit of a leap of faith! But I built a great team, and we made it work.” What started out as one woman on her laptop at her living room table is now, ten years later, an international firm working with FTSE 100, FTSE 350, and Fortune 500 companies, and winning prestigious awards!
The latest milestone on that journey is the feature article on Oliver Sanderson in the album, officially titled Her Majesty The Queen: The Official Platinum Jubilee Pageant Commemorative Album. Released on 12 May 2022, the publication will be available to purchase online (stjamess.org) and in all good book retailers. The album’s editorial team includes the renowned best-selling authors and royal correspondents Robert Jobson and Katie Nicholl, and bears the official event emblem.
Makhijani’s firm Oliver Sanderson is an executive search firm with a difference, combining experience and expertise with innovation and fresh thinking. Specializing in permanent and interim assignments across a range of industries, Oliver Sanderson solves recruitment headaches and D&I challenges for its clients, going the extra mile to ensure success. HR and Business Change have become particular specialisms of the research team, whose search methods draw from the firm’s pioneering digital solutions. With its innovative suite of digital apps, including Snapp – the world’s first voice-technology enabled mobile jobs plat.
I hope my own success with Oliver Sanderson can provide some inspiration to others out there, whether they are ethnic women like me or anyone who doesn’t quite fit in with the crowd, to believe in themselves and dare to be different.
It is an exciting time for Makhijani’s team and the wider industry, particularly after the recent challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Makhijani acknowledged the impact of the accompanying business shutdown, but described the way in which her business adapted to the unprecedented situation. “The global pandemic has had a major impact on our daily business operations, but we have managed to survive and thrive since the first lockdown. Our firm has had to adapt to meet new challenges, becoming more flexible in our delivery models and transitioning to digital platforms through our in-house recruitment software Snapp and the OS Executive app. Thanks to our flexibility, we have managed to grow and expand our team.”
Makhijani now observes a recruitment industry booming across many different sectors, having undergone a process of transformation related to digitalisation, remote working, and EDI. “We are now seeing a candidate- led market – talented candidates are in demand, and they are now setting their own terms, especially with regard to flexible working arrangements. There is no longer any obligation to commute, or spend the whole working week in the office, and companies are building diverse, multi-talented teams operating across different countries and different time zones.”
With EDI issues at the forefront of the corporate agenda, Makhijani and her team recently launched a charity called B.L.A.C. in collaboration with a team of HR industry leaders. The charity aims to address the stalled progress in Black representation at the most senior levels in HR and wider business.
Oliver Sanderson integrates Diversity and Inclusion at the heart of its search processes, shortlisting programmes, and consultancy work, helping clients to create a more inclusive culture and to improve representation in their organisations.
“EDI is no longer just a box ticking exercise, but a pivotal part of developing a strong and successful business”, noted Makhijani. And the research backs her up. Studies show that companies that champion diversity and inclusion are more successful and innovative, and more attractive to customers, staff, and potential job applicants. McKinsey’s study (2018) showed that companies with ethnically diverse leadership are 33% more likely to outperform on profitability and 21% more likely to have above-average profitability with gender diverse leadership teams.
“As an Asian woman in this industry, I am privileged to help foster positive change and reach out to under-represented communities,” she said.
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