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Tom Ripley Promotion

Posted on December 2023

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Congratulations to Tom Ripley on his promotion to Senior Manager. We spoke to Tom about his career with us.


Growth through challenge

I fell into this job after studying Sports Science at university with little idea of what I wanted to do after graduating. I interviewed with Venn Group and found that I enjoyed recruitment. Around the time of one of my early promotions it almost felt like a switch had flicked overnight and everything fell into place in my mind; my billing had tripled and from that point on I didn’t look back.

Last year as a whole was a highlight for me. My team had faced turbulent times – as many had –during Covid, and no one was hiring. But in 2022 we rebuilt our team and beat our best-ever figures by about 40%. It was also my best ever personal year of billing, and some my consultants did exceptionally; supporting Ricky in his promotion to Senior Executive Consultant was brilliant.

I’ve recently moved from being sales-based and leading a team of people to a completely different role which is self-led and involves far slower processes. Bids and tendering can sometimes take months, and it’s been a big change of momentum and a different learning pattern which I’ve found to be a welcome challenge. It’s been fascinating to experience a different aspect of what our business does, and I’ve learned an awful lot about various aspects of local government, education, retained searches, tendering, bids, and contract management.


Integrity in partnerships

My entire experience in recruitment is working with the public sector, so it has always been about supporting organisations with strict budgets who are essentially spending the public purse. I particularly enjoy engaging in high-level strategic conversations and understanding the challenges they face in delivering their services and how we can support them, whether that’s finance in healthcare, legal services in a council, or estates and facilities challenges in a university.

I’ve learned that the greatest element which contributes to a successful client partnership is acting with complete integrity; being truly honest about what you can offer with absolute confidence in what you do, because you know what you’re talking about. When you can’t do something, it’s always best to hold your hands up and say so, advising on the best alternative. That’s not easy to do, particularly if you’re a newer consultant or it means walking away from a job, but while anyone can say ‘yes’ and fail, the honest approach is always the best for a strong, long-term relationship.


Learning from different perspectives

I’ve had three primary managers in my tenure, and I’ve developed significantly under each of them. My first manager was Mark Steff; Mark taught me the fundamentals of recruitment and how to develop new consultants. When I came through to management I moved under James de Ste Croix, who gave me more autonomy to make my own mistakes and the chance to take some strategic decisions. This year I’ve learned an awful lot from Mike Range, he’s very diplomatic and has helped me to navigate managing expectations and engaging with different perspectives and agendas, as well as all of the new information about bids and tenders. My Executive Director Avtar was my first interview with Venn Group, and has been my Director for most of the time since. He has always been an excellent leader and trusted my decision making, providing the valuable input that I needed from a senior perspective.

My advice to those going into management for the first time would be to listen more than you speak, which I certainly didn’t do when I first started! The first thing that people say is often not what they want to say, it takes them a bit of time to actually get to the most important part of what they want to discuss with you. If you talk too much, you don’t give them the chance to arrive there.

After one of my earlier promotions, I had a Director as my mentor. They asked me where my room for improvement was and I couldn’t think of anything. I didn’t mean it to be arrogant, but it was, and they called me on it. I took that lesson with me as I went into management: you’re always improving and you can always be better, so listen to other people’s direction. I’m now trying to make it my mission to be continually willing to learn and try different things, and I make sure I continue to be open to looking at different perspectives.

In recent years I’ve continually been involved in different projects: prior to tenders and contracts it was the implementation of a new CRM, and prior to that it was the website relaunch. I’m always keen to get involved in something new and add another string to my bow, just to see what else there is that can be done.


We also heard from Associate Director Mike Range who has supported Tom over this past year.


“After a successful ten years as a billing Manager in the Milton Keynes office, Tom joined our national Client Solutions Team. During this time, Tom has been involved in creating and implementing new projects, including playing a pivotal role in the successful winning and delivery of our first retained searches within government. 

Tom has a fantastic work ethic and approach, and it has been great to work with him this year. Over the last 12 months, Tom has developed his skillset to successfully design and implement new strategies, with Tom then leading bids and presentations to win new business. Tom has also represented Venn Group in high-level business-to-business pitches and has secured multiple new contracts and PSLs through tenders and bids.    

Tom will be a welcome and valued addition to our Senior Management team, and we look forward to seeing the new business opportunities and revenue Tom will deliver in 2024 and beyond. Well done Tom!”

Mike Range, Associate Director