Troy Ashby, Founder and President, tells us about Benchmark Search, a human capital advising firm.
Tell us about your organization and its work in the Dallas Region.
Benchmark Search is a Dallas-based firm specializing in direct hire recruiting, executive search, and temporary staffing for accounting and finance professionals. I founded the firm on the bedrock belief that exceptional people, progressive culture, and an unrelenting devotion to serving clients and candidates is the formula for developing deep and transformational relationships.
How does your company help other businesses become more effective through digital solutions?
At Benchmark Search, we strive to be each client’s human capital trusted advisor. We have made significant investments in innovative technologies concentrating primarily on productivity and organization so our recruiters can honor their commitment to quality by enabling them to focus intently on helping companies and careers advance and thrive.
What differentiates your company from others in your industry?
Our team at Benchmark Search has a deep devotion to developing long-term, trusting relationships with clients and candidates. I spent more than a decade with one of the nation’s largest recruiting firms and have had the great opportunity of working for Ernst & Young, Arthur Andersen and Whitley Penn. I strongly believe that my experience as a Certified Public Accountant combined with having worked on both the staffing and public accounting sides provides a strong upper-hand when compared to the technical experience level and degree of understanding offered by other recruiting firms.
What do you enjoy most about doing business in Dallas?
Our team has a genuine passion for Dallas and the great people that live and work here. The Dallas Region is such a hotbed for growth, which means a job market that’s thriving and has the continued opportunity to do so. We also enjoy the vast number of opportunities to get involved at the local level. Benchmark Search currently supports two community partners – March of Dimes and Richardson Family YMCA. In fact, I was recently appointed Chairman for the Richardson Y’s 2019 annual fundraising campaign.
Why did you decide to become a DRC member?
I am passionate about what the Dallas Regional Chamber achieves for the region and the benefits it provides to members and the business community. In addition to serving on the DRC Experience Council, earlier this year, I was named Chair of the DRC’s Top Investor Stewards Program, which is an extension of the Member Services team. I enjoy being able to assist company executives and key contacts in maximizing the resources the DRC has to offer and am proud to serve alongside other dynamic business leaders in this role. What a supportive, talented and resilient business community we have here!
How has your business changed in the past five years?
I founded Benchmark Search in early 2018, so we’re just getting started! We are a dynamic, growth-minded, and innovative group who share a great sense of entrepreneurial spirit and a fierce dedication to top flight client service. In terms of the state of the overall staffing, recruiting, and workforce solutions industry, it makes a huge contribution to the economy of the U.S., providing career opportunities for approximately 14 million employees annually. According to a Staffing Industry Analysts report, staffing is a $148 billion industry in the U.S. comprised of approximately 17,000 staffing and recruiting agencies. It’s no doubt that the billions in staffing revenue generated by these agencies gives emphasis to the health of the industry which will only continue to grow and thrive!
Dear DRC Members,
This Saturday, June 16, Dallas County voters will elect the Dallas Independent School District trustee for District 9 in a run-off election.
Voting in local elections has an outsized impact. Past Dallas ISD trustee elections have been decided by as few as 400 votes, so every vote counts. Last May, only 7.8% of registered voters in Dallas turned out to the polls, selecting the leaders who make decisions on behalf of the 2.55 million residents in Dallas County.
Dallas ISD has made tremendous progress over the last several years with innovative programs, from the opening of 23 early college academies (where students can graduate high school with a two-year associate’s degree), to the launch of full-day pre-school for 4-year-olds and half-day for 3-year-olds, to the improvement in the quality of education for all students, including turning around virtually all 43 “Improvement Required” schools in Dallas ISD in the past four years.
Continuing this momentum is paramount if we want to have the community and workforce necessary to continue to grow Dallas’ economic success.
Please remember to vote this Saturday, June 16, and encourage your colleagues, friends, and family members to do so as well.
All best wishes,
President and CEO
Dallas Regional Chamber
Professional and business services have long been identified with the downtowns of cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, where lawyers, accountants and architects are thick on the ground. However, in recent years there’s been a clear shift in the geography of this vital sector, with some of the strongest job generation emerging far from the high-rise canyons. This shift is of profound importance given that professional and business services is by far the largest high-wage job sector in the U.S. and one of the main ladders to the middle class, with an annual average salary of $60,446, compared to $48,115 a year for the average nonfarm job.
by Christopher Anaya, Vincent Serafino Geary Waddell Jenevein, P.C.
On May 23, 2018, the LEAD YP class hosted three exceptional individuals, Deanna Naugles, Darren Smith and Rhonda Green, to discuss the importance of coaching and feedback in your career. Naugles is a Senior Manager responsible for driving and managing the Dallas Local Market and Strategic Operations programs at Accenture. Smith is the Chief Unlearning Officer with Cima Strategic, and Green is an Executive Director for JPMorgan Chase.
The discussion focused on both receiving and giving feedback. When giving feedback, the panel agreed that it is important to connect with the person that is receiving the feedback. Green stressed “feedback is a gift,” and any person giving feedback needs to do so in a genuine and authentic way. Naugles agreed and added that it helps to understand the person that is receiving the feedback. Smith relayed two acronyms to remember when giving feedback; FORM: Family, Occupation, Recreation, Message; and ACE: Acknowledge, Connect, Elevate. These acronyms help you relate and connect with the person. Naugles’ advice for giving feedback effectively is to use examples of situations where the person could improve on their performance as reinforcement and use peer performance as an indicator of how effective that person is compared to his or her peers. These teaching tools display what needs to be done and what is expected moving forward. Furthermore, as a manager, don’t miss an opportunity to give good feedback. Ultimately, “you share what you need to share, but you do so with care.”
While it is sometimes easier to give feedback than receive it, the panel provided valuable insight on receiving feedback. Bringing back Green’s initial point that feedback is a gift and a person receiving feedback should treat it as such, she encouraged us to use these opportunities to reflect, learn and grow. Naugles pointed out that if you react negatively to feedback, you will be pegged as “uncoachable” in your organization — a label you want to avoid. One helpful hint the panel suggested is to ask for feedback in real time. Once an event has occurred, ask how your boss perceived your performance and request advice for improving your performance in the future. Repeat back the feedback you receive to make sure you have clarity on what is expected of you. Make sure that you walk away from a manager with something actionable and with an understanding of what is needed to get to the next level. Most importantly, when asking for feedback, be prepared to receive it, and remember pride gets in the way of understanding people and reflecting on received feedback.
Finally, the panel touched on giving upward feedback to your boss or supervisor. First and foremost, ensure that a good relationship and mutual respect exits between you and your boss. This relationship is built by attitude and work product. Prior to the meeting, create an agenda. Understand the goal you want to accomplish, and make sure you leave accomplishing that goal.
After the panel concluded the discussion on coaching and feedback, Smith and Naugles conducted a class activity centered on “knowing who you are.” This is vital, not just in your career, but in every aspect of your life. The first step in completing this process is to participate in a strength finder assessment. This will help clarify your “Big Why.” What drives you, what are your principles and values, how do you set ground rules and communicate with others, as well as many other important attributes. Knowing who you are lays the foundation for receiving feedback and engaging in meaningful coaching and counseling.
Remember, “if you don’t know who you are, you are uncoachable.”
by Dave Moore, Staff Writer
If person-to-person contact is the cornerstone of doing business in Asia, business leaders in Japan and the Dallas Region have been working steadily toward that end for years. That foundation was further solidified this spring.
A delegation of business leaders from the Dallas Region held dozens of meetings in Japan in April; a major Texas-Japan Summit was held in Houston with strong turnout from the Dallas Region; and leaders from Japan’s Aichi Prefecture stopped in Dallas in May on their own trade mission. Many of those in attendance at the Dallas meeting have attended trade missions to Japan.
“It’s no coincidence that we’re sitting in the Toyota Board Room, and that our relationship continues to deepen,” said DRC President and CEO Dale Petroskey, addressing Aichi Prefecture Gov. Hideaki Ohmura and his delegation on May 11. Less than a month ago, the Dallas Region delegation visited him in Nagoya.
Petroskey said the Aichi Prefecture and Texas have strong, prosperous economies in common. Petroskey said over the past eight years, the Dallas Region has attracted roughly 108 headquarters, including Japanese-owned Toyota, Kubota, OKI Data and NTT Data.
Through a translator, Gov. Ohmura remarked upon the similarities of the strength of the Texas and Aichi economies, especially now that the Texas bullet train is in development.
“Two years ago, Governor Abbott and I signed a [memorandum of understanding] of friendship and mutual cooperation, forming a partnership between Japan and Texas officials,” Gov. Ohmura said. “Ever since, we’ve enjoyed good relations.”
Before visiting the Dallas Region, the Aichi delegation met with Gov. Abbott to discuss ways to expand trade between Japan and Texas, beyond liquefied natural gas sales and the opening of dozens of American operations of Japanese companies, such as Toyota North America, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and Chubu Electric Power.
During his meeting at the Dallas Regional Chamber, Ohmura encouraged the DRC to work with him to establish direct flights between Aichi Prefecture and Texas. He added that because Aichi Prefecture is Japan’s industrial capital, and the Dallas Region’s economy is growing fast, they can work together to achieve mutual growth.
Ohmura jokingly said that while he visited The Star in Frisco, he tried to buy a replica football jersey commemorating his football hero, Roger Staubach, but was only able to find jerseys of contemporary Cowboys.
Petroskey said he sought out Staubach to attend the May 11 meeting but learned Staubach couldn’t attend because he was traveling. He said he would definitely work to introduce Ohmura and Staubach in the future.
Whirlwind Japan Trip for Dallas-Fort Worth Delegation
Two dozen meetings occurred in Japan between April 16 and April 20 for the visiting Dallas-Fort Worth delegation.
The group traveled to Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima and Tokyo, and met with a variety of companies, organizations and individuals. The group aimed to further boost business ties between the Dallas Region and Japan; trade with Japan accounts for approximately 6 percent of the Dallas Region’s total international trade, making Japan its third largest trading partner, after China and South Korea.
Most notable among the meetings was one between the delegation and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) headquarters office in Tokyo. JETRO recently opened a satellite office in Dallas, allowing the Dallas Region to further strengthen ties with Japanese companies looking to invest in the area. The DRC delegation also met with companies including NEC Corporation, whose U.S. headquarters is in Irving.
Next Up: DRC Mission to Europe
The Dallas Regional Chamber is finalizing its delegation for a June 17-23 trip to London and Paris. To date, 13 business executives from the Dallas Region have confirmed their attendance and will join Dallas and Fort Worth mayors, board members and executive staff at DFW Airport, the Fort Worth Chamber, Visit Dallas and Visit Fort Worth. The deadline to register and submit all travel documents is Friday, May 18.
UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
DRC partners are hosting exciting opportunities related to international business.
Export Finance & Foreign Government Procurement Conference
Tuesday, June 12 | 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Sheraton Arlington Hotel, 1500 Convention Center Drive, Arlington, TX 76011
The U.S. Commercial Service Dallas-Fort Worth office, in collaboration with the North Texas District Export Council and partners, will host the Global Market Connect: Export Finance and Foreign Government Procurement Conference. This event brings together experts from both the public and private sectors to discuss resources available to U.S. exporters and connect companies to foreign government procurement opportunities. Register online for the event here.
New Member Reception & White Asparagus Dinner
Tuesday, June 12 | 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Four Seasons Las Colinas, 4150 North MacArthur Boulevard, Irving, TX 75038
The German American Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome new members, potential members and friends to enjoy white asparagus, a traditional German spring vegetable. Take advantage of this opportunity to expand your network within the German American business community and to learn more about the services and resources offered by the GACC South. Register online for the event here.
We welcome your questions and comments. To request more information about area businesses or to share an idea, contact us: