It was the year 2020. The future suddenly seemed uncertain. New rules, that we had yet to get used to, determined our lives. People stayed inside their houses and often saw each other screen-to-screen only. Those who ventured outdoors, covered their faces with a mask.
A Beginning in Turbulent Times
And yet, Daniel Bauer and Anthony Baumruk would not falter. They believed in an idea: bringing together enterprises and executive personalities in a novel, in a personal way. What made their idea so special was in the detail. They wanted to focus on a single work segment, the construction and real estate business – and thus bring their industry expertise to bear. Also, they did not want to leave their recruiting success to chance. They had developed a systematic procedure, with every step being well-planned, transparent, and measurable. Thirdly and finally, they saw themselves as committed companions that would be available for all parties involved, even after the search process had been finished. In short, it was not about quick and easy deals for the two founders, but about reliable and sustainable results – in other words, it was about depth.
With the concept of depth came the name, inspired by the first German research vessel, Valdivia. In February 2021, the time was right: The Valdivia enterprise appeared before the public – despite “stormy seas, a bad view, and the wind in our faces“: with a lot of optimism and the pursuasiveness of a powerful idea.
The Show Must Go On!
It was a beginning in tough times – full of ideas, hopes, but with the odd pitfall as well. It was especially difficult to put the personal approach forward in video calls or with covered faces. And sometimes, fate threw other things in the way. Just like when Daniel Bauer was asked to travel to Munich at short notice. Time was running out. However, arriving late was not an option. The taxi ploughed its way through rush hour traffic ever so slowly…
…until it hit Valdivia’s founder very hard! Another vehicle had crashed into the taxi. Splintering glass. Screeching brakes. One door wedged. But the appointment was still on! Daniel Bauer picked himself up, climbed out of the dented cab – and found another taxi that had stopped right next to them. Two minutes later, he was standing at the arranged meeting point, still on time and with a congenial farewell from the second taxi’s driver, “This ride will not cost you anything!“ (of course, he spoke in the strong Bavarian accent so typical of the good people of Munich). Sometimes, it just takes all your commitment to live up to your own standards. By the way, the ensuing talk was a success for all parties and resulted in a new mandate, even if Daniel Bauer still felt the impact of the incident.
The Second Year
Step by step, the Valdivia idea prevailed. The enterprise went from a newcomer, that sometimes met with curiosity, sometimes with a smile, to an insiders’ tip. The industry took notice. Renowned media like Frankfurter Allgemeine invited the founders for interviews. The number of mandates was increasing. To date, Valdivia has been able to realize 650+ personal client appointments and successfully closed 31 projects – with 17 more currently on-going in different stages of the Valdivia Executive Search process.
The team has grown as well. When establishing the company, it included Anthony Baumruk and Daniel Bauer, but also Maren Fleck as the Executive Assistant. In 2021, Jessica Böser became an Associate, followed by Saad Malik joining the Valdivia crew as a Principal. Also, the enterprise moored in its final (for the time being) harbour, Frankfurt’s elegant Opernplatz. Would there be any location more fitting for an Executive Search consultancy in the real estate sector than this: between Wilhelmian architecture and the towers of Mainhattan’s impressive skyline?
A Matter of the Future and the Heart: Sustainability
2022 also saw the start of a long-term sustainability program, or ESG program, respectively. Sustainability has always been natural for the Valdivia crew; it its the very foundation of their own approach: Wherever Valdivia consultants recruit, they aim for a permanent, long-term solution – for personalities that truly match the client and will have a future with them.
Therefore, Future is the keyword for the program. So, for Valdivia, the letter G does not only stand for Good Governance, but also for ”Grundstein“, German for corner stone. With regard to the environment, it is the oceans and their lamentable development into a plastic waste dump that calls for increased awareness. S is for Social, a special matter of the heart. In this field, Valdivia has found a trustworthy and committed partner in the Children’s Future Foundation and gives special support to the Aldea Infantil Children’s Village in Guatemala.
Growth, but with a Sense of Proportion
Today, it seems we have overcome the hardest economic downswings of the year 2022. Even if we cannot expect “Full steam ahead“ yet again in the construction and real estate business, there are indicators that allow for some optimism. And so Valdivia is headed for growth but always with a good sense of proportion. “For we are never happy with the status quo“, says Daniel Bauer. The Crew will have new members in Support and Engagement Management. At the same time, special talents will always be welcome. After all, the plan is to substantially increase the number of projects Valdivia is working on.
Valdivia also intends to strengthen their network at large real estate fairs and conventions. After the team targeted the most important events in the industry in 2022, they are now set to seize the opportunity to further expand personal contacts in 2023 – just like the contact with the Children’s Future Foundation and the Children’s Village.
And so social commitment and the idea that marked the beginning of the Valdivia journey come together: a strong focus of opportunities and energy on a clear-cut goal. The interplay of expertise, experience and personal engagement. Thinking and acting with depth.