Oct 6, 2020
We’re delighted to have Mike Gamble, the Co-founder, President, and CEO of SearchWide™ joining us on the podcast. Mike has had a tremendous amount of experience in our industry. In today’s episode, he shares his knowledge and many nuggets of information about where our industry is heading, diversity, inclusion, the skills you need to focus on to prepare yourself for the future, how to start developing your own business, and ways to find new clients.
Mike Gamble’s bio:
Since co-founding SearchWide™ in 1999, Mike’s primary focus has been to ensure that SearchWide™ exceeds client and candidate expectations every day. While striving to add value and develop new opportunities for SearchWide™, Mike keeps the team focused on its core mission. Through his cooperative leadership style, he creates a secure and productive environment for the team’s success. Mike handles C-Level searches across all sectors of business and often assists other recruiters with their assignments.
Before serving as President & CEO of SearchWide™, Mike served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB). During that time, the Philadelphia Business Journal named him one of the city’s most successful business leaders under the age of 40. While at the PCVB, he was integral in recruiting the sales team that worked with him to attract nearly every major convention in the hospitality industry, including Meeting Professionals International (MPI), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and the 2000 Republican National Convention. Previously, Mike spent 9 years with Marriott International in various sales leadership positions in Dallas, San Antonio, and Chicago.
Mike is active in all of the industry associations and served as chairman of the MPI Foundation Board of Trustees. He has also served on the DMAI Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Professional Convention Management Association Foundation Board. He is currently a board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the TwinCities. Mike’s extensive career in the hospitality industry began when he earned a BS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Hotel and Restaurant Management. He is based in our Stillwater, MN headquarters, and resides in the Twin Cities area with his wife and four children.
Learning things he thought he knew
Although he found it hard to leave Marriott International, Mike felt fortunate to be offered the job of Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB). He learned a lot there about things he thought he knew but did not know, and about the exhibition space, especially.
What prompted Mike to start his company, SearchWide™
Many years ago, PCVP hosted MPI (Meeting Professionals International) in Philadelphia. At the time, Mike was the Chairman of the foundation and he was also the Chairman of the Host Committee. At the leadership dinner before the event, one of the leaders of MPI suggested that Mike start a search firm. Three weeks later, he did just that!
The essence of being involved in organizations like MPI is networking and developing relationships. If you do that, opportunities are sure to present themselves.
Mike's first two clients were known and respected leaders in the industry with whom he had a bond of trust.
Mike decided to start in the hotel industry and venture out from there. Today, hotels are their staple and they are also in convention centers and stadiums.
When Mike wanted to start his business, he was in his mid-thirties and his fourth child had just been born. All of his children were under the age of six and his wife still encouraged him to go ahead with starting his business.
Networking and expanding your reach
Finding new clients is all about getting out of your comfort zone, expanding your network, and growing your circle. You always need to stay connected with your previous coworkers and learn about new businesses.
Relationships are vital
Travel, tourism, hospitality, and events are expansive, global businesses that have many facets to them, and nobody knows every aspect of them. If you don’t have relationships there, perhaps go into business with someone who does because people are going to do business with you if they know you and they trust you.
The key to getting new clients is that you have to have someone at the front, driving the top line and being a connector for the business.
Mike likes to be the chief connector and that is what he focuses on.
Mike sees furlough as false hope. He always suggests that people on furlough should act like they’re not going back to work.
Finding a job
Finding a job is a full-time job, so you need to work at it every single day.
Know what you’re good at
Other industries value people from our industry, so identify your transferable skills and know what you’re good at, in case you decide to cross over into a different industry.
Skills you should develop
If you are not a comfortable consensus builder, project leader, or communicator, you should develop some of those skills. In our industry, you need to educate yourself on health, safety, and security.
At this time, your ability to innovate is what will most likely get you the job.
Links and resources:
Connect with Mike
Mike’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect with Eric