“Working with Marymount was a true pleasure throughout. The chance to fuse consulting and commercial skills with a mission-driven role in education is a rare one, and as someone who has always been close to the sector, I was very pleased to be tasked with finding a stellar candidate.”
Greg, Head of Commercial at Movemeon
Please tell us a bit about Marymount Rome.
Marymount Rome is part of an organisation of religious schools owned by The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM). We have schools in the UK, New York, LA, Paris and Rome. We are a boutique brand, but are recognised internationally: we are among the top 3 American schools in France and Italy.
Marymount Rome recruits children aged 2-18. We teach the American international curriculum, culminating in the American High School Diploma and the IB Diploma. We have 150-160 employees and a 10-20% turnover p.a. – standard in the international world.
We recruit by attending international fairs in London, Boston, Dubai, Bangkok, and San Francisco. October to the end of January, and again all through March, are intensive recruitment periods for staff for teaching and leadership positions.
On the administrative side, roles in the business office, e.g. accountancy, are very difficult to fill. We spent almost 2 years trying to find a Director of Technology – we invest in developing the successful candidate into an international educator with a focus on tech support (both the hardware & software side).
Could you describe the role you filled through Movemeon?
We reached out to Movemeon to find a Director of Finance and Operations. We were looking for someone able to manage the day-to-day details of running our campus in Rome, including refurbishment, maintenance, and Italian health & safety requirements. The successful candidate also needed to have the capacity to learn the language, run a variety of teams and oversee multi-million dollar budgets, external contractors, and manage HR from a compliance perspective (salaries, contracts) and human perspective (country relocations, etc.). Additionally, s/he would need to oversee the accountancy and payroll functions. So the Director of Finance needs to hold all to account, and to be responsible for budget, strategic financial planning, and driving strategic approaches to finance.
We wanted someone who enjoys the challenge of all of these elements. This profile requires a diverse skill-set, but also someone that understands the ethos of the school and is able to interact with an international community (there are 75 nationalities at Marymount Rome), and to lead teams of people, not just execute decisions and policy.
If this sounds nigh-on-impossible, it is.
How would you describe your experience of working with Movemeon?
Working with Greg was fabulous. He got it from day one, so I had absolute confidence in the organisation from the first 3-4 minutes of conversations with Greg. I felt I could trust Movemeon to listen to me, to hear what I was saying instead of pushing people to me who more-or-less matched my requirements, which is often the case with headhunters.
This is the most extraordinary element of the company, and it’s what would make me recommend you – the fabulous level of service.
What was your impression of the quality of Movemeon’s candidates?
I was delighted by the quality of candidates. I spoke to about 6 in total, and had 2 viable candidates within 2 weeks. I think that is truly impressive!
What do you think makes Movemeon different from agencies?
You did the work. I explained to Greg what we were looking for, and he took ownership of that. In the past, I had experiences where I actually had to do 80% of the brief. To be able to have a conversation with someone who’s quick on the brief, understands the conversations, is able to use language that resonates with school’s needs and appeals to candidates is fantastic. Not all companies can do that.
I’ve had considerable experience with headhunters – this was the best quality recruitment. Greg was absolutely the right person for the job.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Keep pushing. Things normally play out the same way – if you want something and keep pushing, you’ll normally get there.
What about the best piece of hiring advice you’ve ever received?
I look for the person and then think about the skills. I don’t care about where people went to school. Come to an interview and have your integrity present. As a human being, what you are saying should line up with your experience. When the integrity of a human being impresses me, I hire them.
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