Wray Search 50th Anniversary Special: Executive Chat with Wray Search Founder & Chairman Emeritus Dick Wray and current CEO & Managing Partner Bob Gershberg
By Rebecca Patt, SVP Development, Wray Executive Search
This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Wray Executive Search, led by Founder & Chairman Emeritus Dick Wray and CEO & Managing Partner Bob Gershberg. To mark this special anniversary, Dick and Bob shared some of the wisdom they’ve gained through the years.
What’s your favorite pearl of wisdom learned after so many years in the search business?
Dick: Diligence and preparation for clients and candidates for every step of the hiring process.
Bob: Give people the freedom and opportunity to succeed. Great leaders think, plan, empower and execute in grand fashion. Great leaders have remarkable skills, confidence, compassion, laser focus, and resilience. Most are strategic but remember how to be tactical and show strength with emotional intelligence, not just intellect. Great leaders delegate and empower to unleash the talents of their followers.
What’s the #1 piece of advice you would give to candidates before an interview?
Dick: Know what you want out of the interview. Understand what the client is really asking for. Be determined in your presentation and give your answers clearly and distinctly. Ask for the job and be precise when you ask for the job.
Bob: Know the company well. Have passion for the industry and the brand. Project enthusiasm. Listen carefully. Ask good questions. Be confident, not overconfident. And look sharp.
Wray Headquarters, St. Petersburg, FL
What’s the #1 piece of advice you would give to restaurant leaders wanting to build high-performing teams? Besides hiring Wray Executive Search to recruit them!
Dick: Make sure the whole team is on the same page about how the grow the team and what the goals are.
Bob: Trust is integral in top-performing organizations. Clear accountability is a necessary feature of a high-trust culture. As a leader, being trustworthy is about earning confidence, being dependable, being approachable, being honest, being supportive and being consistent.
Leaders must understand how to proactively inspire and motivate their employees. They must become the driving force behind growth and coordination in the workplace, focusing on company priorities as well as the individual goals of each employee. The key component of a successful business is a good and functional team with trust, clarity, and alignment. Create an atmosphere in which employees feel appreciated and motivated to give their best. Craft specific, measurable, achievable, and reasonable goals, and make sure each team member knows the expectations.
What are you most proud of with Wray Executive Search?
Dick: The long tenure of the people who have worked for me and the people we’ve placed.
Bob: Helping build some of the best leadership teams in the restaurant industry. Observing a team that we’ve helped build grow their company to lofty levels is extremely gratifying!
If you didn’t work in this industry, and you could do anything, what profession would you pursue?
Dick: I would do some other consultative sales role.
Bob: Captain of the Queen Mary 2.