Welcome to Executive Talent Magazine, Vol. 18: The Business of Belonging

AESC Executive Talent Magazine: The Business of BelongingHow Quickly the World can Change

In our last issue, we were concluding a year-long celebration of our association’s 60th anniversary. And here we are now, not only in a new decade, but also navigating a new world.

As we at AESC have spent the past few weeks grappling with many of the sudden changes that many organizations worldwide have faced, from moving to an entirely virtual workforce to confronting a completely different business dynamic, I have been thinking a lot about culture. How culture shapes how we lead, how we connect, and how we serve.

A strong culture will empower us to excel through the best of times and can open us up to unforeseen opportunities in times most challenging. As I speak with AESC Members around the world, it becomes quickly apparent how the cultures of their own organizations shape their adaption to our new normal and allows them to move forward with agility.

As a profession, we have gained new perspectives over the past few weeks on knowledge long-held, while also discovering new insight:


Agile leadership has never been more imperative for organizations to compete. The future is now and change is the only constant. As a testament to the rapid rate of change, we’ve all just experienced the whole world change overnight. Leaders must be able to fearlessly embrace whatever change is thrust before them, quickly adapt, and uncover the opportunities among the challenges.


Soft skills rise to the top and empathy leads the way forward. We have ways to connect we could barely even imagine only a short time ago. Connection is fundamental for an organization to live its purpose, for leaders to unite and mobilize their talent and for us to leverage the power of diversity. Empathy is a superpower that the best leaders will have. They will understand how to use their superpower to foster inclusive and innovative cultures and lead their teams through challenges great and small.


The bottom line alone will no longer do. The best companies understand they are in service to their stakeholders, and that includes shareholders, employees, vendors, communities and our planet. The best organizations are serving an expanded idea of “customer” and delivering for their customers beyond the transactional to the transformational.

With new ways of seeing the world, we can better envision new possibilities for our clients. In this issue, we look at big themes shaping a new age of leadership and of leading organizations:

We hope this issue brings you welcome insights in a new time.

Thank you to the many individuals and firms who participated in the interviews and contributed to the research for this issue of Executive Talent. As always, I welcome your feedback on all matters relating to global executive talent.

We wish the safety and well-being for all our readers around the world in the wake of COVID-19.

  • The Business of Belonging: How leading organizations take culture to the next level To weather constant disruption and the accelerating pace of change, organizations fight for top talent, drive innovation, and focus on culture. So why talk about belonging? Belonging may be the key to retention, risk-taking, and engagement that launches an organization past the competition.

  • ESG: Feel-good or good for business? Stakeholders including investors, clients, customers, employees and communities increasingly want businesses to focus on the environment, their social impact, and good governance. The organizations that focus on these “ESG” principles and measures are earning the trust and loyalty of those stakeholders, and are proving to be more sustainable, driving long-term, profitable growth.

  • Colour Matters: A Q&A with Anuranjita Kumar As we lead through troubled times, inclusion and diversity become even higher priorities. How we build a strong leadership team and how we truly listen and create an inclusive culture will allow the best organizations to more quickly pivot to a “new normal.” Listed among the “Most Powerful Women Leaders” by FORTUNE India and ranked on The Economic Times “Women Ahead List 2018,” Anuranjita Kumar is a recognized champion of diversity and inclusion. She spoke with AESC about her book Colour Matters? and the state of diversity and inclusion in organizations and the world, today.

  • Canada: The executive search and leadership advisory landscape in an expansive country In this atmosphere of rapid change, globalization, and digitalization, Canadian leaders can position themselves for the best opportunities by immersing themselves and their teams in environments where they can explore and live through change.

  • Executive Search in 2020: A deeper dive into the trends We are living in an unprecedented time of uncertainty. As we navigate this challenging new terrain, running our businesses will require innovation, creativity, and increased efficiency, all with work and travel restrictions never before imagined.


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