As part of TMA’s ongoing efforts to connect and advance NextGen professionals worldwide, the
TMA Global NextGen Committee
hosted a breakfast education panel
at The 2013 TMA Senate. The event
gave attendees the opportunity to
hear firsthand from highly successful
industry leaders what it takes to
advance up the leadership ranks in a
highly competitive and complex field.
Experienced restructuring leaders
shared their perspectives and insights
on what it takes for young professionals
to establish themselves as young leaders
in their firms, how to stand out when
their practice area is slow, and general
strategic career advice based on the
speakers’ collective experiences.
Featured speakers were Ronald
R. Sussman, partner, Cooley LLP,
and TMA Global chairman; Mark S.
Indelicato, partner, Hahn & Hessen
LLP, and TMA Global immediate past
chair; Thomas M. Kim, CTP, senior
managing director, r2 advisors llc,
and TMA Global president; Daniel
P. Wikel, managing director, Huron
Consulting Group; Robert Lemons,
partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges
LLP; and James B. Shein, professor,
Northwestern University Kellogg
School of Management (moderator).
The panel began with a discussion
about the three types of people in a
firm—finders, minders, and grinders.
Finders are rainmakers who generate
new business. Minders are responsible
for managing client
colleagues who execute the work.
Grinders are junior professionals who
do the work, but are not involved
in business development and don’t
always have direct interactions
with clients, at least in the initial
stages of an engagement.
Indelicato emphasized the importance
of focusing on being a grinder at the
beginning of one’s career and warned
of the potential pitfalls of trying to
climb above one’s level prematurely
in the early years, which can lead
to alienation and potential conflicts
with minders. Only once a young
professional develops his or her
competency and gains several years of
experience should he or she then look at
transitioning into the role of a minder.
NextGen professionals were urged to
seek out opportunities outside their
comfort zones and practice areas to
experience all aspects of their firms.
They should take time to work with and
get to know people in other groups
to develop more rounded skill sets.
All three speakers agreed that a
young professional should never
say no to new work, even though
those opportunities inevitably come
along at the most inconvenient
times. People remember who says
no and who says yes and
will direct new work to
those who say yes. Also,
when they are uncertain
in situations in which they
lack experience or technical
professionals can build credibility
by asking for help, rather than
trying to figure things out alone.
In down markets, young professionals
should seek out new opportunities or
offer to assist different practice groups
within their firms. The presenters
offered other suggestions on how to
keep busy during slow times as well:
write articles, attend networking events,
and reestablish warm relationships
with people from prior deals.
Wikel spoke avidly about “the diamond,”
a technique that can be used when
making a point or describing a
concept. Holding his hands up to form
a diamond shape, he explained the
method: make a point, then expand on
that point, and then shrink it quickly to
close it out. It’s important to understand
the size of the diamond needed relative
to the audience. For example, a senior
partner may not need the full breadth
of the diamond, whereas a client
may need a wider diamond
when a complex or technical
concept is being explained.
Leaders Offer Career Tips to
NextGen Members at The 2013
BY OMAR MIRZA, TMA GLOBAL NEXTGEN CHAIR
continued on page 34