Jean Manaud

Jean is an entrepreneur who specializes in people-based businesses. He has two decades of experience in management consulting and IT, and most recently led international operations across 42 countries for Mercer’s Digital Solutions division, a fast growing area within the multinational management consulting firm. Among his founding credits is everBe, one of the first Workday and Servicenow consulting firms in Europe focused on digital transformation for HR and Finance, which he sold to Mercer.

Why are you so passionate about helping people based businesses?

People have always been the essence of what makes a company unique. Within service businesses, people represent 100% of the soul, the DNA and the execution. When it comes to bringing a company’s vision and mission to life, it all comes down to how people form a diversified and complementary group to apply their expertise, drive innovation, and obsess together about client satisfaction.

You founded everBe, a France-based business transformation consultancy that was ranked by Inc. as one of the fastest growing businesses in Europe before being acquired by Mercer. What advice would you give to founders on scaling a services business in Europe?

Like Asia, Europe is made up of many diverse countries and cultures that happen to share a continent, yet I’ve observed many companies mistakenly treat Europe like one big country. Companies need to plan country by country when expanding into Europe, making sure their leadership and go-to-market strategy is deeply aligned with the country’s culture, ecosystem and competitive landscape. Hire local people who understand the local culture and take the time upfront to do it right. Otherwise you run the risk of appearing culturally tone deaf, which is hard to recover from later.

What are some common mistakes that companies make in their international expansion plans?

I often see organizations try to expand internationally when they’re not truly prepared to operate across different countries. They may not have the processes, systems, governance, operations, or level of investment needed to run effectively across geographic borders. Culturally, they don’t operate as one team where needed, don’t hire local leaders who reflect their employees, and don’t decide upfront what can be managed by country vs. from the center. Also, leaders need to realize achieving a critical mass and commercial presence in a new country doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and investment.


Julie Barker

Julie has been entrenched in talent strategy, recruiting and people operations for technology and IT consulting businesses for 15 years. Her focus on helping leaders and managers build world-class teams and a culture that fosters and inspires those teams, has made her an invaluable part of many companies’ growth story. She has helped companies navigate growth at nearly every stage, from scaling sub 30 employee start-ups to supporting large global organizations of more than 100,000 employees. Prior to founding her own talent consulting business, she was the VP of Talent at Zylo and Senior Director of Recruiting and Talent at Appirio. Julie also chairs the Indianapolis chapter of DisruptHR, an information exchange designed to energize, inform and empower HR professionals.

Why are you so passionate about helping people-based businesses?

People are at the crux of any business. They are not only the majority of a company’s costs, but also its greatest source of sustainable competitive advantage. In services organizations, you get to work with so many smart, talented people who bring real value to their clients every day, and see first-hand the impact that their work has on a business. Being a part of that journey, and crafting the programs and processes that support these individuals as they build amazing careers, is incredibly rewarding.

You have worked with a number of founders and leaders throughout your career and through your work with DisruptHR. What do you think is one of the biggest talent-related challenges that founders face early in their growth journeys?

One of the biggest challenges company’s face early on is laying the foundation for an inspiring culture and making that foundation scale. Many early teams are built on leaders who have worked together before and have a shared vision, but how do you grow beyond that to something that everyone is a part of? CEOs and founders need to have a talent partner from the beginning who can help drive strategy from a people perspective and provide balance with other executives who are charged with driving revenue and customer growth.

What advice would you give to founders looking to establish a leadership development program?

Leaders directly impact how your team members view the company and that impacts the business more than you realize. Be intentional about developing your leaders, and craft a leadership program that matches your values. Don’t try to copy someone else’s successful program that has been fine tuned for their business strategy.

What advice would you give founders looking to scale their business and team quickly?

Give hiring the time and attention it needs. Hiring is a lot more than filling open reqs. It’s about creating a destination where people want to join and stay. Bring on leaders who are passionate about building teams and who are always recruiting, not just when there is an open role. If you’re intentional about your recruiting strategy – how to hire to your values, what’s unique about your company and how you will scale the process over time – you will be in the driver’s seat.