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Danaher: Orientation Program requires ‘immense amount’ of preparation

The preparation has paid off for Danaher. As Ernest Adams writes: “I can already point to so many success stories of those fellows succeeding in big ways within Danaher.”

With The Consortium’s Orientation Program & Career Forum just a few weeks away, we wanted to share the perspective from a corporate partner about the work required to prepare. What better choice than Danaher, the lead sponsor of this year’s OP in Atlanta, June 9-14?

We posed several questions to Ernest Adams, vice president, global diversity and inclusion for Danaher—and a member of The Consortium’s board of trustees [we also got OP preparation insights from a member school and a student].

As a Consortium corporate partner, what goes into preparing for an event like OP? Is there a strategy behind how many people you bring—and who?

It will not come as a surprise that preparing for an event like OP requires an immense amount of preparation. We’re thinking and planning six months or more ahead. Our underlying goal is to bring as many committed associates as we can to an event like OP.

And, I’m proud to say, we have 60-plus individuals coming this year to represent Danaher and our operating companies. I think that shows a tremendous buy-in from our associates, who see the value of engaging with an organization like The Consortium and the real benefits of being able to meet with top-tier talent at OP.

Do you have a “war room” where you work out how you expect the week to go? How do you measure success from your time and investment in an event like OP?

It’s all about planning. We have a number of sessions, especially with our first-time attendees, to run them through situations and give them a sense of what OP is like so the hectic nature of the week won’t surprise them. It’s a busy event!

We also have a dedicated room at our hotel that contains all the materials we need, as well as serving as a base camp or meeting space for our representatives throughout the week. That’s a tremendously helpful resource from an organizing perspective. [I talk about measuring success in the answer to your next question].

We often hear that events such as OP are more about creating relationships than a transactional “fill an opening” opportunity. Can you talk about how that plays out for Danaher?

Definitely. From a certain perspective, the benefits that are easy to quantify are “How many hires did we make this year?” And that’s an important metric, to be sure, for a number of reasons—including how to maintain the business case for our continued investment with The Consortium.

But from a more important perspective, it absolutely is about relationship-building. If we come in with just a transactional attitude—we’re here to make a certain number of hires, and that’s it—we lose a tremendous amount of potential from our relationship with The Consortium as a whole.

One, we need to be mindful about how to build our brand over many years of investment. Especially for a company like Danaher, which doesn’t start from a position of widespread name-recognition, we really do need to make an effort of years of partnership-building in order to guarantee that our company is on the radar of top-tier MBA students as a great place to work.

Secondly, we see the relationship with The Consortium as being more than about the touchpoints we make during the few days of OP. We really do want to stay engaged with Consortium fellows—not just throughout the year and not just throughout their MBA studies—but through the entire alumni base so we can potentially recruit great talent at any level.

What do you expect from the students you will encounter at OP?

We don’t need to guess. We’ve seen it first-hand. At OP, these are the best of the best and we know the level of quality and dedication any number of these students can bring to our company.

We have been making hires for two years now at OP and I can already point to so many success stories of those fellows succeeding in big ways within Danaher. I’m excited to see how these young leaders progress through the company ranks and continue to make a big, big impact on our organization.

This is Danaher’s third year as a Consortium corporate partner and OP participant. Now, this year, you’re our lead sponsor. The deeper financial commitment clearly conveys deeper involvement. Can you describe how your experience and strategy has evolved since you first became involved with The Consortium—and why?

It’s a good question. People often comment to me that they are surprised at how quickly Danaher has leveraged the recruiting and sponsorship opportunities of OP just three years in.

My response is always, “Well, how could we not?” This is the kind of top-tier talent we cannot find anywhere else. And other companies obviously realize the same thing. There is intense competition for this talent. Each year, we come in with the goal to best articulate Danaher’s Shared Purpose: “Helping Realize Life’s Potential.”

From providing meaningful careers to top business leaders to working in a diverse set of operating companies that are striving to make the world a better place—we are always looking for ways to best communicate just what Danaher stands for and the quality of opportunities we can provide to Consortium fellows.

Truthfully, there is a bit of an arms race for companies involved in OP to show up and show off in order to attract attention. And we know we need to show up in a big way this year—especially as lead sponsor.

But fundamentally, at the end of the day, it really is about communicating our core values and our purpose that drives us as a company. And that is what I think will continue to appeal to the many students attracted to a career at Danaher.

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