Just three years after graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1987, Pamela Ruebusch, at the young age of 25, saw that there was a market to be served in the executive-search industry. And, rather than wasting too much time testing the waters, she went ahead and jumped right in, founding her own firm, TSI Group Inc., in Mississauga, Ontario, in February 1990.
“It was something that happened on a whim,” says Ruebusch, president and CEO of the company, “but I never looked back. I had nothing to lose.” Such direct strategy and good execution are now what drive TSI as it consistently satisfies its clients and grows as a best-in-class executive search and talent-acquisition firm.
Ruebusch admits that although success has been a familiar word for TSI and its staff, it did not come without some trials and tribulations, but she also feels that such obstacles are just a part of the journey. “Every six or seven years, our company went through another evolution,” she says, and together she and her team navigated each one by uncovering and asking “who we need to be today in order to serve clients effectively.”
In its latest iteration, TSI is a 10-person boutique executive-search and talent-acquisition business that partners with both Fortune 500 and thriving SME (small and medium enterprises) clientele across North America. The firm also provides HR advisory offerings, including executive coaching, leadership development, and organizational design and effectiveness services for clients needing to optimize and develop the talent they already have. “The key to our success is the strategies we create and the resources we deploy in order to deliver optimal hiring outcomes,” Ruebusch says. “Our research effort on finding the best talent goes far beyond what our clients have knowledge and/or time to do. That’s why they hire us.”
For Ruebusch, success is not about the huge wins; it’s a matter of taking things one customer at a time and understanding how to be of value to each of them. “You really have to be tuned in and listen to what your customers value,” she says.
TSI prides itself on providing a personalized and customized approach to the services it delivers. One TSI client recently said that, of the seven firms it had worked with previously, it ultimately chose TSI because it trusted Ruebusch and her team. “That is a big success to us,” Ruebusch says. “We are able to scale and be nimble with our clients, which they value. That is always a plus with a firm our size, which we try to capitalize on.”
Looking ahead, Ruebusch wants to continue moving toward a more diversified “wheel of service,” providing clients with optimal hiring, helping companies create and deliver best-in-class talent-acquisition programs, and helping executives develop their leadership and succession plans. Such efforts will help the partnering organizations earn greater ROI from their human capital.
“As we do this with our clients externally, similarly I, too, strive to evolve and grow our team at TSI internally so that we can offer greater value to our clients,” Ruebusch says. The president and CEO had to be courageous when she started as a young businesswoman, but she learned along the way by wearing many hats and finding ways to adapt. Today, she knows “it’s all about working on your business—as well as in the business—and looking ahead to grow to where you need to be.”