Partner Spotlight

30 March 2021

We spoke with Nijole Kelpsaite, Managing Partner, Lithuania, to hear her Friisberg story.

You have been a Partner in Friisberg since 1994. What was the career path you took to get to where you are today?

Initially I was approached by Kurt Kaariainen, a Partner from Finland, because we were selected as the best among eight consulting companies. I started as an assistant/ researcher cooperating with the highly experienced Partners from Denmark and Finland.

In 2000 we became a Partner firm, and I became the first female Partner – and the youngest!

It has been a long journey and even today, the Lithuanian market is not as mature as others. Eastern Europe has a complicated history and while even 25 years ago we were at the forefront of our industry, there is still more educating to do regarding clients understanding the services we can offer. We have undoubtedly gained a great reputation and the future looks good.

What do you enjoy most about being part of Friisberg?

Like any business that grows from a small business to a global firm over a few short decades, Friisberg has seen its share of organizational changes. We now have defined practice areas and they are undoubtedly one of the keys to our success. Working closely with other Friisberg offices on cross border assignments over the years has certainly helped us promote Lithuania as an up and coming economic business centre.

Everyone in Friisberg loves the challenge involved in finding the right candidate for a company, taking into account not only their knowledge and experience, but also the strategic visions of the client. Getting “the cultural fit” right is absolutely crucial and we genuinely understand why this is so important because in Friisberg we all share the same values and ethos. Our shared philosophy is to have consultants in our local markets, but with the ability to serve global clients as necessary. As a result, local office culture is vibrant but all consultants feel connected with their peers.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in management consultancy and or executive search?

Before turning to executive search, I suggest gaining experience in different sectors and in different corporate positions. Accumulating experience, getting to know people and building good contacts is vital to creating a credible network. Knowing yourself is important too - you will spend a lot of time communicating with people from all walks of life and you need to feel confident in your own skin.

What qualities do you look for in a new consultant when joining Friisberg in Lithuania?

You must be resilient, so positivity is essential; never giving up is such a great attribute. I also admire openness and curiosity – you must always be interested in and enjoy meeting new people as well as having the intellectual rigour to learn about new businesses and sectors. We are a people business, so emotional competence is essential; being sensitive to candidates and clients makes a great consultant.

What has been the biggest change in Management Consultancy and Executive Search over the last 10 years?

The biggest change is the impact of the Internet and social media. I started working in executive search at the same time as the internet’s early development so I had to work much more with the sourcing of candidates through contacts. The evolution of the Internet, LinkedIn, and other search process tools have significantly speeded up the search process, especially for sourcing diverse candidates, and our clients expect results quickly, and without any compromise in quality. Of course human contact is essential from start to end and will always remain the most valuable part of any Search process.

Over the years, long-term relationships have become more and more stimulating. For example, being able to work with a client for over 15-years has been fantastic, and it is a privilege to share their ups and downs.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you are not working hard?

I think of myself as the child of nature. I grew up in a village, on a forest farm, and I love gardening, canoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking – basically, I love being close to nature.

Nijole Kelpsaite
Managing Partner, Lithuania.


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