Women of Influence – Special Report featuring Catherine Bell

We are proud to announce that Catherine Bell, Director and Co-Founder of BluEra, has been featured in a Special Report in the Women of Influence magazine.

As a graduate from the Queen’s School of Business Executive MBA program, Catherine shares her experiences and tools that have allowed her to succeed.

View the article


BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

Recognizing Alberta’s Top 65 Employers

As a boutique firm that builds evolved and awakened team, BluEra has the privilege of choosing the companies we work with.  We choose companies that value their employees, find innovative ways to support them, create opportunities for growth and challenge, and understand that a diverse team adds value throughout the organization. The organizations we work with share our values and contribute to the community we live and work in.

We are pleased to announce that many of our clients made Alberta’s Top 65 Employers 2014 list.  Congraulations to all the companies who have created exceptional places to work and continue to be innovative and creative in a competitive job market.

View Alberta’s Top 65 Employer list.


BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

Managing Risk – The Cost of a Bad Hire

The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) is a Global Association of Retained Executive Search and Leadership Consulting firms. As a member, BluEra receives global market trends and research.  A recent article written by Peter Felix, AESC President, points out an alarming statistic with respect to the cost of a bad hire.

“As we seek to emphasize the added value of retained search to clients and persuade them that search is the right way to go, mentioning both risk management and the potential costs of a bad executive hire can strengthen our case.

Raising each of these factors will have strong emotional impact and immediately give pause for thought, and are supported by objective third party research. The US Labor Department and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) estimate that the cost of replacement could be up to five times a bad hire’s annual salary, and inevitably these costs increase at higher executive levels. A CEO bad hire can cost an organization in the millions.

Why? Just think about the elements of compensation and other costs involved. Salary, bonus, severance, benefits – all can add up to staggering sums if the senior executive in question is being terminated because of poor performance or considerations of organizational fit or culture. Here is an example of a bad hire “cost calculator”, courtesy of Epsen Fuller, an AESC member.

Quantifying the real cost of a bad hire, of course, goes far beyond those factors. The impact on morale, performance, productivity, opportunity costs, corporate culture and image can all be severe, let alone the disruptive effect on good employees who may have to work harder to make up for what a bad hire isn’t doing well. Managers who fail, or are negative influencers, harm not just themselves but those reporting to and alongside them. A bad apple easily rots the barrel.

For executive search consultants these concepts of risk and cost are powerful. “Penny wise but pound foolish” is a good motto that serves to highlight that cutting corners can be very short sighted when the appointment in question can have such organizational impact.

Better to take the more cautious and professional route of having a search consultant conduct a thorough market search, due diligence on all candidates presented and a helping hand in decision making. When comparing search fees against the cost of a bad hire the purchasing department should be using different math.

No executive search is perfect but there is a long-established and proven process with retained search that helps to control dangers inherent in recruitment and manage the latent risks that can loom very large if process is mishandled. “Let the professionals handle it for you” is not a bad starting point in discussions with clients.

Best wishes,
Peter Felix



BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

Choosing To Be Awakened

lightning insight border

Featured below is an excerpt from a recent blog by BluEra’s Catherine Bell on the Enneagram in Business website. In the blog, Catherine asks how interested, curious, and awake are you? In the full blog (available hereGinger Lapid-Bogda further explains the idea of choice and that we can choose (or not) awakeness, as well as a wide array of other qualities.

“You’ve met people who are asleep to themselves, to their patterns, to their families, to their friends, to their coworkers and to their communities. What’s the opposite of this? What we’re looking for in ourselves, our employers, our supervisors and mentors, our colleagues, our friends, our relationships, in a candidate, and in our community, is awakened: someone who is alive, ready to be present with us.”

Visit full blog article


BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

Managing the Talent Shortage

In Alberta we are all too familiar with the phrase “Talent Shortage”, we hear it on the news, we read it in the headlines, and amongst the HR community it has become common cocktail banter. The notion of a shortage is accepted, and the idea that it is becoming worse in Alberta appears to also be true. But, do we have a shortage in the first place, and are we doing everything we can to solve it? Those questions were asked by Ottawa based Halogen Software, makers of Strategic Talent Management software, in ‘HR Raging Debates’. They asked eight thought leaders their views and thoughts on the topic. The HR thought leaders weighed in with their opinions, and the article is quite thought provoking and worth the time.

The responses to the question, “Talent Shortage – Really?” are all different, although some share a common thread to what we at BluEra have been experiencing first hand in our day to day recruitment activities. The Talent shortage appears to be accepted and real, but it is not necessarily caused by a lack of people or even a lack of the right skillsets, instead it is being caused by the inability of many organizations to think creatively in order to attract the right people. At BluEra, the candidates we tend to recruit are in the top 10% of performers, we’re always looking for the best, and they are gainfully employed and not necessarily looking to make a move. Our ability to find, engage and sell a fantastic opportunity to these people, and to ensure they are successful is the foundation of our business. In order to do that we’ve had to adapt, think differently, and recruit more creatively than our peers. Dominique Jones, VP Human Resources with Halogen shares our philosophy in her response, “Even though there are reports out there to support the contrary, I really don’t think there is a skills shortage. In fact, I believe there is a great deal of highly skilled talent out there and that the “perceived” shortage is actually the product of what employers are looking for and how flexible they’re willing to be in terms of their hiring requirements and philosophy — and what they’re willing to do to find the talent”.

Our most successful clients are those that welcome thinking outside of the proverbial box with us, they are open to a new era in executive search. Allowing us to recruit from sources otherwise not considered, to use new technology and media in our strategy, and to incorporate integration, team transformation, and coaching into our search activities, our clients have been growing and succeeding in their businesses in new ways.

Don’t be afraid of the headlines; don’t let this talent shortage slow down your business. Instead, embrace the fact that we are fortunate enough to work and live in a thriving, competitive economy and invite BluEra to help you build your team with the right people to reach your goals.


BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

Building a Culture of Innovation

Innovation can be a catalyst for growth, a differentiator, or a method to keep your business from becoming stagnant or out-dated. At BluEra, we invest in the practice of skilfully creating, adopting and bringing to life edgy, original and fresh ideas. Innovation is a core value of our organization, and one that is embedded in our culture—arguably one of the most important drivers of innovation in the workplace. So how do you build a culture of innovation in your organization?

According to Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO, a leading design and innovation consultancy, innovating around your own business is easier said than done. In a conversation with Yale Insights, Brown notes that in order to foster innovation you must create an environment where creativity is not only supported, but risks are actually encouraged, and failure is allowed.

Yet, the most important factor leading to innovation is having an open-mind. Engaging in the world around you with a sense of inquiry and curiosity; and, developing a true sense of empathy for your customer or the people whose problems you are trying to solve.

To watch the video of Tim Brown’s  conversation with Yale Insights please click here.


BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

Coaching Blog

As you know BluEra offers Executive Coaching for Leaders, both new to their role and leaders seeking customized development. A recent Summary research report we reviewed, Executive Coaching for Results from Coach Source outlined 2 key reasons organizations are engaging coaches;

  • 97% of Organizations are using Coaching for Leadership Development and
  • 57% for Executive Presence – described generally as an ability to influence, communicate internally and externally, dress, confidence and boldness.

The research went on to describe how Internal Coaching in organizations is on the increase however it was noted that 80% of Senior Leaders prefer External coaches for reasons of confidentiality, impartial feedback, not tainted by internal politics and more freedom to speak frankly.

Coaching is about asking good questions so here are a few:

What leadership development challenges do you have that would benefit from a focused coaching engagement?

What results could you achieve?

What leaders in your organization would have a much greater impact by developing their presence?

How might their development positively impact the whole team?

Let us know.

The full report will be available soon at executivecoaching4results.com


BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

Ritual in Business


Featured below is an excerpt from a recent blog by BluEra’s Catherine Bell on the Enneagram in Business website. In the blog, Catherine describes some of the rituals she encounters and indeed practices in her daily life. In the full blog (available hereGinger Lapid-Bogda goes on to suggest potential rituals for each of the three centers.

Recently, I attended the graduation ceremony of my niece, and it was ripe with ritual, from the clothing the girls were mandated to wear (white dresses) to the bag piper who piped them into the garden party. Ritual means something that has a pattern, is ceremonial, and has an established way of enabling presence.

After the event I reflected on how ritual is present in my own life and business. A few of my ongoing business rituals include:

Stillness breaks
These can occur during meetings or even during the workday. Have people come together for a few moments of silence and stillness before they go back to their daily work. These breaks seem to deepen people’s ability to be more fully present and engaged and more focused on the work that needs to be done.


Before meetings officially begin, people communicate what is going well and not so well in their lives. It allows people to understand what is going on with one another.

Appreciation practice

At the end of meetings, people reflect on each individual and note verbally something that they appreciate in that person.

These are just a few of the rituals I use when working with teams and within my own team. How do you use ritual in your own work? How does your Enneagram type and instinct affect your affinity, or lack thereof, for ritual? Is it possible to make every moment a ritual?


BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

The Emergence of Mindful Practices in Business

At BluEra, we deliver excellence by building evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and executive coaching.

In this pursuit, we have identified that awakened executives typically possess strong self-awareness, a passionate strategic focus, clear values, and the desire to go “above and beyond”. They are motivators and questioners; they are creative, exhibit trust, and experience joy and harmony.

We can ask ourselves the question: “What are some of the personal and professional practices that lead executives to this awakened state?” The answer may be evident in the extraordinary story of a lawyer in San Francisco.

In the article, Mindfulness in legal practice is going mainstream, we meet Timothy Tosta, a lawyer and cancer survivor who shares with us his personal journey towards becoming a calmer, more compassionate and focused lawyer through the practice of mindfulness.

Mr. Tosta, who in 1991 was diagnosed with Melanoma, discusses his own methods towards transformation and the emergence of contemplative law as a mainstream practice. He discusses how he was able to learn to still his mind through outlets such as yoga, music, and volunteer work within the community, and how mindfulness as a practice is finding its way into the dialogue amongst lawyers.

To read more on Mr. Tosta’s thoughts, perspectives, and contemplations, and to learn about the practice of mindfulness in legal firms, click here.

To learn more about how BluEra team members work towards the attributes of an awakened executive, visit our presence practices page.


BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

BluEra – the homegrown Calgary boutique firm grows roots in Toronto

toronto skyline

BluEra in Toronto?  Yes, it’s true. We are pleased to announce that BluEra also has a home in Toronto at 643 Yonge Street; 2 blocks south of Bloor.

BluEra is beyond executive search. We are a dedicated team and we know that through our work, we are able to evolve and awaken work teams to accomplish their meaningful community, corporate and personal goals. Since 2008, we have built teams, across Canada and the United States.  With a proven track record, and a strong presence in the Calgary market, one of our founding team members – Carolyn Duckworth-  started to look at new opportunities for the firm looking to discover how BluEra could continue to help business teams evolve and awaken.  What impact could we have within a new market , given our strength in building awakened teams?   What would the Canadian landscape look like if we, BluEra, had the opportunity to truly focus efforts and work not only in Calgary, but also in Central Canada?

With a diverse range of industry sectors calling Toronto home,  including financial services, business and professional services, Life Sciences, Information and Communication Technology (among others), BluEra will work with organizations that choose to seek out, and nourish, the most talented people.  Like in Calgary, BluEra will work with organization’s in central Canada who recognize that people who contribute their talents and gifts to the corporate culture and objectives of the organization build a stronger economy, which makes Canada a better place to be.

Statistically speaking, BluEra’s decision to grow in central Canada is supported by the fact that Toronto accounts for 11% of Canada’s GDP and ranks among the top 10 financial centres globally, employing about 229 000 people (CMA) in the financial services sector.  More than 11,500 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies operate in Toronto: 605 manufacturing firms and 10,917 service firms. Of the top 250 Canadian ICT companies listed on the Branham300 (2009), 40% are headquartered in the Toronto region.  The opportunities to be excellent at building evolved and awakened teams in the Toronto area are exciting and a good challenge for the BluEra team. (Statistics source website)

We continue to evolve and awaken.  We stretch ourselves, as individuals, and as an organization every day. We work with clients who stretch themselves to achieve both economic goals, and goals of contributing and helping the communities where we live, work and play. It’s how we work.  It’s what we do.  Grow with us. And please, spread the word about BluEra.

From the BluEra team to your team, welcome to Toronto.  To visit our Toronto office and learn more , connect with Carolyn Duckworth.  647-260-0361,  cduckworth@bluera.ca or on twitter.  You can also visit:  www.bluera.ca 


BluEra builds evolved and awakened teams through executive search, team transformation, and coaching practices.

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