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Friday, May 24, 2024

Thadd Jones

MANAGING PARTNER AND FOUNDER
NEXUS SEARCH PARTNERS
CHARLOTTE

Years spent helping large corporations hire executives also exposed gaps in the process for Thadd Jones, who thought he had a better way. Recruiters would bring in viable candidates but fail to consider the company’s leadership strengths or weaknesses. Other times, a recruiter pitched prospects Jones deemed “recycled candidates,” good people who floated to the top after being runner-up for an earlier position.

“That list was not diverse,” he says. “That list looked like white men who had been contacted for years and had built up their networks for years. I started thinking, maybe my colleagues and peers are looking for something they also couldn’t find.”

In early 2023, Jones launched his Charlotte Nexus Search Partners recruitment firm with five employees. Nexus specializes in helping companies develop talent with a focus on diversity.

“I always knew I wanted to build a purpose-driven company that could really reimagine how executive-level hiring takes place,” he says.

Jones grew up in Okolona, a small north Mississippi town. Jones played basketball for four years at historically Black Tennessee State University. His first job was as a recruiter for retailer Tractor Supply in Nashville, Tennessee, where his wife, Tiffani, was attending medical school. The couple later moved to New Orleans for her medical residency, then headed to Charlotte, where Dr. Jones is an OB-GYN with Novant Health.

From 2014 to 2017 Jones worked at Mooresville-based Lowe’s as director of talent acquisition/inclusion and diversity, then spent four years at Amazon as head of talent acquisition and global diversity. During his tenure, the e-commerce giant added about 1 million employees globally.

A business connection with Red Ventures co-founder Dan Feldstein prompted Jones to join the fast-growing digital marketer in 2021 as chief talent officer. He told CEO Ric Elias of his goal to stay two years, then start his own company.

“I don’t know what MBA you can get that is better than working with someone [like Elias], who’s built a business from nothing into a multi-billion dollar business,” says Jones.

In its first year, Nexus exceeded expectations by completing 10 executive searches, a process that typically takes about 75 days, Jones says. As of January, Nexus had seven searches under contract and is adding three staffers.

“It’s scary. It’s not easy because you’re starting something with an idea, a thesis, but you have to prove it,” Jones says.

One of the first clients for Nexus was Charlotte Pipe & Foundry, which was in search of a new chief human resources officer. Tim Clinkenbeard would fill that role for Charlotte Pipe in October. Says Charlotte Pipe CEO Hooper Hardison, “Nexus’ dedication to thoroughly understanding our company’s culture and industry was instrumental in helping Charlotte Pipe locate a top executive leader like Tim.”

In searches for higher-level executives, it’s important that both the candidate and the client “find out if the destination is really where they both want to be,” Jones says. Spending time with the company is key to understanding its personnel needs.

“We bring them people who are qualified first, and who have diverse backgrounds, which makes that pool really rich,” says Jones. “We think we are onto something that’s unique in the industry.”

Companies want leaders with different points of view, he adds. “If you are one homogenous way of leadership, it’s hard for you to have views that are going to allow you to think about customers who may look different than you over the next five, 20 or 30 years.”

Jones wouldn’t share his company’s financial results. “Nexus is on a journey and that journey does not have a destination, an end point,” he says. “We have a deep commitment to giving back to the community and growing the next generation of great, diverse leaders.”

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