DSML is an executive search recruitment firm with offices in Chicago and Boston. The firm specializes in recruiting for European subsidiaries in the USA Chicago. This month, we interview Dana Sutan, Executive Recruiter, to share more about how the DSML partners with clients and candidates to allow for successful expansions of European businesses into the US and how we navigate the subtleties that come with cross-cultural business expansion.
Q: Can you share a little about yourself? What is your professional background?
A: I went to university in France. I studied German — I genuinely loved the language — but yes, I studied German in France. I realized my passion for language, but I didn’t want to be a teacher or interpreter. So I redirected my education path to pursue a Master’s in Event Planning and Marketing. Shortly after that, I moved to New York for my first job at a very well-known PR agency. During my tenure there, the biggest client was the country of Tanzania, which allowed me to work closely with CNN to produce a commercial promoting the country as a tourism destination.
Unfortunately, I had to return to France, as my visa only allowed me to stay in the US for two years. But, my experience in New York garnered a lot of interest for me professionally, leading me to become PR Manager at EMLYON Business School. There, I was responsible for the School’s strategic public relations plan and for planning the annual World Entrepreneurship Forum, gathering 125 entrepreneurs from over 75 countries all around the globe.
In 2010 I decided to relocate to Chicago. I continued working for EMLYON for a few months while I pursued an M.A. in Public Relations & Advertising at DePaul University. I absolutely loved the hands-on nature of the American education system; it was so different from the French system. It allows students to actually know what to expect from a career.
After receiving my Master’s, DePaul University hired me as the PR Manager for the university’ Irwin W. Steans Center. I later joined a well-established company, International Management Solutions, that helps European companies come and settle in the United States on a financial and tax front, as their Communication and Marketing Manager. As COVID arose, the role focused a lot on crisis communication. In January of 2022, I joined DSML Executive Search.
Q: How did you come to DSML?
In 2021, Myriam Le Cannellier, co-founder of DSML, contacted me through LinkedIn. She had seen my experience and believed I’d be a good fit at her company.
We discussed DSML and the role more. She knew that I had no experience in HR, specifically. But I had spent all my professional life communicating and dealing with different kinds of people and different kinds of audiences, from that of a university newsletter to the president or ambassador of Tanzania. My ability and comfort in talking to anyone made me confident that I could be a good fit.
Q: What is your current role at DSML? How do you spend your days?
I joined DSML officially in January 2022 as an Executive Recruiter. I do everything from candidate sourcing to participating in client kickoff calls. I especially enjoy the kickoff calls, because I love meeting new clients and being able to engage on a strategic level of thinking as to how we will fulfill this search. I love business strategy and strategizing in general.
Q: What is the culture at DSML like?
We have a flat hierarchy, which really allows us to come together as a team to make sure that we make the right match for our clients. I and another recruiter, like Ricarda or Amandine, might be working on the same search at any given time to make sure that no potential client-candidate combination is passed over. I’ve never worked at a company where people are so willing to share knowledge and help each other to support any one of us to succeed. At the end of the day, it’s the success of the team as a whole and not the success of one only individual.
Q: What are the core values of DSML?
A: We have core values that apply to different categories: ourselves, our clients, and our candidates. If we start with our team, our core value would be trust. As a CEO Executive search firm Chicago, we have an office where we meet regularly, both with clients and amongst ourselves, but our team is largely remote. This has led to a culture of trust that we will work as a team and succeed as a team. Additionally, because we are all contributing to every search, there is always transparency around progress and challenges. This allows us to problem-solve together and collaborate.
The second category would be with our clients. Again, there is a lot of trust. We’re committed to providing clients with a service that is unique. Having a team that consists of all members with European backgrounds — and who have worked in Europe — allows us to truly grasp the subtleties of the challenges that European companies expanding into the US are facing. These are not subtleties that are known just by visiting a country; they often emerge explicitly in the work environment. This is why DSML’s niche matters so much: we help bridge that gap. And that’s representative of our other priority with clients: education. We are committed to educating our clients in a way that is truly helpful to them but also lets them avoid the most common mistakes in hiring and retaining executive-level talent in executive search recruitment. That includes clarifying as many of those subtleties as possible to make expansion successful for these European companies.
The third category to which we apply our values is our candidates. For many executive recruiting firms, candidates sadly hold the least weight or come last on the totem pole. But at DSML, we are committed to finding the right match for our executive-level candidates as well as our clients. We respect the journey our candidates are on and show that through transparency and frequent communication. We also take it upon ourselves to check in with candidates one, three, and six months after placement, to learn about their experience and make sure we’ve made the right candidate-company match.
DSML is an executive search and recruitment firm in Chicago and Boston that specializes in recruiting for European subsidiaries in the USA. If your business is looking to expand into the US market and seeking executive search services, contact us today.