CIC Client White Rhino Partners is an executive search firm. As the name might suggest, this is not an ordinary recruiting practice. To begin to understand why, it’s necessary to first understand a few things about its founder and sole employee, Dr. Al Chase (aka “The White Rhino”).
Ask Al how he got the nickname The White Rhino and he may say you have to see for yourself by joining him for a few Fenway Franks at the next home Sox game. Be it at Fenway Park or on the tennis court, you’ll see a guy who charges full bore at life with gusto and good cheer.
I once played tennis with Al, he went airborne for a ball and ended up with a cracked rib. Anyone who ends up horizontal to the ground diving after a tennis ball knows he is running the risk of breaking a rib. If you’re Al’s size, it’s a given – but he did it anyway. What made the whole thing so memorable was how much fun Al had in that moment. And despite a broken rib, he insisted we finish the set.
I’ve known Al for about 10 years and he’s been a great friend and mentor throughout. For nearly 25 years, he was involved with a variety of Christian ministries in places as diverse as the mountains of Haiti, the beltway of D.C. and the Seacoast of New Hampshire, before what seemed to be a 180 degree career shift into the world of recruiting. However, if you spend five minutes talking business and life with Al, you’ll see how similar his two “careers” are to one another. It’s the personal connections that Al naturally makes with people that are unique. He is a Renaissance man whose interests and curiosities seem limitless. Be it Dostoevsky or Big Papi, Les Miserables or Haitian cooking, Al’s guaranteed to have something in common with everyone – and he finds joy in spending time with people and discovering the many qualities and interests that they share. He introduced me to CIC’s CEO Tim Rowe in 1999, and that connection shaped the last 10 years of my life.
Al’s firm, White Rhino Partners, specializes in placing senior executives who are not only entrepreneurial leaders, but also extraordinary people in their own right. In recent years, the firm has focused particularly on men and women who have had a distinguished career in the US armed services and who hold degrees from b-schools schools and universities. He has discovered that this group of candidates has a special magic.
Much of White Rhino Partners’ success in recruiting derives from Al’s inexhaustible network of peers, and his joy in mentorship. He serves, for instance, as advisor and mentor to the Armed Forces Alumni Association at Harvard Business School and to the veterans’ group at Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Earlier this year, the leadership of Leader to Leader Institute asked Al to add his voice and experience to theirs in offering career coaching and executive placement services to retiring general officers.
Al’s list of clients ranges from CIC-based start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. If you’d like to learn a bit more about Al and White Rhino Partners, I encourage you to spend a few minutes on his blog, where you’ll get a sense of his diverse interests. The man who stands behind the White Rhino moniker can be found amidst the piles of books and Red Sox paraphernalia in his office space in the Superbay on the 14th floor.
One of the things that Al does that a number of CIC clients have become involved in is a gathering he hosts called The White Rhino Intersection. Version 2.0 of this gathering will be held in a couple of weeks. It is an encore to a gathering he held at CIC earlier this year for about 60 people. Intersection 1.0 involved plenary sessions interacting with speakers, breakout discussion groups and the integration of dance and music to illustrate themes around collaboration.
This follow-up event will take place on Saturday and Sunday, November 14 and 15 at Microsoft’s offices across the street from CIC at 1 Memorial Drive. Registration is open to anyone within the CIC community. To learn more about The White Rhino Intersection 2.0, visit the event website or contact Al directly at 617-401-2113 / email@example.com.