Staff Interview:Preston Boardman

Please introduce yourself.

My name is Preston, I'm half American, half Japanese and largely grew up in the states. My childhood was in Hawaii and after graduating from Loyola University in Chicago, I moved to Japan to launch my career in Tokyo. 

Why Icon?

I joined Icon as an Associate Consultant soon after I graduated. In order to gain real business experience, there were two things I was aiming for. The first was to work with great people, ones that I would be humbled to learn from and would give me the chance to contribute back to the team. The second, I wanted to feel like I was in over my head. By being given the chance to overcome difficult work, the opportunity would allow me to rise to even greater challenges the future is sure to hold. 

Icon is still very much a venture minded company. You can feel it, that people want to grow this place together, not only in terms of size, but by relentlessly refining a culture and an environment that breathes high performance through intimate teamwork. After I met with members of Icon at the time, I knew I wanted to be part of that and fight for something bigger than myself.

What's been the best part?

It's been nothing short of an adventure since joining and I feel like I'm looking at a lifetime when I look back at all that's happened so far. Every little project, idea, process, and milestones of this team comes from all directions in the organization. In my first year, I was given the chance to propose policy changes to do with the new hire training and promotions and it's been adopted that way since. Our recent networking events took off because one of our Consultants took the initiative to do so. The majority of our support tools and platforms were built from scratch from previous employees that had a good handle on tech and is still something maintained and updated today. Even this posting is a side project for one of our Senior Consultants now!

This flexibility to adapt and listen to ideas that have merit is a big factor that makes Icon stand out. During my time here, there's been changes from organizational, policy, management, and a big office move. There's this huge sense of progress because each step has made working here a rewarding journey towards a shared ideal. Icon in the next 2-3 years is going to look completely different and I'm so excited to see where we can take it as a team.

Challenging moments in Icon?

The hardest part comes from one of the greatest joys of working here. All of us here are young spirited and want to do great things. Figuring out a way to channel all of that together and keep meaningful projects or actions alive is not easy. It takes a lot of follow up, managing expectations, and 360 communication. Each day there is a lot to do in order to keep things going, despite that, people go out of their way to lend a hand in big picture items.

We have people with tremendous potential here and it's up to us to create an environment where that potential can come out unhindered and the team is empowered to have complete ownership of their success. It's everyone's responsibility to bring their A-game and 120% every day. We ask a lot from each other but we believe it's the only way to achieve the big goals we've set for ourselves. 

Best moments of your career at Icon?

Too many to pick from. It might be cliche to say but I do love coming to work. The absolute best moments are when I hear the same from others.

My internal motivator and sense of accomplishment is directly tied to believing that I'm making a contribution to others. There's a chance to do that here every day with the team through things such as hiring, event preparation, running training sessions, and driving strategic initiatives. All of it connects not only to the work that we do but how the team grows and matures together. The little steps we've taken along the way has led to a lot of big things to be proud of and it keeps work something to look forward to.

One moment comes to mind when we released an internal satisfaction survey some time before and there were some strong opinions with valid points. We were forced take an honest look and recognize the areas we needed to be better at. The management team hustled on the suggestions for improvement and worked to resolve the issue, communicate changes to the team, and follow through to make sure that the changes would stick. Afterwards, a few of the team members were having lunch together and positive comments about the resolution were shared. The fact we were able to act on an important issue and directly see a positive impact was deeply fulfilling. It was an important reminder to stay humble and hungry for feedback.

What are Icon's plans for the future?

Most important thing is to maintain momentum, keep hiring the right people, and continue to drive full throttle towards our mission to become #1 in SCM Recruitment. We aren't looking to become the biggest recruitment firm in terms of size, but we are going to be the best at what we do. What we've found is that by keeping a group lean and focused, it let's us stay competitive while maintaining our intimate team culture. As our SCM specialist brand develops, we plan to build specialist brands in other functions, essentially creating multiple tribes that each do one thing best under the Icon umbrella. 

I envision the far future of Icon with multiple offices across Japan and offering services beyond contingency recruitment. Above all, myself and the management team will strive to continue providing working environments where people are free to work hard, work smart, be celebrated for their efforts, and rewarded for their results.

It feels like this is just the start and it's a genuine privilege to have the chance to craft the future with everyone here. It's tough work but it's a lot of fun. I'm very much looking forward to where this journey will take us next as we continue to celebrate our victories along the way and I hope future members will feel the same.

For those that are interested in Icon or would simply like to network, I'd love to hear from you through my e-mail or LinkedIn page. Please feel free to take a look through our homepage for further details.


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