Member Spotlight: Ken Schmitt October 2013 Print
Tuesday, October 01, 2013 01:52 PM

Ken Schmitt, Turning Point Executive Search

Twenty-thirteen marks his 15th year in the executive search and recruiting industry for Ken Schmitt of Turning Point Executive Search. A native of San Diego, Ken prides himself on approaching each recruiting and coaching engagement from a holistic perspective, customizing each search, coaching project or onsite training. Ken has been fostering his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to unsurpassed customer service since age 11, where he was known for selling candy to his schoolmates on the bus each morning.  After several post-college years at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, climbing the ladder in management, Ken left in late 1997 to launch his new career in the recruiting industry. Ten years later, Ken started his own search and coaching firm, building on his reputation as a highly respected Career Management Adviser.

To date, Ken has successfully placed over 200 professionals in positions such as VP Sales & Business Development, CMO, Director of Marketing, Sales Professional, Account Executive, COO, VP Operations, Director of Human Resources, President, Board Member, Supply Chain Director, CFO and Controller.  In 2011, Ken co- launched the Sales Leadership Alliance to support the region’s sales & business development leaders and 2013 marks the launch of the Orange County chapter.  In addition to sitting on the board of the San Diego HR Roundtable and Junior Achievement, he previously served on the board of the San Diego Film Festival and the USD School of Business Alumni Association. Ken is married to his high school “best friend”, now a Marriage & Family Therapist, and she and Ken spend their free time with their two kids, playing at the beach, watching movies and adding to their library of 500 DVDs. We asked Ken about HR in San Diego, SDHR Roundtable, and for his professional insights.

Based on your extensive experience in the field, what single thing can HR professionals do to enhance their value?
I continue to be surprised by how few organizations take the time to analyze their Human Capital data. Whether it is reviewing their “high potentials” and most successful hires to identify a common thread, tracking the source of their new hires in order to build a more effective employee referral program, or assessing their business needs to identify departmental succession planning, HR professionals can elevate their status and relevance by relying on the mass of Big Data to identify specific metrics that will allow the CEO to build a top notch team.

How has the SD HR community changed in the last 15 years?
As the business landscape has continued to expand, so too has the HR function. While there will always be opportunities for improvement, HR professionals have done a much better job of demonstrating their value beyond just the compliance and employee handbook. While the recession derailed this push to the earn seat at the table for a few years, I am seeing more and more CEOs and business owners looking for a true “HR thought partner” as they rebuild their organizations.

Why did you choose to join the Executive Board of SDHR Roundtable?
I have always felt that outside search firms and recruiters should be partnering with the HR community, not avoiding them as is the prevailing “wisdom”. This collaborative approach to working with HR professionals has been the cornerstone of my career, and The SDHR Roundtable follows the same strategy. They are extremely inclusive, collaborative and cutting-edge, educating the HR community and equipping them with the tools and connections to effectively perform their duties. I also commend the Roundtable for its commitment to bringing like-minded professionals together from various industries, company structures and sizes.

What need did SD HR Roundtable fill when it was founded 10+ years ago, and has it grown into that role?
San Diego has always been a city of small-medium sized private companies. As such, the issues faced by the region’s HR professionals are different than what you might find in LA or San Francisco. The Roundtable has done a phenomenal job filling the need to provide San Diego’s HR professionals with access to topics, speakers, expertise and peers that address our unique needs, rather than using a cookie cutter approach to running the organization. Given the Roundtable’s history of reflecting the local business community, I see them solidifying their place as the go- to resource for HR professionals throughout San Diego, focusing on small and mid-sized private and family operated businesses.

Where do you see Human Resources in San Diego going in the next five to ten years?
As more companies emerge from the recession leaner and more efficient, the focus will continue to shift towards retention of key employees, succession planning and hiring the best talent, rather than simply looking to backfill a position with the same skills. I think HR will continue to provide more strategic insight to the CEO, leveraging Big Data and analytics to determine the ideal skill set, the ideal personality and the most effective resource for hiring and training new talent.

As a longtime member of the San Diego HR community, how do you benefit from SDHR Roundtable?
By giving me the opportunity to network, meet fellow Human Capital professionals and learn from the region’s leading experts, being part of this organization allows me to fine tune my business and enhance my productivity.

SDHR Roundtable is looking for new Executive Board members – what type of candidate should apply, or be considered?
Professionals who are looking to make a real difference in the HR community; individuals who have a genuine desire to give back and contribute, rather than sell their particular service; people who don’t take themselves too seriously and who are willing to laugh at themselves and have some fun! Ken invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn at, or visit him on the web at and

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