Carolynne Bruha

Top 40 Under 40 2012

Photography Pedersen

Age: 36

Job Title: Principal,  Conroy Ross Partners

Why She’s Top 40:  She’s a top performer at work, and works to improve the community when she’s away from the office.

Key To Success: “The different angels and coaches I’ve had in my life.”

It’s telling that Carolynne Bruha still lists her sales-clerk and bank-teller jobs on her resum. After all, were she to seek employment other than as the Edmonton team leader for Conroy Ross Partners – a business advisory and executive search firm – it’s doubtful a prospective employer would much care about those starter jobs.

But Bruha sees it a little differently: “When I interview people for jobs at the CEO level, I push them,” she says. “Say they’ve got 30 years in the industry, but their CV starts in 1996, I think: ‘C’mon, where’s the rest of you?'”

She adds, “It’s also hard for me to let go of those experiences because the work ethic I brought to those jobs shaped me.”

That work ethic has seen her post the highest revenue of a principal in all three of Conroy Ross’ markets – Edmonton, Calgary and Regina. She’s placed over 40 executive-level leaders in a variety of industries, including the Edmonton Police Service, where she recruited the current chief, Rod Knecht.

In her first year as a principal, she posted revenues 31 per cent over target. And this year, due to her success, the budget has been raised an additional 50 per cent.

As a self-confessed workaholic, Bruha knows she drives herself pretty hard.

“It’s always been a challenge for me,” she says. So challenging, in fact, that she hired a leadership coach at one point who “pushed me to figure out what’s important in the end.”

Among the important things in her life are the many charities to which she gives or has given her time.

Included are the Immigrant Access Fund that gives micro loans to underemployed new arrivals in Alberta; Birth to Three Society that supports developmentally delayed and impoverished children; and the Winnifred Stewart Association that offers support for adults with developmental disabilities.

“The draw for all these organizations is that they’re supporting people in the community,” says Bruha. “And the fact that Edmonton is so community-oriented is a huge part of why I’m here.”

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