Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Iconography of the White Rhino Partners Logo

When I began to think about launching White Rhino Partners, I wanted to create a logo that would exemplify all the elements that I have been told make me unique as an executive recruiter. I also wanted the logo to be a conversation starter when people first encountered it on the back of my business card. I immediately turned to my good friend and protégé, Mark Chamberlain. At the time, Mark was in LA working for Saatchi and Saatchi, designing the new Website for Toyota Camry. So, clearly Mark is someone who as been recognized as an extraordinarily talented and creative graphic artist. Mark and I brainstormed on the telephone, and together we came up with the design you see to the right of this article - a design that we hope captures the feel of a family coat of arms, a military escutcheon, and the whimsical spirit of the White Rhino name.

For those who want to know what the elements signify, here are the basics:

The Legend of The White Rhino

For most of my adult life, close friends have called me by the nickname “The White Rhino.” I was christened with that name during my time living in St. Paul, Minnesota. My first job out of college was running a social service agency in the inner city of St. Paul. In those days, Selby-Dale was a very racially segregated neighborhood, and I would often be the only white person around. My friends said to me, early in my tenure in St. Paul: “Chase, you can’t live and work among us here in this neighborhood and not know how to play ‘ghetto basketball,’ so we are going to teach you to play a basketball game we call ‘Scramble.’

Back in those days, I weighed a few pounds less than I do now, but I was quite competitive and feisty. What I lacked in athleticism, I made up for with aggression on the court. So, it became a matter of habit for me to dribble towards the basketball, and bodies would start flying in all directions. My friends would yell to each other: “Watch out, here comes the White Rhino.” And the nickname stuck.

These days, I don’t play much basketball, but I am still active on the tennis court as often as possible. I still bring to all my athletic pursuits that same sense of subtlety and grace that earned me the sobriquet White Rhino so many years ago!

As I prepared to launch my own executive search firm, it occurred to me that my nickname was also an appropriate symbol for the new company - to stand as a emblem for those things that, as a recruiter, make me a “rare breed”: tenacity, steadfastness, uniqueness, stability. I strive to live up to all of the positive ramifications of the name.

The Shield

Since there is a strong element to my executive search practice of placing within my client companies leaders who have served as military officers, I chose a shield to set a military tone. The implication is that in my approach to recruiting and executive search – I am a shield for my client companies against unethical and slipshod practices and against a flood of unqualified candidates. I am also a shield for my candidates against being made to feel dehumanized or devalued as they go through the process of working with me to find the right company where they can make the most positive impact as the next step in their career paths.

The Cross

The cross that separates the shield into four fields is emblematic of my faith as the basis for why I choose to operate as I do as a recruiter and as a businessman. I am unashamedly a follower of Jesus Christ; that is my faith. I feel a strong sense of responsibility for my faith to serve as an ethical foundation for my business practices, but for it not to serve as a divisive force that would prevent me from working harmoniously and productively with those who embrace a different faith – or no faith at all.

The Quill

Many of the candidates who find their way to me would call themselves Renaissance Men and Women. Many of the client companies that engage me to help them to find new members of their staff are led by executives who are Renaissance Men and Women. The quill is emblematic of the scholarship, learning and commitment to excellence of those with whom I choose to work as clients and as candidates.

The Links

I have been blessed to be accepted as a member of many different groups of extraordinary individuals and to live in many different fascinating worlds. It is my access to these disparate links in my networks that allows me to function effectively on behalf of client companies to find the most talented candidates – wherever they may be living and working.

The Globe

Since I first had the opportunity to travel internationally as a young college student, I have seen myself as a citizen of the world. I am proud to be an American, but I also take pride in traveling and building bridges of trust and understanding with those who live in each of the continents. My global reach is beneficial both to my client companies and to my candidates.

The Sword

Since many of my candidates have served with distinction in the military, the sword is a symbol of that element of my practice. Many of those who trust me to guide them in choosing the right job at the right company have served as officers. A significant number are graduates of Service Academies and have gone on to earn graduate degrees from some of the world’s top business schools.

The Motto – Esse Quam Videri

The best translation for the phrase “Esse Quam Videri” would be “To Be, Rather Than To Seem.” There is a dual message inherent in this phrase. As a recruiter, I take pride in being someone who engenders trust in clients and candidates by living up to promises and exceeding expectations. So, it is my desire for the phrase to apply to me and my practices. The phrase applies equally well to the candidates that I present to client companies. They are men and women of integrity who are in practice what they purport to be on their resumes.

We look forward to serving your needs and living up to the high standards implied by the White Rhino Partners logo.


Mark said...

Excellent work Al, and Mark!

I think it's a great logo. In the many, many, years I have know you, I'd say you definitely have embodied all the characteristics this logo represents.

I would have loved to see you play scramble! :)

Tim J. said...

Great logo, Al. Very fitting.

Anonymous said...

Al I love it. I never knew the Rhino side of you, so it is enlightening. Dan Brown would have a field day with the logo...might even make another feature film.

Omnia vincit veritas