Bravo!: Cindy Lu Co-founder and president, The Novo Group

When Cindy Lu co-founded and became president of Milwaukee-based Novo Group in 2003, she didn’t just want to create a recruiting service. She wanted to revolutionize the industry.

According to Lu, most recruiters and executive searches charge on a per-hire basis, which can get expensive for the hard-to-fill positions, she said. The Novo Group operates on more of a professional service model, where they charge clients by the hour.

“It enables the client to control their costs by more than half,” she said. “The more responsive a client is in the search, not only will they find more value in their eventual hire, but they will be charged less if they can minimize the time it takes to find a qualified executive.”

The other crucial part of Lu’s success is choosing the right executives to be placed for hire, and most of that comes from identifying the needs of the client before beginning the process.

“A client needs to have a good plan, a sort of analysis of what they need,” she said. “Many times, that means being disciplined and sticking to the mechanics of the hire, and being sure there is a thorough interview process.”

The business model seems to be working for Lu and The Novo Group. They have expanded their operations to offices in Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis, and they are ranked as the largest executive search firm in Wisconsin.

In addition to her professional duties, Lu is a board member for Tempo Milwaukee, and has helped found Gan Bei, an organization of Chinese women in business.

Address: 330 E. Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee


Industry: Recruiting/consulting/executive search

Revenue: $8.8 million

Employees: 55

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