10 Years Of Vanderbloemen: The Foundation & Future
By: Vanderbloemen August 24, 2020
During an internal Lunch and Learn in January of Vanderbloemen's 10th year, CEO and Founder, William Vanderbloemen, shared the ins and outs of how the company started. The foundation for Vanderbloemen was established well before its founding in 2010. During that time, there weren’t many companies that could help churches find and hire their key staff.
William was able to recognize that problem and he created a company to solve it.
One of our Vanderbloemen Differences is "the world is noticing." From the staff culture that has been established over the years, to the way we serve our clients, we're dedicated to living out our Christian values. The history of Vanderbloemen highlights how we've stayed true to these values from the foundation of Vanderbloemen through our plans for the future.
Here’s an inside look at the journey of Vanderbloemen.
Growing up in a Presbyterian church and acquiring over 15 years of ministry experience as a Senior Pastor gave William Vanderbloemen valuable experience in ministry. William also worked in the oil and gas industry, where he was able to witness the successful succession of the company’s CEO and the revolutionary impact it made on the company's health. The CEO was with the company for nine years. When he retired, the company hired a search consultant for the search, and within 90 days, there was a CEO hired who was there for ten years. So, ultimately, for 20 years, that company had uninterrupted leadership.
This was a profound revelation for William because when he was previously hired as a Pastor at the Presbyterian church, they had searched for their new Pastor for a few years before he was hired. Then, after five and a half years, William left, and it took them a few years to hire their next pastor. So, after sitting back and observing this, William began asking, “Why does the business world have a better solution of succession and hiring than the bride of Jesus?” That's what prompted him to begin thinking of ways to do that.
William and his wife, Adrienne, decided to pursue a new business idea in an effort to fill the gap and be an answer to a need that even churches did not fully understand. Not many truly understood the need for a Christian search company at the time, but William persevered. His solution was based on creating a culture, industry, and customer base that didn’t even exist at the time, so he was certainly facing an uphill battle.
As time went on, William knew he was called to ministry, but he couldn’t deny his entrepreneurial spirit. He discovered the need for this type of work for churches, yet he didn’t want to start any searches on his own without experience and extensive training from someone who knew the process from start to finish and had executed successful searches in the business world. William met someone who was involved in healthcare search and had a desire to do so in the Christian space. He offered to teach William the right way to do a search.
The Beginning of Vanderbloemen
William dedicated his time to learning from him while also starting something for church searches. By the end of 2009, 15 months after beginning his training, the ministry division William was building was outgrossing his faith-based partner's healthcare division. The first church to show interest ended up signing the contract before even having an in-person meeting. A few weeks later, Friday came around, and William received another phone call about another contract.
After business began to pick up, they knew they needed to expand their team and hire others to help. Growth happened quickly and in every direction without a whole lot of system. Vanderbloemen was taking on everything from searches for a videographer role to pastoral roles with highly specific requirements. Over time, they realized the need for organization and structure, so they finally decided to invest in a project management system and CRM, a way to keep track of customers and business deals.
Due to the common perspective of churches at the time, William had to convince church leaders that it was ok to use a search firm. Then, William started a blog after finding an article that referred to blogging and thought leadership as email 2.0. Over time, more people were hired to help with churches, and in 2012, Vanderbloemen moved to an office building in Houston and began requiring team members to live in Houston and office together. As the new company was learning its way and systems, being together for collaboration was paramount. As a result the quantity and quality of work at Vanderbloemen grew geometrically.
The Growth of Vanderbloemen
2013 became a pivotal year for the company. On the heels of a whole lot of growth, William realized it was time to focus on quality control, delivery of an excellent service, and ultimately the need to build a scalable, repeatable plan and process for that to perpetuate future success.
Fast forward to 2015 when William published a book, Next: Pastoral Succession That Works, to share his experience around this topic with a wider audience. An updated and expanded edition of the book was released this spring. This prompted the Vanderbloemen team to commit to learning all of the details of successful and effective succession consulting.
William valued a work hard, play hard culture, leading the company to win the award for “Best Places to Work” in 2017. The survey consisted of questions like, “Pick three words that describe the culture of your workplace.” Two-thirds of everyone at Vanderbloemen chose the word “fun” as one of their three descriptors. Through this survey, William realized having fun at work is good, but “fun” isn’t scalable or productive for the long-term health and success of the firm. So, the rest of the year was spent determining how to scale it for the future and how the company could grow over time while maintaining award-winning culture in order to motivate and retain the staff that had brought the company to this point.
Major Changes and Moving Forward
In 2018 Vanderbloemen made a few changes with new systems, offices, and additional staff. This was a year that reminded them to pivot up when necessary and shoot for the moon. The leadership team reached a point of streamlining how searches operate from beginning to end to create consistency and efficiency.
From the outside looking in, Vanderbloemen may seem like an overnight success, but it’s actually been an eighteen-year success. A long time ago, God opened doors that allowed William to see a lot of churches and create a company that loves the whole church and places it together at the right time.
Vanderbloemen's Newest Chapter: ChristianTeams
After spending the past 10 years improving our executive search process, we realized there's still a need for a solid staffing process for employees who are not at the top of the organizational chart, but are critical to overall success. To address this gap, we're thrilled to introduce ChristianTeams, Vanderbloemen's new sister company, aimed at serving Christian organizations by recruiting and staffing key middle and lower-level positions.
Because ChristianTeams is powered by Vanderbloemen, clients will receive the same wow-making excellence and ridiculous responsiveness but through a virtual process we've tailor-made for support level roles at Christian organizations.
As Vanderbloemen hits it's 10th anniversary and launches this new endeavor, William shares "As Vanderbloemen and ChristianTeams continue to grow and advance the kingdom of Christ by offering a high-quality service, I'm confident that when it’s all said and done and we face Jesus, he’ll say 'you know what, the bride of Jesus has a better solution than the business world.' It’s not perfect, but the purpose, vision, and mission of Vanderbloemen has helped serve His kingdom."
We'd love to talk with you about how ChristianTeams can serve your organization and help you build your best team. Connect with us.