HeForShe: David Hunt | Founder & CEO, Hyperion Executive Search

David Hunt

David Hunt is the Founder and CEO of specialist executive search firm Hyperion Executive Search.

Hyperion, which was founded in 2014, specialises in finding mid-senior level talent for businesses in the burgeoning cleantech industry and currently operates from the UK, Germany and the US, where it recently launched.

Hyperion works across multiple cleantech sectors including future mobility, energy storage, renewable energy and smart cities.

It has already worked with a number of US clients including several companies backed by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

David Hunt has been hailed as one of the leading green entrepreneurs by the Financial Times.

Cleantech – clean technology – has experienced a 3,750% growth in the last 7 years as countries race to fulfil net zero commitments.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’ve been in the recruitment and executive search industry for over 25 years. I was brought up in a very ethnically diverse part of London, but now live in Liverpool.

I joined the cleantech world in 2007, and founded my company, Hyperion Executive Search, where I’m currently CEO, in 2014. I lead teams in the UK, Germany and the US.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Not in my early career, I’ll confess. I was always ambitious, and keen to progress, but never focused enough to plan my career until into my 30s.

Of course, now, I fully advocate for planning your career! Most people plan a night out or a holiday with more intent than their careers!

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Absolutely – personal and professional, including challenges with my mental health in my mid 30s.

More recently, starting and growing a business is full of challenges, and, of course, so is building a high performing diverse team.

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What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Aside from my amazing children, building Hyperion Executive Search from scratch to an international brand with team members in 3 countries.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Resilience and mental strength. Things can be tough, and never as expected, so the ability to adapt and keep going goes a very long way. Of course, there have been many people who have helped me along the way too.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Both. I think mentoring is such an under-rated, or under-utilised, activity. Learning from your own mistakes is great, learning from someone else’s is better!

I continue to learn from people who have ‘been there and done that’ in leadership. I also learn and enjoy mentoring those in my team, and, outside of my company, I mentor for a couple of cleantech accelerators too.

What can businesses/government/allies do to help diversity and inclusion?

There is so much that needs to be done. Of course, governments do need to both push for equality at policy level, but also work harder on providing better educational balance and opportunities.

However, I think the biggest responsibility sits with businesses and business owners, to stop hiring in their image and to understand the role of unconscious bias, for example.

It’s about making all businesses a welcoming place for those from any background.

Why do you think it’s important for men to support gender equality in the workplace?

Because often, whether consciously or otherwise, they (we) are the barrier to gender diversity, and typically hold the positions in companies to either continue or break the mould of inequality.

Morally, of course, it’s the right thing to do, but there is so much evidence that diverse teams are better on every level, including for productivity and profitability.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Take control of your career, treat it as an exciting journey and plan it accordingly.

Learn what you need to learn, and don’t forget to enjoy it.

Stop and smell the roses.

Don’t work such long hours (I learnt that one a few years ago!)

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I’m launching a new business in March (part of the Hyperion Group) – that’s the next challenge.

The challenge of making our team more diverse, and those of our clients is ongoing.

Building the company and making a real impact in both cleantech and the future of work agenda.

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