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Second-Career Entrepreneur Achieves #100 on List, Heading Senior-Level Executive Search Firm Following her first 20-year entrepreneurial career as a successful public relations agency owner, Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire has achieved Number 100 on this year’s List with her second career company, a senior-level retained executive search firm, called Berkhemer/Clayton, Inc., in downtown Los Angeles. Just over three years ago, Berkhemer-Credaire launched her second-career entrepreneurial venture by bringing together multi-ethnic partners, including men and women, minorities and non-minorities. As is the dream of most entrepreneurs, she sold her original PR firm in 1989 to one of the world’s largest agencies. Also as with most acquisitions, she stayed on for five years as president, working for the new owners. Then it was Rebuild LA and the Los Angeles Riots in April, 1992, that inspired her to start her new enterprise–confident that a retained executive search firm, with special skills in senior-level diversity search, could provide innovative service to corporate client companies. Today at age 50, Berkhemer-Credaire already has the momentum rolling for her next 20-year career. Together with her four partners, plus four full-time and three part-time staff, Berkhemer/Clayton helps companies find talented executives at the rank of vice president or above, in the functional areas of marketing, communications, information systems, finance, legal or human resources–plus directorships for corporate boards, especially boards seeking women and minority directors. For every search assignment handled, Berkhemer/Clayton seeks out and presents the best qualified candidates in the country, including men and women who are ethnically diverse. Berkhemer/Clayton helps corporations achieve greater diversity in upper management by finding the best qualified senior-level executives regardless of gender or ethnic heritage. “Entrepreneurism as a career path is best for people who do not lie awake worrying at night,” explains Berkhemer-Credaire. “For self-starters with a viable product or service to offer, who enjoy serving clients and customers, owning one’s own business is a great way to make a living. You need to be an optimist, an unswerving positive-thinker, and enjoy working long hours. There’s great personal satisfaction in knowing you are creating jobs for others, providing a service for others, and hopefully making some money in return. “After selling my first company, I was surprised to realize that I truly missed the responsibility and sense of pride that comes with having your name on the door. Now that my partners and I have been successful with our executive search firm, I’m looking forward to the next 20 years of my second career with great enthusiasm,” explains Berkhemer-Credaire. “Even though being an entrepreneur can be frustrating at times, the experience is worth every minute. It’s extremely gratifying.” Berkhemer/Clayton, Inc., is located in historic Union Station, downtown Los Angeles. Principals are Fred Clayton, former partner with Ward Howell executive search; Melba Sanders, formerly with Bill Cosby Enterprises, and Bill Imada of Imada/Wong Communications.

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