FARGO, N.D. • Kara Jorvig likes adventure, and to prove it she once jumped out of an airplane with U.S. Navy SEALS.
She also has proven it in other ways, such as opening her own business.
Jorvig founded and is the chief executive officer of Allegro Group, a talent acquisition and leadership consulting firm based in Fargo, N.D.
Long before she started the company, she already possessed some notable traits. A personable disposition and collaborative mindset helped break down barriers, for instance, but early career experiences helped focus her inner drive and develop leadership skills.
She is now helping other businesses to do the same.
Jorvig started interviewing people and observing business models in her first professional roles.
“I observed and I learned and I listened and I wrote down a ton of information because I was very much drawn to it,” she said.
She worked for a company that eventually allowed her to start an entrepreneurial venture under its umbrella. That began her journey to consultant work, and she continued to increase her opportunities that finally led her to form Allegro, a name that means “performed at a brisk pace.”
“I saw an incredible opportunity to support North Dakota businesses and that's really how this all started,” she said.
She leads a team of five. Most are in the Fargo office, but one is in Texas; she hopes to grow that number as the company reaches more clients in other states. Allegro Group is fortunate, she said, because it has grown organically.
“We started this business to support North Dakota businesses, but we're growing nationally because of the work we're doing, because of the networks and the people we're meeting,” she said. “If you do a good job, hopefully organically, your business grows through referrals. That's where we're at right now, which is really exciting. We're doing business not only in North Dakota but on a national basis.”
Jorvig teaches businesses how to build and develop high-performance teams that deliver results. She does this through high-energy workshops, impactful coaching sessions, and interactive business retreats.
The success of any business begins at the top, she said, and so she likes to build relationships with professionals who are in the top 15% of their field and who want to advance.
“It always starts with a face-to-face relationship,” she said, explaining the process of how these relationships often begin. “I'm very passionate about doing business where we have an alignment of values and belief systems, around people and leadership teams with a high-performance culture.”
She teaches them how to attract and assemble their own teams, and how to grow them into high-caliber employees.
“My focus is spending time with businesses getting their teams in place,” she said. “Once you have all the right people, now you have to align them and you have to activate them with inspiration and energy and development opportunities.”
One way she keeps them inspired is by inviting them on business retreats, which are an important part of her model, because they serve as a way to help clients get back to the basics while pushing to the next level. “Sometimes people need rest. Sometimes people need clarity. Sometimes people need a boot camp to get them fired back up and refueled and rebooted,” she said.
The company offers corporate business retreats, but also “experiential learning opportunities for individual leaders.” The pandemic has temporarily altered the way retreats are held these days; instead of traveling to the warmer climes of Arizona or California, for instance, events are now more localized.
“These experiences are meant to provide all of that for leaders that are truly invested in growth and change, and we try to accelerate that by doing high-energy workshops or a couple of days of immersion experiences. … It's a ton of fun, and when I have personally invested in these, which I have many times in my career, it's been life-changing for me. I come back better, not only a better leader but a better human being. … I love that work and I can't wait to get to some of that going again as we get closer to 2021. … We're still going to offer them and that's probably what I'm most excited about right now -- some of the experiences that we're providing leaders, because they're game-changers.”
Conversations with executives have taught her that a common denominator with clients is they believe their own people and their specific services are the differentiator in the marketplace. As it should be, she said. But how do you make individuals better leaders?
“I think the clients we're working with are really figuring out ways to better invest in their leaders, how to better engage them,” she said. “They want to invest in their people because they are the differentiator.”
Many executives often look for hybrid leaders, “meaning they're big-picture thinkers” but not afraid to tackle day-to-day tasks. “There's a lot of value in that competency, being able to contribute to strategy but also shift back down to the tactical side of the business. I would say from a competency standpoint, that would be one area of focus in which we do a lot of work.”
Allegro is poised for growth, even with a pandemic raging outside the office, and its focus remains on serving clients. More virtual meetings are being held these days than there used to be, but that’s a necessity of the times. Jorvig still tries to get in front of people whenever she can and looks forward to being able to do more of that in the future.
In the meantime, she continues to pursue growth opportunities in her personal life and her business, and continues to tap those businesses that also are seeking to develop.
Success doesn’t happen overnight – something Jorvig knows firsthand – and often not without some growing pains.
“I truly believe the only way you can grow is through change,” she said, noting that the pandemic has certainly “forced all of us into change.”
“I want to explore things that push me out of my comfort zone,” she continued. “I grew up in a small town in North Dakota, and there were a lot of things I didn't do early in my life because I was scared. I was afraid of being uncomfortable. Now I seek those things because I'm trying to challenge and grow myself, and I think our clients value that we take them on that adventure with us.”
Andrew Weeks may be reached at 701-780-1276 or firstname.lastname@example.org