The Business Development Story That Changed Everything for Linda Klein, Jonathan Reckford, and Henning Streubel

Mo asks Linda Klein: Tell us a business development story that you are particularly proud of.

  • Many years ago Linda did a favor for an accountant without sending him a bill. Five years later, the accountant called mainly to thank her and ask if she could help a friend of his.
  • The new client was entering a mature market with lots of competition, but after Linda helped him start and grow his business, within nine months his company was the largest client for Linda’s firm.
  • Linda was able to make a difference in two people’s lives. For the client, she helped him start a business that changed him and his family’s lives, and for the accountant, she impacted him deeply enough for it to come back to her five years later.
  • Linda has developed a business development program by volunteering.
  • Linda doesn’t have a lot of free time, but for her, volunteering and being helpful is fun and enjoyable so the business development benefits come naturally.
  • If you’re curious and read the news about your clients, you will find opportunities to reach out and be helpful. Being involved in your community gives you scale in meeting new people.
  • Find what you like and get involved in that community. There are an infinite number of opportunities to get involved and meet like-minded people.


Mo asks Jonathan Reckford: Tell us a development or growth story that you’re really particularly proud of.

  • Jonathan tells the story of a complex corporate partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Hilty, and how they’ve worked together closely after building a relationship over the years.
  • Each year, the two organizations began to work more closely together and started developing new innovative approaches to achieving their mutual goals.
  • There’s not only funding, but it’s making both parties better. They are achieving their goals as well inside a full strategic partnership which is much more exciting than just a transactional donor relationship.
  • Jonathan’s role was in building trust with the head of the foundation. Without that relationship, the partnership probably wouldn’t exist. It also taught Jonathan a lot about building trust and being direct.


Mo asks Henning Streubel: Tell us a business development story that you are particularly proud of.

  • Henning’s story begins with a rough start where a client CEO read an unflattering internal email about himself that he was never meant to see. Henning went to apologize in person and ended up having a great conversation that turned into an offer to have a second lunch in the future.
  • During the second conversation the client began to open up about the challenges he had been experiencing, and Henning realized that he had gained this CEOs trust.
  • Henning engaged some of his colleagues to help with the challenges the CEO was facing and this created the basis for a larger transformative project with the company. Today, Henning and the CEO are good friends.
  • Henning is most proud about being able to overcome his discomfort with the initial situation and doing the right thing.
  • Growth and comfort can’t coexist. The skills needed to develop a relationship aren’t innate. You can start right away to develop your skills, and it is possible to add value to someone else’s career even when they have more years of experience than you.
  • Henning is always thinking about how to take his professional relationships into a more personal realm because that’s where he can deliver the most value. The challenge is in connecting with people with different personalities and experiences and then helping his team do the same thing.
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