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JANE S. HOWZE

Managing Director

As Managing Director and founder of The Alexander Group, Ms. Howze has more than 30 years experience in executive search. She has recruited executives worldwide in banking, energy, manufacturing, legal and professional services. She directs board searches for the firm and is actively involved in the firm’s diversity practice. Ms. Howze is quoted frequently in major business publications, serves as a columnist for CultureMap and is the author of Best Practices for Executive Search Firms for the Inside the Minds book series.

Prior to forming The Alexander Group, she worked for Korn/Ferry International in Houston. Ms. Howze’s other experience includes serving as a commercial loan officer for a leading Texas bank, practicing business law for a major Houston law firm and serving as associate general counsel for a California-based multi-national financial institution. She earned her undergraduate degree from Rhodes College, and her law degree from the University of Houston. She is a member of the State Bars of California and Texas.

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More About JANE


Where are you from?

Birmingham, Alabama. My dad was a banker. We used to drive across town so he could buy gas from one of his customers. We spent more in gas than the customer made from us but my dad was about tending to long term business relationships. I learned well.

What past jobs have you held?

I worked my way through college and law school. During college I worked for Shoney's (now Bob’s Big Boy) where I sported a huge button that said “Ask me about my strawberry pie.” And I was a server in the school cafeteria but got fired for talking too much as I served, and for being too messy loading the food into the dishes.

How did you get into executive search?

I had a previous career as an attorney and it just wasn’t a fit. In 1980, I read an article in Fortune magazine about Korn/Ferry and the other mega search firms and I knew that I had found a career. I just knew. Maybe it was the six marriages I had arranged…maybe it was my keen interest in business. Or maybe I wanted to be like my dad and build relationships.

Describe your strangest interview.

Once I interviewed a human resource executive in St. Louis who confided that he loved snakes and slept with his boa constrictor. Another time, the only candidate I could find for a highly specialized position insisted I come to her home for the interview. While there, her Doberman attacked me and as I looked up at the candidate from my vantage point on the floor, she said “I suppose this means I have to go meet the CEO of your client doesn’t it?”

What impresses you?

Someone with emotional intelligence who can assess what I’m looking for in the interview and responds accordingly. Someone who listens, is prepared and doesn’t take 20 minutes to answer every question. I’m also impressed by people who have had to work to get where they are—people who have encountered challenges and have used those challenges as springboards to the future.