Meet Carmen Jeffery

Carmen in a forest doing Yoga

You’d think artists who muck around with paint would find that challenging enough. How about using beeswax and tree resin, and then heating it all up with some pastel pigments mixed in? Well, it’s called encaustic painting and it’s a pastime and passion of Carmen’s. “I work over a hot plate with little pots of different colours,” Carmen describes, “I paint onto birch panels.” She even has an Instagram profile dedicated to her art and has sold or gifted most of her work to others.

Arts and artistry

There’s an artistic curiosity that explains many of Carmen’s interests. In an earlier career, she designed clothing and also worked with wardrobes, props and set decoration in the film industry. She describes these flicks as mostly B films but some featured well-known actors such as Paul Gross, Jackie Burroughs, and even Martin Sheen.

Her prior experience may have contributed to her film interests. “I have a problem with movies,” she confesses. “I’ll watch anything from sci-fi to psychological thrillers and I particularly like odd movies with strange topics.” She usually gravitates to hidden gems rather than big blockbusters. Recommendations? In the miniseries genre she enjoyed Tales of the City, and on the big screen, her favourite is Cloud Atlas, which explores how people’s actions impact others in the past, present, and future.

Carmen also likes to make time to get in a good read. Much like movies, psychological thrillers are a good option. For Carmen, though, historical fiction is a great way to combine a captivating story line with real world events and cultures.

Food and fitness

Health is important to Carmen, and that shows in her cooking and activities. “I’m not a vegetarian,” she explains, “but I prefer plant-based cooking.” She’ll often do power bowls with her family and friends. We’ll set up a buffet table with grains like quinoa or amaranth, some tofu, nuts, mixed vegetables, and toasted coconut where everybody assembles their own creations. Carmen notes, “It’s conversational and it gets people to be adventurous.”

For fitness, Carmen loves yoga, walking and biking around the city. “We live close to a ravine,” she explains, “and that lets us get out, sometimes as a family, we are all-weather people who enjoy a good storm as much as a sunny day.”

f mark multiple colours

Oh, to travel again

Carmen would love to travel if it weren’t for COVID. She spent a lot of time in Indonesia, and especially liked Bali. “And I love Mexico,” she says, “particularly some of the out-of-the-way places.” The big city also holds appeal for Carmen and she’s eager to get back to New York City when things reopen. “I like all parts of it—the shops on the lower east side, the indie culture, but I also like the traditional neighbourhoods and even the exclusive areas. It’s a crazy city.”

Finding search without really searching

So how does an artsy type wind up in executive search? Carmen found it hard to stay in the fashion industry when children came along, because of the travel required. Then she learned aromatherapy, but that also required lugging equipment around to people’s houses which took a toll on her body. “I realized I had to find an office job where I could actually sit down from time to time,” she concluded, and interviewed for a position in executive search. “Maybe if I was good at finding clothes and props and matching to people, I’d be good at finding people and matching to job opportunities?” she mused. She ended up getting the job in 1997 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Though new to Farber, she can already tell that she likes the spirit. “Its collaborative, communicative and everybody really cares about one another. There’s a real effort to break down silos and find client solutions that go beyond just your own bag of tricks.”

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