The leader of a communications and coaching practice at Varnum Consulting will leave to start her own firm this fall, taking her teammates with her.
Jennifer Maxson, a relationship manager and practice group leader at Varnum Consulting, a subsidiary of the law firm Varnum, plans to start a firm called Jennifer Maxson & Associates on Sept. 1.
Cindy Smies, Varnum Consulting’s current marketing specialist, said Maxson plans to take the firm’s team of six independently contracted consultants and four full-time staff, including Smies, to the new firm.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
They will relocate to Calvin College’s Prince Conference Center until the group can find a permanent home.
“My relationship with Varnum Consulting has allowed the business to thrive,” Maxson said. “I am overwhelmed by the support from clients and staff to make this move and continue the business in our own capacity.
“For me, the time is just right, and I’ve enjoyed all 14 years here with Varnum. They are fantastic people and a fantastic organization. They have been 200-percent supportive.”
David Khorey, Varnum partner and chair, said Varnum Consulting has been “proud” to have Maxson on the team for a decade and a half.
“We will miss the daily interaction with Jennifer and her team,” he said. “We have no doubt in Jennifer’s ability to take her business to a new level, and we’ll certainly be rooting for their continued success.”
Jennifer Maxson & Associates will offer programs and services to help leaders achieve personal breakthroughs and reach higher levels of performance to drive business growth, influence change and inspire others.
The firm's services will include public programs, executive coaching, custom services and leadership and team assessments.
The new firm’s consultants will guide participants in projecting confidence, communicating with impact, motivating and inspiring others, getting buy-in for change and creating high-performing teams.
“Our clients are in all industries, large and small,” Maxson said. “We always say it’s ‘Michigan and beyond, out to California, throughout the Great Lakes states.’”
Maxson started with Varnum Consulting in 2003, when Varnum Consulting acquired Nancy Skinner & Associates, where she had been working since 1996. Maxson became the leader of Varnum Consulting’s leadership coaching area in 2006.
Under her direction, the group has expanded its services to the current tipping point.
Maxson earned a B.S. in communications and public relations from Grand Valley State University. She holds several accreditations: Wiley Everything DiSC; Hay Group Emotional and Social Competency Inventory; and a Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Facilitator Accreditation.
She has served as a Wolverine Worldwide Family YMCA board chair, a Peter Cook Leadership Academy mentor at the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at GVSU and at the Michigan Women’s Foundation.
Varnum Consulting’s mission is to enhance the credibility of leaders.
It helps clients build leaders "faster" and develop skills for strategic face-to-face communications externally, in sales and marketing, and internally.