Douglas Brown: Pioneering Halo Consulting Amidst Adversity

Transforming Job Loss into Entrepreneurial Triumph!

The year 2020 will forever be etched in history as a time of upheaval, uncertainty, and, for many, unexpected challenges. As the world grappled with the relentless onslaught of the Covid-19 crisis, many found their lives taking an unforeseen turn. Douglas Brown, a professional in the field of executive search, was one such individual.

In the early months of 2020, Douglas’s life took an exciting turn as he anticipated leveraging his strong foundation in executive search. The year began with promise, but it soon unraveled as he lost his job due to the pandemic’s devastating impact. It was a jarring blow, one that could have left many disheartened and adrift.

However, Douglas chose a different path. Instead of succumbing to the uncertainty, he took a few days to unplug and contemplate his next steps. His discussions with his fiancé led to a momentous decision – the birth of **Halo Consulting**. Remarkably, he didn’t dwell on his job loss; instead, he saw it as an opportunity to create something extraordinary. In April 2020, Halo Consulting became a reality.

Douglas’s decision to launch a bootstrapped start-up in the midst of a global pandemic was audacious, to say the least. He recognized that failure wasn’t an option, and he was willing to stake it all on his entrepreneurial vision. The risks were abundant, and uncertainty loomed large in every corner of the economy. 

In the words of German-American billionaire entrepreneur and investor, Peter Thiel, “Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.” It’s a quote that resonates deeply with Douglas. He describes himself with a single word: “courageous.” It was this courage that led him to take a leap of faith into entrepreneurship during the darkest and most uncertain of times.

Douglas’s unwavering determination and brave approach to adversity have paid off. He now holds the title of Co-Founder and CEO of a flourishing company. Beyond the triumph of his entrepreneurial journey, he has achieved a goal he shared with colleagues early in his career – owning and running his own business. 

Douglas Brown’s story is not just one of resilience; it’s a testament to the transformative power of courage in the face of adversity. Halo Consulting is not just a business venture; it’s a testament to the indomitable spirit of its founder.

Below are the highlights of the interview!

Championing Diversity in Executive Search

Halo Consulting, LLC is a certified minority-owned boutique search firm based in Chicago, Illinois, with a unique approach to executive recruitment. They seamlessly blend the process-oriented best practices of a global retained executive search firm with a fee model that poses no risk to early-stage and high-growth startups, ensuring their crucial hires have a transformative “Halo Effect” on the entire organization.

Halo Consulting’s journey began when founder Douglas received a call from a family friend looking for a Vice President of Finance for a Chicago-based Professional Services firm. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of an exciting venture.

Since its inception, Halo has experienced remarkable growth, now employing eight full-time professionals. The firm specializes in partnering with high-growth startups and pre-IPO technology companies, primarily focusing on Go-To-Market, HR, and Product functions at the emerging leader level and above.

Diversity is at the heart of Halo’s approach, considering every search as a “diversity search.” In 2021, a significant 44 percent of the firm’s placements were women or people of color, a remarkable increase from one-third in 2020. Halo adopts a consultative approach with a strong diversity focus, leveraging a nationwide network of DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) executives and experts. These experts often serve as panel speakers for virtual roundtable events, providing valuable insights and referrals.

Halo Consulting hosts monthly virtual roundtable events featuring a diverse set of executives who discuss trending topics within their respective industries. Douglas and his team also initiated “The Halo Series” in early August 2022, presenting insightful conversations with Thought Leaders in a 1:1 setting. These discussions delve into trending topics and industry insights, unveiling the concerns and challenges that keep executives awake in an ever-evolving market.

In addition to their work in executive search, Halo Consulting has extended its reach through “Halo International,” a Serbian-based development firm founded in the summer of 2022. Halo International provides offshore resources to technology clients in the U.S., exemplifying Halo’s commitment to supporting and mentoring their employees while positively impacting the search industry.

Douglas and his business partner, Patrick Bulmer, have collaborated with individuals who are now key members of the Halo team, like the Executive Director of Halo International, Milica Rogic, and Halo Partner Kyle Whitney. Their success stories highlight the firm’s dedication to fostering talent and recognizing the potential of search professionals, leading to promotions and growth within the organization.

Embracing Challenges and Fostering Success

Douglas Brown embarked on his career journey in January 2014 when he joined Delta Technical Solutions, a small boutique recruiting firm. It was during his time with this company that he was formally introduced to the world of executive search. While working at Delta Technical Solutions, Douglas discovered his passion for helping others and making a meaningful impact on their professional and personal lives.

Later, during his tenure at Jobplex, Douglas assumed a significant role as the leader of the Microsoft Software & Systems Academy. This program acted as an IT boot camp designed to support transitioning military veterans. Douglas and his team went above and beyond to assist these veterans in various aspects of their job search, including resume writing, interview preparation, and salary negotiations. Through his involvement with the program, Douglas had the privilege of working closely with numerous dedicated individuals who had served their country.

In his view, challenges are an inherent part of daily life, something everyone encounters. Douglas’s most valuable lesson from his professional journey is the importance of perseverance and consistency. He firmly believes that simply “showing up” day after day is the key to success and that everything else will naturally fall into place.

As the Founder of Halo Consulting, Douglas acknowledges that the challenges they face today are different from what they were 18 months ago. For aspiring and existing entrepreneurs, he emphasizes the significance of staying present and engaged, enabling them to focus on their vision while blocking out external distractions and noise.

One of Douglas’s proudest achievements is founding his company at the outset of the pandemic. Halo Consulting is recognized as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), a testament to his dedication and commitment.

Throughout his career in executive search, Douglas has adhered to the goal of getting “1 percent better every day.” Despite the ups and downs of his entrepreneurial journey, he continues to show up, ready to face each challenge one step at a time. In a dynamic and ever-changing business landscape that demands agility and adaptability to market conditions, Douglas eagerly anticipates the next 12 months with a forward-looking perspective.

Professional Growth and DEI Initiatives

Douglas Brown is a hands-on servant leader, shouldering numerous responsibilities that come with running a business. His primary focus is to create an environment where his team can thrive both professionally and personally. Additionally, he is deeply committed to advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives through thought leadership.

Douglas follows a well-established routine on weekday mornings. He’s an early riser, with his alarm clock ringing at 4:30 a.m. He begins his day with a gym session alongside his fiancé and settles at his desk by 7 a.m. This disciplined routine ensures he operates at his peak performance each day.

Work-life balance is of paramount importance to Douglas, as it is essential for keeping his team and himself motivated. Despite the external appearance of being a workaholic, he dedicates time to his hobbies, including golf, reading, cooking, traveling, and quality time with his family. Douglas firmly believes that motivation is an intrinsic quality, having been self-motivated throughout his career, and naturally inclined to work hard and invest time into his pursuits.

When it comes to Halo Consulting’s employees, Douglas has a comprehensive approach to ensure their well-being and growth. He has outlined a four-pronged strategy to motivate his team:

  • Leading by Example: Douglas personally demonstrates Halo’s core values daily, setting a compelling example for his employees.
  • Putting Employees in a Position to Succeed: This has always been a top priority for the executive team at Halo.
  • Coaching and Mentoring: According to Douglas, coaching and mentoring are vital for fostering accelerated individual development.
  • Sedulous Work Ethic: The team embraces qualities like tenacity, persistence, and grit. They set high standards for themselves and consider failure to meet their potential as non-negotiable.

Despite leading a firm on the brink of explosive growth, Douglas doesn’t subscribe to a single, fixed definition of success. He believes that success is multifaceted. It means showing up each day and executing the game plan. It’s about driving a positive impact for their organization, assisting others, and making a valuable contribution to their local community. For Douglas, success encompasses a broad spectrum of achievements and contributions.

Aspiring for Excellence

Halo Consulting is brimming with ambition, always striving to better themselves each day. Douglas Brown, the driving force behind the company, envisions Halo Consulting as the premier executive search firm. The company’s ascent to this esteemed position will be guided by its unwavering commitment to core values, a sharp focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and adherence to sound principles that Douglas and his dedicated team infuse into the organization.

Douglas has a personal aspiration as well – to emerge as a trusted advisor and thought leader in the executive search industry. This goal embodies his commitment to continuous growth and his vision to lead not only his organization but also to make a lasting impact on the industry itself. Douglas’s ambitions mirror those of Halo Consulting, driven by a relentless pursuit of improvement, and a desire to be the best in all aspects of their endeavors.

Entrepreneurial Wisdom from Douglas Brown

In his journey as an entrepreneur, Douglas Brown offers valuable insights to aspiring business owners. Drawing from his own experiences, he shares four key points that have been pivotal to his entrepreneurial success:

  1. Seize the Moment: Douglas emphasizes that there’s never a perfect time to start a business. He speaks from experience, having founded Halo Consulting at the onset of the pandemic. Despite the challenging circumstances, the company has thrived and continues to grow.


  1. Consistency is Key: Douglas’s second point centers around the mantra, “Keep showing up, and everything will take care of itself.” This approach has led to the launch of Halo International and “The Halo Series” on YouTube, showcasing the power of unwavering dedication.


  1. Embrace Discomfort: Douglas encourages entrepreneurs to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Growth, he believes, stems from stepping outside one’s comfort zone. Feeling a degree of embarrassment from one’s work over the past year can be a sign of significant personal and professional growth.


  1. Insist on the Highest Standards: Douglas highlights Halo’s core value of setting high standards. He emphasizes the importance of consistently raising the bar internally and externally, pushing both teammates and clients to deliver the highest quality. At Halo Consulting, they don’t wait for standards to be dictated; they take the initiative to establish and uphold them while remaining receptive to feedback and adaptation.

Douglas’s entrepreneurial journey, guided by these principles, serves as a testament to the potential for growth and success when these valuable insights are put into practice.