What’s unique about our company, and what we’re most proud of, is that we approach it from what our clients need, not what we want to give them,” said Excelerant Co-owner and Partner Elise Bouchner.
Based in Lafayette, La., Excelerant helps executives whose businesses are on the cusp of expansion make sound decisions about the future. The women-owned venture has an extensive client list and is seen as an industry leader in advising companies about how to strengthen operations and reach the next level of growth. Excelerant was founded in 2003 over lunch by Bouchner, an employment lawyer, and Christina Burton Harper, the former head of training for Louisiana-based international jewelry manufacturer Stuller Inc. Its target market is successful companies with 50 employees to 2,000 employees that are concerned about short- and long-term transition issues. According to Bouchner the impetus for creating the business, originally called The Training Source, stemmed from a void she and Harper perceived in the world of corporate training and human resource management.
“As an attorney, I was helping my clients with the legal aspects of labor and growth, but I could see they needed so much more to get where they wanted to be,” Bouchner recalled. In their first meeting, she and Harper sketched the concept for a training and business development firm that would help companies increase performance through better leadership and management.
It didn’t stop there. Over its seven-year trajectory, the company added three more partners, each with expertise in a different area of human resources and organizational development. According to Bouchner, the diversity of skills has helped Excelerant offer long-term, comprehensive services. Phyllis Arceneaux brought nationally recognized executive coaching experience. Health care human resources professional Jennifer Adcock enabled Excelerant to gain traction in hospitals, clinics and medical practices. And Jill Meaux added expertise in designing and evaluating training programs. “Our team has incredible experience in legal, strategic planning, executive coaching, you name it,” said Bouchner. “We even have the ability to place one of our partners as a temporary CEO.”
In 2009, the company invested in a major rebranding project with the help of Louisiana Economic Development’s Small and Emerging Business Development program and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Its rapid growth helped Excelerant win the 2010 Small and Emerging Business Development Client Award, presented annually by LED and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“We’ve had a lot of growth, and now we’re in the discovery phase of what will come next,” said Bouchner. “A lot of organizations are finding that the structure that got them here is not going to be the one that gets them to the next level. We want to show them how.”