Office: Washington, D.C.

DALE E. JONES

Chief Executive Officer

DALE E. JONES

Chief Executive Officer

Dale E. Jones is the Chief Executive Officer of Diversified Search Group. His responsibilities include oversight and management of the firm and its global CEO Advisory Services.

A native of Dallas, Jones was the son of a shoe cobbler/janitor and a kindergarten teacher; beginning at age 10, young Dale would often join his dad and brother on weekends cleaning office buildings. Advised by a family pastor and influenced by the fact that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King had attended there, Jones enrolled at Atlanta’s Morehouse College. He began his career in banking, before moving into executive search as a managing partner in the Atlanta office of Heidrick & Struggles International in 1999. Always looking for ways to give back, Jones took a hiatus from the search industry in 2007, relocating to Washington, D.C. to lead a philanthropic initiative, endowed by AOL founder Steve Case and his wife, Jean, that was dedicated to providing access to clean water in Africa.

Jones returned to executive search in 2009, rejoining Heidrick & Struggles to serve as Vice Chairman and Partner of the CEO and Board Practice, where he consulted CEOs and corporate boards on human capital issues including recruiting, retention, succession planning, and corporate governance. He also served as one of the firm’s leaders in the Global Communications and Global Consumer Practice, and was later asked to oversee the CEO and Board Practice in the Americas.

In 2013, when founder Judith M. von Seldeneck moved into the role of Chairman at Diversified Search, Jones was named the firm’s new CEO, based in Washington, D.C. His philosophy on great leadership is simple: “I think it is important that leaders have the ability to inspire and motivate people and to lead by example. I think the best leaders have been through some testing in their journey, so that they can really empathize, not only with the people that they lead, but with their customers.”

Jones is a member of several notable national corporate and philanthropic boards, most notably those of Northwestern Mutual, The Special Olympics, and his alma mater, Morehouse College. He is also a Global Board Member of AltoPartners.

CORINA BENITZ

Managing Associate

CORINA BENITZ

Managing Associate

Corina Benitz plays a critical role in identifying and recruiting leaders across the mission-driven sector.

With responsibility for facilitating and executing the search process, Corina works closely with clients and teams to develop unique strategies for each search. She utilizes key resources and best practices to serve her clients.

Corina works with a wide range of clients including the Aspen Institute, Covenant House of Greater Washington, March of Dimes, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU.

Corina has been an essential member of Diversified Search Group since 2018. As a Research Associate at Diversified Search, she specialized in the nonprofit, philanthropy, financial services, and higher education sectors. She then advanced her focus to candidate development as a Vice President in 2019. As a result of the partnership between Koya Partners and Diversified Search Group, Corina moved her practice to Koya where she remains today.

Before entering executive search, Corina began her professional career in fundraising and the arts industry. She worked in development for the Board of Directors of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. There, she was responsible for board management, major gift donor engagement strategy, and planning of fundraising events. Her role included identifying, researching, and profiling of prospective board members and donors.

Prior to her time at the Kennedy Center, Corina worked in client management for several high-profile New York galleries and auction houses, including Christie’s, a global leader in art and luxury sales.

Corina has worked as a ski instructor at Deer Valley Resort in Utah and as a staff member at A Bar A Ranch in Wyoming, one of the oldest guest ranches in the country.

She earned a Certificate in Executive Research from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

Corina was born and raised in London, England. Today she lives in Washington, D.C. and frequently travels internationally to visit her large family.

Corina holds a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Art History and Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Richmond. She spent a year studying History of Art at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

CONTACT

Phone: 540.680.9915

E-Mail: Corina.Benitz@divsearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Science - Business Marketing and Art History

University of Richmond

PRACTICE AREAS

BOARD OF DIRECTORS DEVELOPMENT AND PHILANTHROPY EDUCATION FINANCIAL SERVICES

KELLY KEOUGH

Senior Research Associate

KELLY KEOUGH

Senior Research Associate

Kelly Keough is a Senior Research Associate at Diversified Search Group, joining the firm in 2018. She works primarily in the consumer and retail, energy and natural resources, and industrial sectors.

Keough boasts a deep knowledge of Latin America. She studied in Bolivia and has written extensively on Latin American business, politics, and culture. A native Spanish speaker, she also has broad experience as translator and served as an intern for the America Society/Council of the Americas, where she prepared policy briefs for the senior director as well as providing logistical support and event planning assistance for various programs and forums.

CONTACT

Phone: 646.329.7425

E-Mail: Kelly.Keough@divsearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

EDUCATION

Latin American Studies

University of Chicago

PRACTICE AREAS

CONSUMER AND RETAIL ENERGY INDUSTRIAL

DAVID KUGURU

Managing Director

DAVID KUGURU

Managing Director

David Kuguru is a Managing Director in the Corporate and Technology Practice with Diversified Search Group based in the Washington DC office.

With a 20+ year global career, Kuguru has worked in entrepreneurial startups, the corporate world and strategic consulting. His seasoned experience with global teams includes hiring executives, managing matrix teams, assessing market strategy and partnering with C-level decision-makers in Fortune 500s and global multinationals. Additionally, Kuguru has worked on digital solutions such as IoT Innovation, Mobile Payments and Telco technologies that impact the Future-of-Work and Tech-for-Good. Moreover, he has worked in numerous corporate organizational structures, go-to-market strategies and operating models. The confluence of Kuguru’s industry and advisory experience will provide unique insight and diverse perspective in the search for new strategic leaders in our changing world.

Whether working for or partnering with, Kuguru has experience with 30+ global corporations and institutions such as Sprint/T-Mobile, Dimension Data (NTT), PepsiCo, International Finance Corporation, Arizona State University, Vodafone and the United Nations (UN). He has held prior roles with progressive leadership responsibility including Global Client Partner, Head of Sales, Strategic Advisor and Director. Furthermore, Kuguru has lived and worked in multiple global cities such as Johannesburg, New York and Washington DC.

CONTACT

Phone: 202.313.8316

E-Mail: David.Kuguru@divsearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

EDUCATION

Master of Arts - Liberal Arts

University of Pennsylvania

Masters of Business Administration - Global Economic Development

Eastern University

Master of Science - Biology

Messiah College

PRACTICE AREAS

CONSUMER AND RETAIL DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION (CIO/IT) NONPROFIT AND ARTS & CULTURE TECHNOLOGY

STEVE LEO

Managing Director

STEVE LEO

Managing Director

Stephen Leo is a Managing Director at Storbeck Search, which became part of Diversified Search Group in 2020. A seasoned search professional with more than two decades of experience in higher education executive search, Leo has conducted searches for presidents, vice presidents, senior development officers, deans, and other executives. Leo’s clients include top ranked public and private institutions – ranging from large land grant universities to regional comprehensive institutions to liberal arts colleges. Leo is also an in-demand speaker who regularly addresses issues relating to the future of leadership in higher education nationally and internationally.

Prior to joining Storbeck as a Principal Partner, Leo served as a consultant in the Education Practice at A.T. Kearney for six years, following previous experience as a senior search consultant at an international search firm placing senior executives in a variety of industries—including corporate, academic and not-for-profit—for clients based in both North America and Europe. While living in London, Leo served as Vice President for International Recruiting and Operations for a major international search firm based in Europe. In his career, he has performed more than 400 searches.

Before entering the executive search industry, Leo held several positions at George Washington University, working directly for the president of the University. He is currently active in a number of community organizations in both Virginia and New York.

CONTACT

Phone: 703.635.7373

E-Mail: s.leo@storbecksearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Arts - International Affairs and International Economics

The George Washington University

PRACTICE AREAS

EDUCATION

JASON D. LEÓN, CPA

Managing Director

JASON D. LEÓN, CPA

Managing Director

Jason D. León, MPA, CPA, is Managing Director in Diversified Search Group’s Washington, D.C. office, and specializes in Nonprofit, Board, and CFO Practices. Partnering with clients aligning with Jason’s own philanthropic values has led him to successfully place leaders within organizations sharing similar values. Among those are the March of Dimes, Covenant House of Greater Washington, Martha’s Table, and International Justice Mission. He manages the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, and has placed directors on the boards of Fortune 1000 companies ranging from financial services, to manufacturing, to asset management leaders.

Prior to joining Diversified Search, Jason was the Senior Director of Corporate Relations & Programs for the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), where he was responsible for developing and implementing comprehensive corporate relations strategies for increasing the representation of Hispanic executives in upper management and on the boards of Fortune 500 companies. Jason’s unique expertise in leadership development, governance,  and nonprofit management led to the growth of HACR’s corporate membership and leadership programs designed to enhance corporations’ external and internal diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. Prior to his role at HACR, Jason worked at National Urban Fellows (NUF), a premier leadership development organization and voice of authority on leadership diversity in our country, serving as a Program Manager.

A proud MPA alumnus of NUF, Jason completed his fellowship at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where his public finance expertise contributed to the success of an initiative to advance education, training, and financial analysis in public health finance. As a certified public accountant, Jason started his career serving as senior official – Finance Director and Chief of Administration – for the City of Isabela in Puerto Rico where he successfully led the city’s in overcoming a $7 million deficit and building a skilled finance department and team culture.

CONTACT

Phone: 202.296.0606

E-Mail: Jason.Leon@divsearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

EDUCATION

National Urban Fellows, Alumnus

Master of Public Administration - Philanthropy, Nonprofit Management

Baruch College (CUNY) 

Bachelor of Business Administration

Inter American University of Puerto Rico

PRACTICE AREAS

BOARD OF DIRECTORS DEVELOPMENT AND PHILANTHROPY EDUCATION FINANCIAL OFFICERS PRIVATE EQUITY

ARAGLIN MCBREEN

Senior Research Associate

ARAGLIN MCBREEN

Senior Research Associate

Araglin McBreen is a Senior Research Associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Diversified Search Group, working primarily in the Education, Nonprofit, and Arts and Culture Practice. She joined the firm in 2019.

While completing her undergraduate studies, McBreen began her search career with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). There, she used various recruiting tools to assist with executive level searches for high-profile companies such as WeWork, Microsoft, and Booz Allen Hamilton. In addition, she served as the advisor to the Taylor Bend YMCA Leaders Club, a program which aims to develop the leadership abilities in teens through service to the YMCA and the community.

CONTACT

Phone: 202.296.6676

E-Mail: araglin.mcbreen@divsearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Science - Environmental Biology

Christopher Newport University

PRACTICE AREAS

EDUCATION

DENIELLE PEMBERTON-HEARD, ESQ.

Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer

DENIELLE PEMBERTON-HEARD, ESQ.

Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer

Denielle Pemberton-Heard is the Chief Legal Officer for Diversified Search Group, based in the firm’s Washington, DC office. As CLO and a shareholding Managing Director with Diversified Search Group, Denielle Pemberton-Heard partners with corporations, boards of directors, and not for profit leaders to identify executive level talent for corporate boards and c-suite roles across multiple sectors. She recently served as CEO of STEMconnector, the largest professional services firm committed to increasing the number of STEM-ready workers in the global talent pool and under her leadership STEMconnecter merged with POD, an innovative technology platform that powers STEMconnector and its Million Women Mentors (MWM) initiative. She now serves as a Board Advisor to POD and is a member of the Board of Directors of Skout, a P/E backed cybersecurity firm.

Pemberton-Heard previously spent fifteen years as Group Counsel, Programming and Business Affairs at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the nation’s largest non-commercial media enterprise where she directed work on behalf of PBS and its 300 plus member stations, and led negotiations between and among PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of Education, The Kennedy Center, National Endowment for the Arts, National Science Foundation and others while collaborating with on-air talent, arts and cultural institutions and funders. Before joining PBS, she served as Group Counsel for Thales, Inc. and as Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs at Time Life (TWX), and as a Legal and Business affairs leader at Discovery Communications, Inc. (DISCA) where she supported the production teams as well as corporate philanthropy and community affairs.

Pemberton-Heard began her law career in private practice as a commercial real estate attorney with Wiggin and Dana and was subsequently associated with the New York firm of Cowan Liebowitz and Latman, where she focused on intellectual property litigation and portfolio management. She has published scholarly works in the area of Copyright and Trademark Law and has experience in compliance and Board Governance matters. Pemberton-Heard has a B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University, a Law Degree for Case Western Reserve University, and is an alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

A past Regional Judge for President Obama’s Presidential Commission on White House Fellowships, Pemberton-Heard is committed to emerging leaders, talent pipeline development, community service and corporate social responsibility initiatives. She was a Founder of Level 8- a committed group of women focused on leveling the playing field and providing equal access for Washington, DC youth. She has also served as a Trustee of the Toy Industry of America Foundation; on the Advisory Committee of DCVLP (DC Volunteer Lawyers Program to end domestic violence) and on the Board of Governors of the Case Western School of Law. Pemberton-Heard has lectured on business law as a member of the professional faculty of the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business and has served on panels as a career coach to students at American University.

Pemberton-Heard, who was recently featured as a guest on the Michelle Obama Podcast on Spotify, serves on the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) Diversity Leadership Group and on the Advisory Board of the Women’s Business Collaborative (WBC). With a commitment to service, she is a member of The Links, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta, a public service sorority. She is the proud mother of two college aged students and enjoys travel, classic films and dancing.

CONTACT

Phone: 202.567.6971

E-Mail: dpembertonheard@divsearch.com

Location: Philadelphia, PA / Washington, DC

EDUCATION

Juris Doctor

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Bachelor of Arts - Political Science

Tufts University

PRACTICE AREAS

BOARD OF DIRECTORS CEO CONSUMER AND RETAIL DIGITAL, MEDIA, ENTERTAINMENT, & SPORTS EDUCATION

JIM SIRIANNI, PHD

Managing Director

JIM SIRIANNI, PHD

Managing Director

Jim Sirianni is a Managing Director at Storbeck Search, part of Diversified Search Group.

Before entering executive search, Sirianni led professional development programming for presidents, provosts, and chief business officers at the American Council on Education (ACE). He oversaw multiple programs, bringing together newly appointed leaders as well as preparing individuals for the next steps in their professional journeys. Additionally, Sirianni tracked patterns that affect institutional strategy and management practices and shared his findings with ACE members across the country.

Previously, Sirianni was a research consultant at EAB, where he worked on the strategic issues facing provosts and related senior leaders. His portfolio included responsibility for uncovering best practices in academic affairs, managing research teams, and presenting findings to clients around the country. Earlier in his career, Sirianni served as a dean and director at Stanford University and as a researcher at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where his work was later published in Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession (2011), the winner of the AAC&U’s Frederic W. Ness Book Award in 2013.

Sirianni has been an invited speaker on executive search and leadership development at ACE’s Fellows program and for the Association for Collaborative Leadership. Today, he continues to contribute to the field by teaching leadership and management in the higher education doctoral program at George Washington University.

CONTACT

Phone: 484.263.5518

E-Mail: j.sirianni@storbecksearch.com

Location: Washington, DC / Mission Viejo, CA

EDUCATION

Ph.D. - Higher Education Policy

Stanford University

Masters of Art - Sociology

Stanford University

Masters of Art - Higher Education

Stanford University

Bachelors of Science - Education

Pennsylvania State University

PRACTICE AREAS

EDUCATION

JULIE TEA

Managing Director

JULIE TEA

Managing Director

Julie Tea is a Managing Director at Storbeck Search, part of Diversified Search Group. Tea has served higher education for more than 25 years, and today assists colleges and universities in searches for presidents, cabinet-level roles, and academic deans. She also regularly advises boards of trustees on presidential transition. Before joining Storbeck, Tea served as associate managing principal and as a senior consultant for two competitor firms. 

 

Through prior positions in campus settings, Tea garnered experience working at the executive, graduate, and undergraduate levels. She served as a special assistant and direct report to the president at the University of Richmond, playing a critical role in the development of the institution’s leadership team. 

 

Earlier in her career, Tea directed Georgetown University’s international undergraduate admission program before moving to the Georgetown Graduate Public Policy Institute (now the McCourt School of Public Policy) to coordinate its academic administration and career development arm. She began her work in education abroad, as a teacher of English as a second language for the St. Stephen’s School, an international high school in Rome.

 

Tea has been an invited speaker on executive search, presidential transition, and leadership development at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and at the American Council on Education (ACE).

CONTACT

Phone: 484.263.5547

E-Mail: Julie.Tea@divsearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

EDUCATION

Master of Arts - Liberal Studies

Georgetown University

History

University of Pennsylvania

PRACTICE AREAS

EDUCATION

SUSAN VANGILDER

Managing Director

SUSAN VANGILDER

Managing Director

Susan VanGilder is a Managing Director at Storbeck Search, part of Diversified Search Group. With more than 25 years of executive search experience, VanGilder has identified and recruited leaders for a wide variety of institutions in the education and nonprofit sectors, in the United States and abroad.

Among VanGilder’s many searches have been those for presidents, provosts, vice presidents, and administrative and academic deans of colleges and universities, as well as senior leaders of museums, foundations, and other nonprofit organizations. She brings a knowledgeable and well-rounded perspective to the search process, having held several key roles on Storbeck’s higher education and nonprofit search teams over the past decade.

Previously, VanGilder worked in the education practices of A.T. Kearney and another international executive search firm. She is currently based in the Washington, D.C., area but has lived and worked in Hawaii, Germany, and Belgium.

VanGilder’s prior work experience includes managing the information center at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and serving as liaison to its board committee on career opportunities for minorities and women. During her tenure at CASE, she coordinated numerous career development conferences for college, university, and independent school advancement officers.

CONTACT

Phone: 703.865.8817

E-Mail: s.vangilder@storbecksearch.com

Location: Washington, DC