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 the 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.

LIONEL ANDERSON

Managing Director

LIONEL ANDERSON

Managing Director

Lionel Anderson is a Managing Director in the Education, Nonprofit, and Arts and Culture Practice at the Diversified Search Group, where he partners with colleges, universities, foundations, and nonprofits to understand their leadership needs, prepare for leadership transition, and identify, vet, and onboard talent into executive leadership roles.

Anderson began his career in executive search at Isaacson, Miller, where he recruited senior leadership for colleges, universities, and foundations. Within higher education, he has focused on presidential searches. His previous clients include the Chemical Heritage Foundation, City University of New York, Colby College, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Morehouse College, New York University, Northeastern University, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Smith College, Temple University, Tuskegee University, University of Chicago, and University of Louisville.

For roughly a decade prior to search, Anderson served in various capacities in undergraduate student development, including serving as the Assistant Director in the Office of Academic Resources at Haverford College and as an academic advisor, adjunct instructor, and student retention coordinator at the Fox School of Business at Temple University. As an inaugural board member of TeenSHARP, a nonprofit college preparatory program for promising low-income students in Camden and Philadelphia, Anderson led efforts to fund the organization’s early college tours with students, while also publishing seasonal op-eds with The New York Times around undergraduate student success.

CONTACT

Phone: 202.734.4876

E-Mail: Lionel.Anderson@divsearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

EDUCATION

Master of Science - Higher Education Management

University of Pennsylvania

Bachelor of Arts - Sociology

University of Pennsylvania

PRACTICE AREAS

EDUCATION

STEVE LEO

Managing Director

STEVE LEO

Managing Director

Stephen Leo is a Managing Director at Storbeck Search, which became part of the 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: Steve.Leo@divsearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Arts - International Affairs and International Economics

The George Washington University

PRACTICE AREAS

EDUCATION

JASON D. LEÓN, CPA

Office Managing Director

JASON D. LEÓN, CPA

Office Managing Director

Jason D. León, MPA, CPA, is Office Managing Director in the 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

DENIELLE PEMBERTON-HEARD, ESQ.

Chief Legal Officer

DENIELLE PEMBERTON-HEARD, ESQ.

Chief Legal Officer

Denielle Pemberton-Heard is the Chief Legal Officer for the Diversified Search Group, based in the firm’s Washington, DC office. She joined Diversified in 2018 following fifteen years as Group Counsel, Programming and Business Affairs at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the nation’s largest non-commercial media enterprise. There, she directed transactional work related to the production, distribution, and syndication of content across all platforms on behalf of PBS and its 300-plus member stations, and led negotiations between and among PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, on-air talent, program funders, and foundations. Before joining PBS, she served as Group Counsel for Thales, Inc., a French-owned communications concern, and as Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs at Time Life. She has also held in-house positions at Discovery Communications, Inc.

She began her law career in private practice with Connecticut’s Wiggin and Dana, and was subsequently associated with the New York firm of Cowan Liebowitz and Latman, where she focused on intellectual property litigation. Pemberton-Heard also serves as a senior advisor to STEMconnector, a Diversified Search company committed to increasing the number of STEM-ready workers in the global talent pool through its work with pioneering leaders across more than 200 organizations.

An alumna of the Columbia Graduate School of Business, she has served as a Regional Judge for Presidential Commission White House Fellowships; as a Trustee of the Toy Industry of America Foundation; and on the Board of Governors of the Case Western School of Law. Pemberton-Heard has also served on the professional faculty of the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business, where she has lectured on business law.

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 the 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: Jim.Sirianni2@divsearch.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 the 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 the Diversified Search Group. With more than 2 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 Storebeck’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: Susan.VanGilder@divsearch.com

Location: Washington, DC

CORINA BENITZ

Vice President and Senior Associate

CORINA BENITZ

Vice President and Senior Associate

Corina Benitz is a Vice President and Senior Associate at the Diversified Search Group. She joined the firm as a Research Associate in 2018.

Prior to entering the executive search field, Benitz worked as a Development Associate for the Board of Directors of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. There she was responsible for, among other things, Board management, major gift donor engagement strategy, and planning of fundraising events and the annual orchestra gala. Her research experience in this role included the identifying, researching, and profiling of prospective Board members and donors.

Benitz began her professional career in the arts world, first as a Sales and Client Relationship Manager for a prominent Virginia sculptor, and subsequently as a Sales and Auction Associate at The Potomack Company, an Alexandria, Virginia antiques and fine arts auction house.

Corina has her certification as a research associate from the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC).

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

ARAGLIN MCBREEN

Research Associate

ARAGLIN MCBREEN

Research Associate

Araglin McBreen is a Research Associate in the Washington, D.C. office of the 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