Who we are
Kirk founded the company with a desire to leverage his experience in department and specialty store retailing to help businesses make smart people decisions. Over the past three decades, he has successfully built the firm by hiring great people with industry experience, who embody the values of a successful KPAer: trust, integrity, credibility and “niceness.” Known for his straightforward assessments on industry trends and talent issues, Kirk leads CEO searches and Best Talent Mapping Programs.
A one-time rock drummer with hair past his shoulders, Kirk is a voracious fan of the progressive rock genre and his office walls are lined with the album covers of prog-rock bands of the ’70s. He was recently able to fulfill a bucket list dream when he sat in on an intimate studio session with his idol, Steven Wilson. That led to Kirk executive producing an album – Jane Getter Premonition – featuring members of Steven’s band and other “rock-gods” in Kirk’s world. Kirk still thinks he is a cool guy with long hair (and we are not going to burst his bubble).
Jaimee Marshall knows fashion and retail brands. She brings the unique insider insight that comes with a diverse career in apparel and publishing to her high-level search assignments in the specialty retail, luxury and fashion arena. Her history of strategic roles and approach lend a laser focus when dealing with the private equity community, founders and global multi-divisional corporations. Jaimee has strong experience in the front end of the business and has created a deep and trusted network in the C-Suite, merchant, marketing and stores communities.
Jaimee started her career at Escada in 1985, becoming Vice President of Operations in 1991, and then Vice President of Marketing in 1993. She then launched a consulting practice helping top international and domestic luxury brands make strategic and operational changes. In 2001, as General Manager of Fairchild Publications Internet, she was hired to launch WWD.com. During this time she repositioned Fairchild Summits, hosting the first WWD/DNR CEO Summit in New York City. In addition, she worked on a host of strategic projects for the CEO of Fairchild, including ones directly related to best practices in talent management.
When she’s not staffing the world’s top fashion and retail companies, you can find Jaimee shopping their stores. She loves traveling with her family to exotic locations around the world. She is a consumer of all things pop culture and has become a human IMDB. Known for giving unfettered counsel to people on a broad range of topics, Jaimee’s fantasy career was to be the next Oprah. Working at Kirk Palmer Associates has given her a similar platform without having to be swarmed by paparazzi.
Adelle joined Kirk Palmer Associates in 2008 following a 15-year career in strategy roles within the retail, wholesale and fashion industries. As a search executive, she brings a long history of C-level strategic planning experience to every search she conducts. Now, engaged in driving top-line growth through people, she focuses on both competency and cultural assessment geared towards finding and filling talent whitespace in a given company. She understands that differentiating yourself in the marketplace is about having both the right capabilities and a team that works well together.
Prior to Joining Kirk Palmer Associates, Adelle spent the first 11 years of her career with Kurt Salmon Associates, a global retail and consumer products consulting company. As a partner in the strategic services group, she was regarded as an expert in consumer marketing/insights and growth strategies, presenting at major industry conferences including the Fairchild Global CEO Summit and the National Retail Federation Conference. She went on to lead strategy and business development at Wenger Swiss Army. Adelle then served as Vice President, Group Strategic Planning at Liz Claiborne Inc. from 2003 to 2006, where she helped identify new portfolio opportunities and develop growth strategies for brands such as Juicy Couture and Lucky Brand. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of L.I.M. College in New York City.
Adelle is not a land creature by nature. When she’s not reeling in the perfect candidate at the office, she spends as much time as possible at sea with her husband catching Mahi-mahi, Amberjack and the occasional overboard child.
Kyle Rudy joined Kirk Palmer Associates after a thriving and diverse HR career in specialty retailing, wholesale and department stores. He applies uncanny assessment abilities and service-centric people skills to ascertain corporate culture, client needs and candidate capabilities.
Kyle began his career in 1985 as a merchant for Saks Fifth Avenue in their New York corporate office and then rapidly moved through various HR roles focused on merchandising, stores and operations. Later, as VP of Human Resources at Macy’s Merchandising Group, he supported the corporate merchants and the various divisions, including Bloomingdales, in executive search for DMM and GMM positions. In 1998, Kyle rejoined Saks Fifth Avenue, starting up their talent acquisition before launching Saks.com in 1999. He was recruited by Coach, Inc. in 2001 during a period of unprecedented growth, where, as a VP in HR, he supported retail, online, e-commerce, direct marketing, wholesale and international.
To maintain his global perspective, every 10 years Kyle jumps on a plane and travels around the world. He has visited more than 34 countries. Favorite spots include: Fiji for relaxing, New Zealand for the people and amazing terrain, Nepal and Indonesia to be immersed in a totally different culture, and Kenya and Tanzania for once-in-a-lifetime safari experiences.
Debra Schwartzfarb joined Kirk Palmer Associates after more than two decades in corporate human resources. Through years of experience cultivating connections, she brings a keen ability to assess talent, both inside and outside an organization. A master listener, she hears the intent behind the words, relying on body language and intuition to come to an understanding of the person as a whole. This innate tuned-in approach allows her to make spot-on matches between clients and candidates.
Debra spent 20 years moving through various HR leadership roles at all three divisions of the Toys “R” Us organization, including, Kids “R” Us and Babies “R” Us, starting with operational experience running stores and culminating her time in a corporate HR role. In 2005, she joined Gap Brand overseeing HR for 500 stores and 25,000 employees. In 2007, Debra joined Macy’s Private Brands becoming Vice President of Talent Management with responsibility for recruitment, executive coaching, succession planning and employee relations. During this time, she supported senior leadership in all functions including product development, design and merchandising.
Always curious and eager to discover new things, Debra is a self-proclaimed foodie, sampling bone marrow wherever she goes and walking untold miles for the best burger around. She is innovative original. Debra loves pop culture and being on the front-lines of new business and the technology developed around it. An avid spinner – her max watts are WAY higher than yours.
Lindsay Stevens comes to executive search with over 15 years of marketing strategy experience from companies such as Apple, kate spade new york and C. Wonder. She has a keen understanding for how to connect a target audience with brands on a global basis. Lindsay applies the same principles and expertise to executive search by understanding the dynamics and nuance of people and business, and then connecting the right candidates with the right companies.
Lindsay has lived in London, San Francisco and New York City and has worked for both advertising agencies serving the global retail community and the retailers themselves. Her career experiences range from building high-profile established companies, and helping brands in need of a facelift, to starting retail businesses from scratch; all of which gives her a unique perspective on the needs of companies in all stages, of all sizes.
When her two small kids, husband and life with friends in San Francisco aren’t on the schedule, she’ll duck away to either read a book, sail in the Bay, golf, run, ski or take time out for a quiet moment to solve a puzzle – crossword, jigsaw or a good search assignment.
Caroline Pill is heading up our European office based out of London. Caroline is in charge of building the KPA global business practice with clients in Europe, Asia and the US. She has extensive experience dealing with senior management searches across the fashion and luxury industry, with a particular focus on cross-border assignments across Europe and the US. Her area of expertise ranges from C-suite, marketing, retail, e-commerce and merchandising roles. She is very comfortable understanding the nuances of relocation and transitioning cultures, having herself lived and worked in over 5 countries and speaking 5 languages.
Caroline started her career as a corporate lawyer where she discovered her passion for problem solving and analytical thinking. She worked as an M&A lawyer in a variety of international law firms across Belgium, Shanghai, NYC and Amsterdam. She then moved to London and transitioned into the wonderful world of search, first with Spencer Stuart, focusing on projects in the international fashion and luxury industry, and most recently at Karen Harvey Consulting, where she was responsible for leading senior executive search assignments in Europe, Asia and the US.
Besides being a self described fashionista, Caroline is also fanatic about fitness, and is known to push herself pretty hard. Most recently, she has obtained her certificate as a Level 3 in Personal Training, which she has proudly framed next to her Yale Law School LLM degree.
Katie Fong gets into the details. Her deliberate and thoughtful approach to search reflects her aptitude for understanding how the finer points fit into the bigger picture. Katie digs in, taking time to really get to know the person behind the title and the story behind the career. She excels at assessing and relating to analytical talent and knows what a visionary looks like in a business-driven context.
Having started her career in executive search for private equity and financial services clients, Katie developed a taste for working behind the scenes of a business. Since joining Kirk Palmer Associates in 2010, she has become an expert in the “back end” of retail, specializing in assessing and recruiting top financial and operational talent.
A bi-coastal gal, Katie has roots in both Southern California and Philadelphia, PA and will gladly debate the merits of a Five Guys burger versus In-N-Out. She’s a perpetually recovering long-distance runner as well as a science fiction, literature, and politics devotee who has a compelling recommendation prepared for most television or film tastes.
Kimberley Partridge offers years of industry experience in direct selling, retailing and marketing within the fashion sector. Her prior history in direct sales lends her a unique understanding of the importance of building and nurturing relationships, the power of connecting the right people to each other, and the business-building aptitude of entrepreneurial talent. Her marketing experience in this context lent her exposure to a wide variety of roles, including planning and allocation, merchants, retail managers, VP of stores and sales, as well as a comprehensive understanding of a variety of growth strategies.
Prior to joining Kirk Palmer Associates in 2010, Kimberley was with Calypso St. Barth as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations where she was responsible for creating the corporate strategy to build brand awareness. She also launched the company’s e-commerce site. Before her experience on the retail side of the business, she had a long career with The Carlisle Collection, a privately held direct selling company of women’s fashion. Kimberley rose through the ranks to become Vice President of the Children’s Division and eventually President of the European Division, living in London and overseeing all international sales.
Having always loved travel, Kimberley is also an avid reader of independent fiction and seeker of culture exposure and has developed a technique for finding the best writers across the globe. She combs international literary awards lists, finds authors who have been long-listed and takes her suggestions from there. She finds reading an exquisitely written international book is like taking an exotic trip to a faraway land.
Karen Ouchterloney brings a 15-year history of retail buying, merchandising, and planning and allocation experience in specialty, department stores and e-commerce divisions. Her expertise in building and developing strong, high-functioning teams for high-level brands in the retail arena gives her a unique understanding of cultural fit and developing and assessing talent for the retail world. Because she speaks the language of retail, she is able to decipher client needs for specific roles and determine critical candidate skill sets.
Prior to her role at Kirk Palmer Associates, Karen was most recently employed at The Jones Group as Director of Merchandising and Buying for Jones Retail and E-commerce. She was with Coach from 2000 to 2008, as Divisional Vice President: North America-Retail Merchandise Planning. Previously, Karen was at J. Crew as a Planning and Allocation Manager. In the beginning of her career Karen spent five years in department stores in a variety of merchandising and buying roles. Her broad product category experience includes: handbags, accessories, footwear, men’s and women’s apparel, gifts and jewelry.
Karen has a love of all things athletic, including her longtime passion for tennis and golf, more recent appreciation of kayaking on Candlewood Lake and her most strenuous and rewarding activity, chasing after Robert, her three-year-old son.
Ramona Dunlap joined Kirk Palmer after years of experience as a marketer for iconic brands. Her extensive experience in target marketing, brand positioning and customer insights enables her to tailor a search based on the needs of the clients, ensuring a great match for both the client and the candidate.
Prior to joining Kirk Palmer Associates, Ramona was the Director of Marketing for the Donna Karan and DKNY Intimates brands. Previously, Ramona was Sr. Marketing Manager at Calvin Klein Underwear. Ramona started her career in the Management Trainee program at Hanes where she worked in a various areas of the business from field merchandising, forecasting, planning, marketing, and account management.
Since childhood Ramona has always enjoyed the art of storytelling. She’s no Annie Leibovitz, but she loves photography and playing around with her camera. Her dream is to bring stories to life in a beautiful coffee table book.
Dana Levine claims her passion for retail began at infancy. Her father worked in the industry for over 25 years and her brother is currently a vice president in merchandising.
Dana’s first exposure to retail was as a fitting room specialist for the GAP. After graduating college, Dana completed the Ralph Lauren Executive Training Program. She worked in the men’s clothing /furnishing and ladies black label buying offices. Most recently, Dana was with Loro Piana for almost 7 years as a senior merchant managing the ladies ready to wear, accessories, and children’s division. She joined Kirk Palmer Associates in 2014 and her experience with buying, merchandising, planning, stores, and passion for retail enable her to understand and manage a client’s needs.
Dana lives in NYC with her husband and 2 daughters, and they enjoy spending time in Central Park scouting out the numerous playgrounds. Dana considers herself a dedicated shopper and has been known to sneak new purchases in over-sized bags by her husband. Unfortunately for Dana, her husband is exceptionally observant.
Courtney has 15 years experience recruiting talent within the consumer internet space. She joined Kirk Palmer in 2017 after a 10-year stint with Walmart.com, where she had a hand in building the team from 400 to over 2000 employees. At Walmart.com, she owned recruiting for the Marketing, Creative and Site Merchandising teams. In 2013 she joined Walmart.com’s in-house executive recruiting group, where she focused on recruiting talent at the VP and above level, across the entire eCommerce business. Courtney specializes in “finding needles in haystacks.” There’s nothing she enjoys more than a good hunt, and prides herself on really digging into her clients unique needs from a business and cultural standpoint.
When she’s not chasing her two young children around, Courtney enjoys hiking the hills of the San Francisco East Bay with her cattle dog, a good book and getting creative in the kitchen with finds from the local farmers market.
Jen has a unique blend of creativity and detail that fosters a holistic approach to the needs of her clients. She comes with an interesting mix of industry, consulting, and recruiting experience. Her vast knowledge of brands and the retail landscape have always been at the core of her diverse roles.
Jen started her career at Alexis Bittar as a Design Coordinator and took a deeper dive into branding when she joined Aronsson Group in 2008, a global consultancy firm that works within the luxury goods, fashion and apparel sectors. While at Aronsson Group, Jen conducted extensive market research to evaluate competitive landscape and M&A opportunities. Her clients included leading CEO’s, boards, and Private Equity Companies. Jen was introduced to executive recruitment at Korn Ferry, where she worked on a small team charged with recruiting senior level talent to the firm. Jen joined Kirk Palmer Associates in 2016 and is thrilled to leverage her background in executive recruitment with her passion for brands.
On a personal note, Jen is an avid dancer and continues to explore movement through Yoga. She has been teaching Yoga since 2010 and when not on the mat, enjoys spending time with her family. We recruited Jen to bring zen and balance to the KPA team. Namaste.
Kelley Biggs brings an extensive background as an in-house corporate recruiter in the retail and fashion industry to executive search. Throughout her career, she has had the pleasure to work for some phenomenal global brands in the retail space; including Gap Inc., Restoration Hardware Inc., Google and Williams-Sonoma Inc. Joining the team at Kirk Palmer Associates in 2015 and loves the ability to partner and work closely with so many of the retail and fashion brands she admires. Her passion for understanding the needs of a business, assessing the talent of leaders, and matching the two is what she loves most.
Kelley takes great pride in delivering a best-in-class experience for both her clients and candidates and is set apart by her determination to drive for the highest quality results.
In her free time, Kelley is busy laughing, learning and growing right along with her three beautiful children and her husband who helps her balance it all. She enjoys hiking the mountains of the San Francisco Bay Area with her family, searching for shells and other treasures along any strip of coastal sand she can find, and putting on her foodie hat every chance she gets to dine out and savor some of the delicious cuisine the SF Bay has to offer.
AMANDA PARIL joined Kirk Palmer Associates in 2013 and is now an Associate for the firm’s Finance & Operations practice. Over the past five years, she has honed her abilities to forge relationships and coordinate all the components of a successful search in order to match great companies with great candidates. She has made recent successful placements within global, iconic brands, off-price retailers and omnichannel fashion companies.
A Jersey girl, born and bred, Amanda resides in Hoboken (no jokin’). Outside the office, she is best known for her stockpile of random trivia and her ability to recite Hamilton word for word.