Who We Are
Kirk began his retail career at age 17 on the sales floor and worked his way up in HR for the most prominent department stores and specialty retailers of the time. He founded KPA with an initial focus to help leaders find the best merchants to grow their businesses. Today, KPA is one of the largest and most respected executive search firms in the industry. Kirk’s philosophy – “Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Be nice. Speak the truth. Hire the best people who embody the values of your company. Don’t settle for less”.
A one-time rock drummer with hair past his shoulders, Kirk is a voracious fan of progressive rock and his office walls are lined with the album covers from the ’70s. In the past few years, his passion (and stalker tendencies of rock idol, Steven Wilson) have led him to executive produce two albums featuring Steven and members of his band: Jane Getter “Premonition” and Adam Holzman “Truth Decay” both available on iTunes or at the KPA Offices. 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. Prior to joining KPA in 2006, she had a diverse 20+ year career in fashion apparel and publishing. Jaimee brings her unique POV and insider insight to her high-level search assignments in the specialty retail, luxury and fashion arena. Her history of strategic, marketing and digital roles within companies like Escada and Condé Nast and her candid 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, digital and stores communities. Her previous operational experience gives her an advantage when conducting searches in the operations or supply chain/logistics functions.
When she’s not staffing the world’s top retail and fashion companies, you can find Jaimee shopping their stores. She loves traveling with her family to exotic locations around the world and consuming all things pop culture. 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.
Kyle Rudy joined Kirk Palmer Associates in 2009 building on his diverse 20+ year career in ecommerce, specialty retailing, wholesale and department stores with Coach, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s Merchandising Group. Kyle began his career as a successful merchant, then his passion for putting the pieces of the talent puzzle together to create a stronger organization led to a promotion into HR where he rapidly moved through various roles focused on ecommerce, merchandising, stores, marketing, and operations. He applies his uncanny assessment abilities and service-centric people skills to understand candidate capabilities, client needs and corporate culture.
To maintain his global perspective, every 10 years Kyle jumps on a plane and travels around the world in a year-long sabbatical, thus far visiting more than 41 countries.
Debra Schwartzfarb joined Kirk Palmer Associates after more than two decades within specialty and department store retail organizations such as Toys “R” Us, Gap Inc. and Macy’s. She began her retail career running store operations and culminated her time in corporate HR roles focused on talent management, succession planning and employee relations. As a result, Deb applies a strategic and methodical process-driven approach to her searches. 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.
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. An avid spinner – her max watts are WAY higher than yours.
Lindsay Stevens leads the West Coast search practice at Kirk Palmer Associates. A marketer by background, she brings to the role more than 15 years of digital, brand and strategy experience from companies including Apple, kate spade new york and C. Wonder.
Lindsay’s passion for creating an emotional connection between brands and audiences has been a constant throughout her career. She applies this expertise when helping emerging and established retailers hire precisely-matched executives for high-impact roles. From DTC startups to omnichannel organizations, Lindsay partners with businesses at every stage of growth across multiple facets of retail including beauty, wellness, fashion, home and consumer technology. She additionally provides guidance on organizational design, talent assessment and scaling through growth.
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 a 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.
Cathy leads a Human Resources practice driven by the belief that people are the most valuable and most complex business resource. Her practice is supported by over three decades of experience in human resources, operations and business development either as owner or directly supporting owners in the hedge fund, hospitality and executive search industries. Across varied industries, her demonstrated ability to be an outstanding listener and trustworthy partner during times of change coupled with a creative and resourceful approach to resolving issues position Cathy to support her clients in identifying the right leaders for a wide range of executive roles in human resources and senior administrative functions.
In her former role as Chief of Staff to the CEO at Kirk Palmer, she learned the “KPA Way” that values the investment that our clients make in their most important asset – their people. As a Principal of a hospitality sector firm Cathy was responsible for business development and achieved significant growth while discovering a passion for hospitality. Prior to that, Cathy’s career was focused on supporting the human capital and operations needs of three hedge funds over twenty years. Her experience at Moore Capital Management during a time of rapid growth and, subsequently, at new launch funds working side-by-side with the founder in managing the business allowed her to listen, analyze, improve and execute in fast-paced environments where she thrives.
A proud Mom of three children who defined fast-paced for many years, Cathy now enjoys keeping that pace outside of the office spending time outdoors, traveling and in support of many community causes. She is an accomplished cook who loves setting a beautiful table and filling it with great food, wine, family and friends for most any occasion including none at all. Best place to dine? The front porch of her home where the pace is a bit slower.
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.
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.
Selena is a versatile marketer with a diverse background in fashion, branding and technology. As Head of Marketing for Kirk Palmer Associates, she leverages this cross-industry view to drive service innovation, digital transformation and brand-led growth.
Kirk Palmer Associates’ 30-year reputation for providing exceptional service is what drew her to the role. A passionate customer advocate, Selena works closely with the recruiting teams to continuously elevate the firm’s white-glove approach and anticipate evolving client needs in a disruptive business landscape.
Previously, Selena honed her marketing leadership by launching in-house brand teams at fashion label Derek Lam, global brand and innovation consultancy Wolff Olins, and technology recruiting firm Proven Recruiting. In her most recent role, she additionally launched an event series bringing together like-minded businesses committed to driving Diversity and Inclusion at the executive level.
Selena is a lifelong animal lover who has rescued creatures ranging from mice to horses. When she’s not thinking about the role of brand and technology in delighting customers, she also enjoys cooking elaborate meals with obscure ingredients discovered all over the globe.
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.
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.
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.
Allison Canaras brings 15+ years of merchandising experience within wholesale and specialty retail businesses to her new role at Kirk Palmer Associates. A men’s and women’s apparel/accessories merchant for global companies such as Gap Inc., Calvin Klein, DKNY/Donna Karan, Nautica and Izod, she knows what best-in-class talent and product looks like. Her love of product and her career working cross-functionally make her a passionate brand ambassador for our clients and credible partner to our candidates.
In her rare moments of downtime after running around with her two children, Allison has a passion for all things fashion with particular interest in hunting for vintage finds on a dime. She loves traveling abroad to scour the streets for where her next hidden treasure will be found.
Dina Polydorou began her career in luxury retail jewelry at Ilias Lalaounis which informed her appreciation for and dedication to impeccable client service. For the past 10 years, Dina has parlayed her passion for retail and process-driven approach to executive search for firms such as Talisman, G Squared and most recently Frisch. She is passionate about supporting iconic fashion and lifestyle brands by finding them transformation leaders. Dina is relentless in her efforts to find the perfect candidate for each search she works on and knows that no two searches are the same.
Dina hails from, and holidays on, a small but perfectly formed Greek island in the Northern Aegean. Don’t be fooled though, she is a city girl the rest of the year and enjoys exploring her hometown of London’s food, theatre, and culture with her husband and two children.
Kim is a 29 year Bay Area resident who’s recruited for some of the Bay’s best retailers including Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., and Bare Escentuals. She joined Kirk Palmer after leading Talent Acquisition globally for Restoration Hardware where she led teams and created company-wide recruitment strategies and programs. She has a passion for creating a best-in-class candidate and client experience and truly enjoys participating in the journey that unfolds.
With a love for travel and adventure, you can often find Kim, her husband and daughter skiing Lake Tahoe’s slopes or swimming in Mexico’s oceans. For local fun, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, as well as walking her dog at Stinson Beach in search of the perfect sand dollar.
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.