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).
Cathy manages and oversees the overall business operations of KPA supported by over three decades of experience in operations, administration, human resources and business development either as a business owner or directly supporting founders 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 all areas of our business.
In her former role as Chief of Staff to the CEO at Kirk Palmer, she learned the “KPA Way” that values the investment our clients make in their most important asset – their people. Her prior career included Chief Administrative Officer and Human Resources roles at three hedge funds where she supported founders in managing businesses where she could listen, analyze, improve and execute in fast-paced environments where she thrives. As a Principal of a hospitality sector firm, Cathy grew the business and experienced the unique perspective of an owner that informs her work at KPA.
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 perfect.
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 is a seasoned executive recruiter more than a decade of search experience built upon a 20+ year HR career in specialty retailing and department stores. In his role as Partner, Kyle leads a thriving search practice and drives the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts helping clients recruit talent from a range of backgrounds and experiences.
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.
Lindsay Stevens leads the West Coast executive search practice at Kirk Palmer Associates. In this role, Lindsay works at the intersection of founders and the investment community helping fast-growing brands hire the leadership talent they need to scale.
Prior to joining the firm, Lindsay gained more than 15 years of marketing and digital strategy experience at companies including Apple, kate spade new york and C. Wonder. From this background she developed a passion for storytelling and creating an emotional connection with brands – expertise she now applies when placing precisely-matched executives in high-impact roles. Additionally, Lindsay is a consultative partner to businesses at every stage of growth and provides guidance on organizational design, talent assessment and executive compensation.
When her life with family and friends in San Francisco aren’t on the schedule, Lindsay will duck away to either read a book, sail in the Bay, golf, run, ski or take a quiet moment to solve a puzzle – crossword, jigsaw or a good search assignment.
Caroline Pill leads the global executive search practice at Kirk Palmer Associates. Based in London, she helps multinational clients in luxury, fashion and beauty hire talented executives for president, c-level and senior management roles.
Caroline is a strategic partner to companies seeking cross-border executives, and she helps to navigate the nuances of relocation and cultural integration. A global citizen herself, she is fluent in French, English, Flemish, Hebrew and Chinese and has lived in more than five locations across the world.
Caroline started her career as a corporate M&A lawyer where she discovered her passion for problem solving and analytical thinking. She transitioned to executive search in 2010 and has worked within the international luxury sector ever since.
Originally from Antwerp, Caroline obtained her law degree at Yale Law School. She is passionate about people and additionally obtained certifications as a Level 3 Personal Trainer and a qualified coach with the World Coaching Institute. She is currently enrolled to further specialize with Henley Business School, which is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF).
Selena is a versatile marketer with a diverse background in fashion, branding and technology. As Vice President 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.
Brian Busse is an Engagement Director leading the firm’s expansion in Asia. With more than a decade of professional recruitment experience in the APAC region, Brian has cultivated a strong network of client partners spanning big local corporates to renowned global names in luxury, fashion, beauty and consumer. His dynamic approach is influenced by his unique global working experience and a passion for people and growing organizations.
An American citizen of the world, Brian currently splits his time between London and Asia. He has lived in four different Asian cities (Hong Kong, Taipei, Bangkok, Ulaanbaatar) and travelled to more than 50 countries globally, gaining a deep understanding of cultural customs and nuances. He draws on this specialized knowledge to help complex multinational corporations hire finely-calibrated executives for roles including senior Regional Functional Heads up to C-suite executives.
Outside of the office, Brian is a sports enthusiast who loves swimming and being around any kind of water – river, lake, pool or ocean – anywhere on the planet.
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 is an Engagement Director specializing in fashion, luxury and lifestyle brands. She brings to the role more than 10 years of first-hand retail experience as well as more than five years of executive search experience placing c-level and senior management executives in marketing, merchandising, stores and digital leadership roles across multiple sectors.
Dana’s passion for retail began in elementary school. As classmates were sharing their desire to be firefighters, doctors, and police officers Dana declared her goal was to become a General Merchandising Manager.
After graduating from college, she completed the Ralph Lauren Executive Training Program. She worked in the men’s clothing /furnishing and ladies’ black label buying offices. Dana then joined Loro Piana where she spent almost 7 years as a senior merchant and managed across every business line including ladies ready to wear, accessories, men’s, home, gift and children’s. 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.
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.
Alice Valentine is a trusted recruiter for the fashion, luxury, beauty and lifestyle sectors. With almost two decades of experience as a specialist within the sector, she focuses on board-level and global leadership searches – president, c-suite and senior management roles. Her natural aptitude for understanding people, combined with a strong commercial acumen, delivers a highly strategic approach that caters for progressive businesses and individuals alike.
Before joining Kirk Palmer Associates as an Engagement Director, Alice held key roles at leading executive search firms as well as in-house for global luxury brands such as Farfetch and Selfridges. While at Selfridges, Alice acted as Ambassador of diversity & inclusion across the Selfridges business and is a passionate believer of diversity driving sustainable businesses for the future. Alice works with a vast range of clients, including fashion, luxury, beauty, consumer, technology and hospitality, and has established trusted relationships with her clients and candidates alike.
In her spare time, Alice can be found exploring the streets of London, on the hunt for new art exhibitions as well as challenging new cooking classes.
Allison Canaras brings 15+ years of merchandising experience within wholesale and specialty retail businesses to her 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.
Mary Beth McGroarty is an Engagement Director at Kirk Palmer Associates. She brings to the role more than a decade of executive search experience as well as direct fashion industry knowledge, recruiting talented executives for engagements spanning all categories of retail, beauty and consumer goods.
Mary Beth began her career in the Executive Training Program at Jordan Marsh. She later moved to the wholesale side of the industry working for various fashion companies including Jones Apparel Group. In 2009, she transitioned to executive search, gaining broad exposure at Korn Ferry. Now at Kirk Palmer Associates, Mary Beth draws on her robust industry insight as well as an innate curiosity for people, networking and relationship building to engender trust in the candidate community. She leads each executive search assignment with a consultative, hands-on approach at both a tactical and strategic level, and she strives to serve as a true partner to her clients.
Mary Beth has traveled extensively and is particularly passionate about her Irish heritage. At home, she grapples with a Boston/Philly sports rivalry within her family but enjoys sneaking away to relax with a baguette, some gorgonzola cheese, and a glass of red wine.
Nadine Gerber joined Kirk Palmer Associates after an almost 20+ year career in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition. Nadine was born into an entrepreneurial fashion/retail family. Her grandparents owned a millinery business in the garment center, and she started her retail career when she was five at her stepfather’s record store. She has honed her human resources skills by having roles in corporate communications, learning and development, employee relations and of course many years in talent acquisition. An internal talent specialist at companies such as Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Kering, Nadine is known for bringing an innovative approach to the human resources function. Nadine has been working with C-Level executives since the beginning of her career and understands their pace and passion.
Nadine tends to go through life with an I Love Lucy filter. She has spent some time in her earlier years performing stand-up comedy at open mike nights and loves to laugh. Currently her passion is helping her beloved teenage daughter pursue her artistic talents. She loves to travel with her family and meet people from other cultures especially if a beach is involved in some part of the exploration.
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.
Stephanie Bartlett is a globally-minded executive recruiter with a background in fashion and beauty. She began her career in luxury retail at Burberry when the company was establishing their beauty division, gaining an early foundation in best-in-class business strategy as she worked to build the division from the ground up.
Subsequently, Stephanie moved into recruitment on the agency side, joining executive search firms Success Appointments and Elite Associates before moving in-house where she broadened her recruitment experience at The White Company. With her desire to continue in Executive hiring and having followed KPA for some time, she is now an integral member of Kirk Palmer Associates’ global team and specializes in helping iconic fashion, lifestyle and beauty brands recruit transformational leaders for VP through C-level roles.
Stephanie hails from a rich multi-cultural background, having lived in France, Singapore, Belgium, Spain, China, Mexico and most recently England. Bilingual in English and Spanish, she loves immersing herself in diverse languages and cultures, with particular interest in her Mexican heritage.
Amanda DiAntonio joined Kirk Palmer Associates in 2013 and is now an Marketing Associate, having previously been a member of the firm’s finance and operations practice. Over the past seven 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.
Kerry Scott is an Associate at Kirk Palmer Associates. In this role she helps to identify, engage and manage a robust candidate community with expertise spanning all functional areas of consumer retail, from marketing and merchandising to finance, human resources and operations.
With nearly a decade of experience supporting executive search teams, Kerry is the ultimate utility player. She joined the firm in 2014 and held multi-faceted positions including Search Coordinator and Operations Manager before being promoted to Associate. She draws on this experience to provide high-touch, detail-oriented service with a passion for creating a best-in-class candidate and client experiences.
With a love for all things interior design, Kerry enjoys spending her free time scouring the internet for the perfect New Jersey house to purchase with her husband, Mike (and hopefully a new puppy!), in which they plan to host many gatherings for family and friends in the near future.
Jason brings more than 20 years of knowledge management experience to Kirk Palmer. Prior to joining the firm in 2021, he was a consultant for several years to a variety of clients, including executive recruiting firms and corporate talent acquisition departments, primarily in the consumer goods sector. His earlier experience includes knowledge management roles at Urban Outfitters and Heidrick & Struggles.
Jason was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, but grew up in North Carolina. He received his Bachelors in Music Performance from Louisiana State University and his MBA in Supply Chain Management from Nova Southeastern University. Jason now lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with his partner and their Staffordshire Bull Terrier. When not finding executives at work, Jason spends much of his spare time finding and researching family on Ancestry.com.