June 28, 2023 – Diversified Search Group (DSG), a leading search firm backed by private equity firm ShoreView Industries, has announced that managing directors, Jim Sirianni, and Susan VanGilder, will co-lead the firm’s education practice following the retirement of its current leader, Shelly Storbeck, who will remain with the firm as a strategic advisor. “Over the last three years, our education practice has grown significantly, and it’s a testament to Shelly’s leadership and our tremendous team who serve as trusted advisers to some of the nation’s most prestigious educational institutions,” said Aileen Alexander, CEO of Diversified Search Group. “We are delighted that Susan and Jim will be leading our highly recognized education practice. They will work closely with our colleagues to continue delivering high-quality service and outcomes for our clients.”
“Since founding Storbeck Search in 2008 and through its acquisition by Diversified Search Group in 2020, I have been enormously proud of the work that my colleagues and I have accomplished together in service of higher education and independent schools,” said Ms. Storbeck. “I am turning toward this next chapter with a full heart and great confidence in my dear colleagues Jim and Susan.”
For more than two decades, Dr. Sirianni has developed an understanding and a reputation in higher education. His background includes leadership roles in professional development programming for presidents, provosts, and chief business officers and teaching higher education leadership and management. Before entering executive search, Dr. Sirianni led professional development programming for presidents, provosts, and chief business officers at the American Council on Education (ACE).
With over 30 years of executive search experience, Ms. VanGilder has placed leaders for various higher education and non-profit institutions worldwide. She has led searches for presidents, provosts, vice presidents, deans, and senior leaders in a broad range of institutions, and has a high level of repeat work with clients. Ms. VanGilder is based in the District of Columbia metro area but has lived and worked in Hawaii, Germany, and Belgium.
As a strategic advisor to the education practice, Ms. Storbeck will work closely with Dr. Sirianni, Ms. VanGilder, and the rest of the team. Diversified Search Group’s education practice focuses on executive-level searches on behalf of colleges, universities, independent, charter, boarding schools, and education-related non-profit organizations. In 2021, 46 percent of its placements were persons of color, and 56 percent were women.
Diversified Search Group is a family of recruiting firms serving specialized sectors. The firm was founded almost five decades ago by Judith M. von Seldeneck for the express purpose of placing diverse candidates in client organizations. It is today the largest U.S. female-owned and founded firm in the executive recruitment industry. It is comprised of a combination of specialty practices with deep industry expertise under industry recognized brands, including Alta Associates, BioQuest, Koya Partners, Grant Cooper, and Storbeck Search.
Earlier this year, Diversified Search Group acquired Yardstick Management, a black-owned management consulting and executive search firm. As a part of this acquisition, Yardstick Management Institute, a specialized leadership program designed for leaders and senior executives, also became part of Diversified Search Group.
Diversified Search Group Acquires Alta Associates
Increasingly, organizations of all sizes are awakening to the perils posed by cyberattacks. In the latest deal facilitated by Hunt Scanlon Ventures, Diversified Search Group has acquired Alta Associates, a search firm specializing in cybersecurity, IT risk management, and data privacy and Executive Women’s Forum, a professional membership organization for women in cybersecurity, risk management, and privacy. Let’s go inside the latest deal.
“With this acquisition, we are continuing to advance Diversified Search Group’s purpose and decades-long commitment to investing in our clients’ long-term success as they respond to the evolving environment with a focus on innovation, resiliency, and growth,” said Ms. Alexander. “Yardstick offers unmatched expertise and scalable, actionable solutions to clients who are looking to create more inclusive cultures and achieve higher levels of engagement and performance.”
Headquartered in Atlanta, Yardstick Management brings extensive expertise in management consulting and data-driven business solutions. Yardstick’s team has a track record of providing organizational strategy, diversity, equity, inclusion consulting and solutions, and executive search expertise to organizations across multiple industries. Their clients span hundreds of companies, non-profit and social impact organizations, and higher education institutions. The firm was founded in 2012.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media