Ken Dammeyer, MBA, CPC
Year Joined: 1998
Ken brought both consultative sales and brand marketing experience when he joined O'Connell Group in 1998, where he is passionate about delivering insight, counsel and recruitment expertise to his clients and candidates. Ken started his career with AT&T's General Business Systems Division (now Alcatel-Lucent Technologies), where he progressed rapidly as a leading salesperson. His work in CPG brand management and consumer packaged goods marketing at James River Corporation (now Georgia Pacific) included managing numerous brands including Vanity Fair, Northern Napkins, and Dixie, with a focus on strategic brand positioning and general management. Ken led O'Connell Group's recruiting operations from 2007 until 2009, when he became one of the firm's principals.
Ken graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in marketing and finance, and earned his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
“I am a firm believer that there are not good or bad companies, cultures or people; however, there are absolutely good and bad fits! My expertise is in understanding career paths, candidates and clients, and making not just any match, but the right match where a candidate is stimulated, challenged and successful, and where a client’s needs are fulfilled!”
Year Joined: 1993
Kathy, who has been with O'Connell Group since its inception in 1993, is responsible for overseeing all aspects of operations for O'Connell Group and provides the solid foundation for the firm’s sound health and widely respected business practices. Her CPG and marketing experience prior to joining O’Connell Group includes the Cough/Cold Division of Richardson-Vicks, now P&G; and Trans-Lux Corporation, a world leader in LED displays, where she earned recognition as Top Product Manager for its ticker tape equipment. Kathy's varied operational experience is also rooted in the industrial and technology sectors, previously with Acme United Corporation, a supplier of cutting, measuring and safety products, and Concurrent Computer Corporation, Perkin-Elmer's mainframe computer subsidiary.
“The variety of responsibilities and challenges I have continue to keep my job interesting and rewarding. However, the real value comes from the relationships built with the people I work with, both inside and outside the company. That is what keeps me rooted.”
Kris Holmes, MBA Pinnacle Society
Year Joined: 1995
Throughout more than two decades in executive recruitment, Kris Holmes has built an unparalleled track record of success in the recruitment profession.
In 2016, she was admitted into The Pinnacle Society, an influential consortium of 80 industry-leading recruiters (fewer than 1% of producers in the country) with a history of results. Members have a demonstrated track record of excellence, documented experience and tenure in the recruiting profession, and proven industry-specific expertise that sets them apart from other recruiters.
Kris is passionate about building strong productive relationships, acting as a trusted advisor and mentor, while building her clients’ business and her candidates’ careers. Prior to O’Connell Group, Kris’s decade of experience in retail, consumer packaged goods and durables included some of the most respected brands in their sectors, including Marshall Fields, Johnson & Johnson, and Kraft. Kris continued her marketing career with positions of increasing responsibility in the home furnishings industry with Herman Miller and at Ralston-Purina's Continental Baking Company.
Kris graduated from Tufts University and earned her MMA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
“I attended Kellogg as my goal was to transition into CPG marketing, and I was fortunate to have amazing experiences at each step of my career.
“When Continental Baking was sold, I thought about what I loved doing and realized the “people element” had consistently been the favorite aspect of each of my roles. When I was offered a role with O’Connell Group, it was a natural fit from day one.
“Every day, I get to work with wonderful people, leveraging my knowledge and experience to help others attain their goals. I love our team orientation, long-term focus and being able to make a difference.”
Dixon Smith, MBA, CPC
Year Joined: 1998
Since joining O’Connell Group in 1998, Dixon has a built an outstanding track record as a trusted advisor to companies and CPG professionals by understanding their unique objectives and working toward their achievement. Brand management, consumer insights and customer marketing for some of America’s iconic brands are the bedrock of Dixon’s professional background. These have included Bayer in New York City and Wonder Bread and Hostess Cake for Ralston Purina's Continental Baking Co. in St. Louis. Prior to that, Dixon spent 3.5 years in Ernst & Young's management consulting division as a leader in Customer Connections.
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Dixon earned his MBA at the University at Albany-SUNY while working at Gardner Management Services in Saratoga Springs, New York.
“While working on my MBA, my goal was to be a brand manager in the CPG industry, and I was fortunate to spend the next eight years doing what I love with two great companies.
“At Ernst & Young, I enjoyed working with companies and people to achieve their objectives. But the CPG industry kept calling, and I found my way back as an executive recruiter.
“O’Connell Group offers me the best of all worlds with its wonderful people, a philosophy of relationship building and a valued role in the CPG industry.”
Ron Prestera, CPC
Year Joined: 1998
Ron brought extensive business experience in marketing and marketing services to O'Connell Group when he joined the firm in 1998. Specializing in market research, consumer and shopper insights, and all facets of syndicated and secondary data applications including analytics, Ron draws on his deep understanding of business and how future changes impact the demand for talent and create career opportunities.
His previous experience includes General Foods; PepsiCo; Richardson-Vicks, Carter-Wallace, and Western Union and MoneyGram money transfer. Ron also operated a marketing services agency, giving him a fully rounded perspective on the importance of building marketing and consumer insights teams that will drive brand success.
“I love to create a fit that is a ‘win-win’ relationship between a professional and a company! It starts with establishing a relationship with a candidate especially when they are not actively seeking their next ‘stepping stone’ so I can understand their goals, rationale, and appropriate personal factors; then staying in touch.
“It is gratifying when I call someone a few months after they joined a company through me placing them and hear that it has been a good move professionally and personally, and that the company also sees it as a good long-term fit. How may I help you build your career or help you find the best talent for your organization?”
Virginia Roher, CPC
Year Joined: 2006
Since joining O’Connell Group in 2006, Virginia has built an outstanding reputation for filling searches in consumer insights, shopper insights, advanced analytics and brand management.
Her highly energetic and results-oriented approach is rooted in nearly two decades of sales and marketing experience, starting with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and followed by an international business role as Associate Publisher of Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Having successfully repositioned and revived a dying publication, she transitioned into the direct marketing arena at Memberworks (Vertrue), Trilegiant Affinion Group and EquiSearch Services, heading sales, marketing and new business development in retail, manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, financial and catalog channels.
Virginia is a graduate of John Fisher College in New York.
“After working with the best in the business, I now leverage that experience to help marketing professionals achieve their personal and professional goals, while finding the best talent for the firms we partner with throughout the U.S.
“It’s like running a sprint every day, and I love this race. It is truly gratifying matching up the right people with the right roles.”
Bob Tansill, CPC
Year Joined: 2005
Bob joined O'Connell Group in 2005 bringing with him more than ten years of experience in marketing and sales, business development, strategic account management and event marketing. Over the past decade, he has built a strong reputation among his clients and candidates as a trusted advisor who fully understands his clients' objectives and the unique strengths of each candidate, resulting in successful, long-term hires.
Prior to joining O'Connell Group, Bob was with T-Mobile's National & Strategic Account Division where he was responsible for building new business territories with Fortune 1000/Global 500 companies. Bob started his career in Vail, Colorado, where he combined his interest in working for a high-end luxury resort with his passion for skiing.
Bob is a graduate of Lynchburg College in Virginia.
“I have a passion for creating ideal matches between clients and candidates. At O’Connell Group, we are not about “filling a job” to satisfy a short-term need. We get to know candidates early on in their careers and understand what is most important to them professionally and personally to ensure that any move they make is consistent with their goals and objectives.
“From a client perspective, we are in the business of creating long-term partnerships. By getting to intimately know our clients, we significantly increase our ability to identify individuals who are the best fit for their organization.”
Year joined: 2018
When Clayton joined O’Connell Group, he brought with him more than ten years of experience in brand and digital marketing, sales and business development. Prior to joining O’Connell Group, Clayton began his career in Kansas City, Missouri as a commercial real estate investment sales associate, with $35 million in transactions in his first year, including the second largest sale of 2006. A sense of adventure brought Clayton to South Florida, where he transitioned into marketing, managing brand and creative for a luxury residential real estate firm in Miami. From there he chose to pursue digital marketing and innovation as the digital director for Swire Properties, a global real estate developer and subsidiary of the Swire Group conglomerate, with a focus on brand and digital strategy. Clayton also served as director of marketing and business development for renowned landscape architecture firm, Raymond Jungles, Inc., prior to his relocation back to the Midwest. Clayton is a graduate of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.
“Having worked with recruiters personally throughout my career, I had a general understanding of the profession and the benefit to a candidate or company. Not until I encountered the O’Connell Group did I understand the criticality of the recruiter relationship to a candidate’s successful career development or a company’s ability to build a stellar team. The dedication, care, genuine advice and guidance that the firm provides is unmatched in my experience. The ability to get to know candidates on a personal and professional level, helping them grow and achieve their goals, as well as advise companies on how to identify and attract top talent is what attracted me and drives me.”
Kirsten Horton, MBA
Year Joined: 2019
When Kirsten joined the O’Connell Group, she had nearly two decades of CPG brand management and recruiting experience at companies including Pepperidge Farm, Danone, Procter & Gamble and High Ridge Brands (private equity). Known for collaboration and team building, Kirsten is passionate about creating strong, long-term relationships, based on trust and expertise, to build her clients’ business and her candidates’ careers.
“I earned my MBA from the University of Chicago with the goal of getting into brand management. In my first assignment at Pepperidge Farm, I was the lucky ABM who got to put the smile on the Goldfish cracker. What I enjoyed most throughout my career was the relationships and teams that I built along the way, so making the transition to recruiting was a natural fit. When I was a marketer, I was always impressed with the conversations I had with the O’Connell Group. They consistently maintained a high level of professionalism and provided expertise that helped me meet my professional and personal goals.”
Year joined: 2019
Ashley combines her competitive drive for performance with her passion for connecting people to opportunities that add value to their lives. Prior to joining O’Connell Group, Ashley was responsible for hitting P&L targets and expanding market growth for McKissock Learning. Throughout her career, she has developed strategic networking, business development and digital brand management skills working for family owned, venture capital, and start-up businesses including Answers.com and The Food Network.
Ashley is a summa cum laude graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia, with degrees in English and Women’s & Gender Studies. She is a lifelong competitive tennis player.
“Tennis has been an integral force in my life since I was six years old. That spirit of competition gives me the drive to succeed in helping our candidates and clients achieve their objectives. Every time I come into my office I get a thrill doing something I love—connecting great companies with extraordinary people.”
Heidi Taylor, MBA
Year Joined: 2017
Heidi was delighted to transition her extensive brand management experience to a role where she can work with candidates and companies to find that perfect fit. Having spent over a decade in traditional CPG marketing working on brands like Mrs. Dash, Dos Equis beer, Wesson Oil, and Swiss Miss Cocoa, she understands the importance of building careers and building teams.
Partnering with the O’Connell Group stretches back 15 years for Heidi, when they placed her at her first post-MBA job. “When I thought about transitioning my marketing skills to a role as an Executive Recruiter, there was no other firm I would consider. The philosophy of the O’Connell Group to build relationships and help guide marketers through their career, as well as working with hiring managers to build superior teams, is simply the ‘right way to do business’. A recruiter should be a trusted advisor and O’Connell Group was always that for me. I’m thrilled to be in a position to help companies and candidates achieve their career goals.”
Heidi earned her MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University and her undergraduate degree in mathematics from DePauw University.
Sr. Manager, Operations
Year Joined: 2007
Julie’s experience in human resources and accounting has made a significant contribution to O'Connell Group since she joined the firm in 2007. Her finely tuned organizational, communications, and database technology skills enhance the speed of the sourcing team's efforts and support the effectiveness of the recruiters. Julie began her career with Hoya Vision Care, North America, in accounts payable and benefit accounting before transitioning to serve as Northeast Regional Human Resources Administrator handling HR responsibilities for three labs.
Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent a year studying at St. Petersburg State University's Center for Russian Language and Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“One of the things that is so special about O’Connell Group is our focus on building long-term relationships with our candidates and clients as well as within the organization. I am extremely fortunate to work with a team of talented, focused, dedicated and caring individuals in the business of making a difference in people’s lives.”
Year Joined: 2018
Keaton joined O'Connell Group in 2018, combining his education and skills in business and communications to conduct timely and effective sourcing for O’Connell Group searches. He draws on his previous experiences, utilizing his customer service, data analysis skills, and logistical work to further influence key areas of the business.
Keaton is a graduate of the University of Missouri in Columbia.
Assoc. Recruiter / Admin Assoc.
Year Joined: 2015
Dana joined O’Connell Group in 2015. With nearly 10 years of previous experience in business and marketing, she brings to O’Connell her highly developed client service and organizational skills to support search operations and achieve results for clients.
Dana is a graduate of Pace University with a BA in communications.
Year joined: 2019
Evelyn joined the O'Connell Group's administrative team in 2019. After graduating college in Oklahoma, family brought her to the St. Louis area. Most recently, she was a Project Manager in the textbook publishing field. She brings a high level of customer service and communications experience to the O'Connell Group.
Evelyn is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma with a BA in English.