Executive Search

Our Ethos

Photo of a large round light bulb glowing in sharp focus in the left foreground with a dark background. To the right, and further back, is a row of several more round glowing lights in soft focus, extending away from the camera

We understand that leadership changes bring both opportunity and risk; the shift can be exciting, the dynamics complex, and the stakes high. Our expertise lies at the intersection of those realities.

Promise54 offers comprehensive search support and a suite of a la carte recruiting services designed to support our client partners with executive transitions. 

We blend broad, meaningful stakeholder engagement with a high-touch, tailored approach anchored in the belief that process matters…and investing in a better process leads to better outcomes.

Most organizations want a diverse senior leadership team. Yet most leadership teams today are largely white.


of Executive Team members are white


of CEOs are white

These numbers are not surprising when you consider that:

Only 3 in 10 organizations have recruits meet with staff with shared backgrounds

Only 4 in 10 organizations have an interviewer from an underrepresented group

Only 4 in 10 organizations have practices to eliminate selection bias

Only 6 in 10 organizations are doing active outreach to underrepresented groups when recruiting

Source: Promise54 Organization Profile DEI Survey

We do things differently, and it shows.

There is one question that we are most often asked, and so we track it carefully and update it here quarterly: what percent of the hires in your searches are leaders of color? The answer is 80%.

We’re proud of that metric, but we don’t think that’s the most important question to ask when choosing a search firm; it’s rooted in a false assumption that the best measure of a search firm’s commitment to diversity is the hire our clients make, and how many of those hires are leaders of color. 

There’s another statistic by which we measure our own success at Promise54: the percentage of leaders of color in the finalist pools we assemble. That number is 70%, and we think it’s a better indicator of our work and our commitment to lead searches that significantly increase the opportunity for leaders of color to be considered and, ultimately, hired. We update this quarterly too, and we hope you’ll hold us to it.



of the leaders in our finalist pools are leaders of color

Leaders whose hire we’re proud to have supported in our last 10 searches

Our unique pricing model enables us to be impartial advisors.

Traditionally, executive search pricing is linked to the compensation of the successful candidate, which can incentivize recruiters to recommend higher salaries and lead to unexpected fees.

Instead, we are focused on supporting you to attract the best candidates without unnecessary or unexpected costs. Therefore, we calculate – and cap – our fees based on the expected length of the engagement, the complexity of the project, and the Promise54 team members involved.

Our tools and approach are designed to promote equity.

Most interview processes are performative and steeped in outdated power dynamics between organizations and candidates. This doesn’t lead to an authentic mutual exploration.

Our job descriptions, performance tasks, referencing, interview format, and communications are all designed to mitigate bias and reduce the influence of white dominant cultural norms. We’re learning and incorporating new lessons with each search, and will bring our best emerging wisdom to our work with you.

Leslie has been excellent to work with on many levels. She is deeply knowledgeable in processes that support equitable hiring. I have learned a lot on the mechanics that support a more transparent, fair, and less biased approach to hiring, from mutual vetting, to competencybased evaluations, to interview structure, to communication with candidates, and more.

Michael Griffith
Executive Director, Breakthrough Central Texas

Monisha is singular in her ability to actively listen, understand a situation from all perspectives, then synthesize not only the key issues, but also connections to prior conversations and even upcoming ones. The result is always a rich conversation after which I feel energized and confident. I look forward to continuing our work together!

National EducationRelated Company

Leslie was tremendous. She was a great listener, collaborator and active thinker, constantly processing and applying things to refine and improve the tools that we used. She took all leads and really pursued them, focusing a great deal of time on rounding out the diversity of the pool. Ultimately, we had two finalists that we could have happily hired in the end.

Board Chair & CEO Search Committee Chair
Bostonbased Charter Management Organization

Monisha is the person I call when grappling with my most complicated leadership decisions. Her combination of wisdom, humor, depth, and ability to tease out nuance has been magical when I’ve gone through professional transitions. Her warmth and incisive questioning prompts breakthroughs in my thinking that enable me to tackle highstakes decisions while getting crystal clear on the values inside of me that are informing those decisions.

Nonprofit CEO

Leslie has helped us through a yearlong CEO search. Her focus on equity and inclusion, especially when recruiting candidates, was extremely important to our goals and future direction. She was also very good at assessing folks’ strengths and areas to probe.

Julie Hudman
Board Member & CEO Search CoChair, Generation Citizen

Many, many things fell behind because of the various transitions caused by COVID-19, but our deliverable did not. I’d never been through a process like this, and I learned so much from Leslie. I could come up with adjectives, adverbs, etc., but the point I’m trying to make is nothing stops this woman—no drama; just results. And did I ever appreciate that…10 stars out of five!

Claudia Miner
Executive Director & CoFounder, Waterford UPSTART

Early on in the process, Leslie and Monisha dug deep into our organizational dynamics and had the courage to speak truth to power. That was inspiring to see! They are also kind human beings who make you feel heard, valued, and listened to.

Senior Leader
NYbased Charter Management Organization

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