Our Search professionals
Ellen Heffernan is a Partner of SJG-The Spelman & Johnson Group. SJG-The Spelman & Johnson Group is a national retained executive search firm with a proven history filling leadership positions within higher education. Since its inception in 1991, SJG has assisted virtually every type of higher education institution identify, recruit, and hire senior leadership.
Ellen received her B.A. in economics and government from Smith College. She joined SJG in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions in advancement at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Ellen speaks nationally to professionals in higher education on a variety of topics including leadership development, professional development, effective recruitment processes, and on boarding. In addition to working on search assignments for her clients, Ellen manages the firm's headquarters in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Valerie Szymkowicz received her B.A. in natural science/environmental studies from New England College and her M.Ed. in student personnel from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Vermont. For over 20 years, she worked in higher education at both public and private, research, baccalaureate, and liberal arts institutions, principally in the areas of academic advising, experiential education, and career services.
Valerie joined the executive search industry in 1999 and has served as an associate with SJG since 2002. With a strong belief in cultivating leadership potential among talented rising stars, Valerie has been a guest presenter at the NASPA Region I Mid-Managers Institute facilitating discussion on professional development priorities for the last three years. Valerie's current responsibilities as an SJG senior associate include search management, client and candidate relations, and new business development.
Valerie and her family reside in rural Vermont, where she putters in her garden, takes an occasional schuss down snow-covered mountains, and volunteers as a 4-H Horse Club leader.
Peter Rosenberg received his B.S. in psychology and English from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and his M.Ed. in student personnel administration from Colorado State University. During a career spanning 25 years at higher education institutions across the country, Peter has served on the Executive Board of the Association of College and University Housing Officers - International (ACUHO-I), as president of the Northwest Association of College and University Housing Officers (NWACUHO) and on the faculty of the National Housing Training Institute (NHTI).
Peter joined SJG in 2005, and his current responsibilities include search management, client and candidate relations, and new business development.
Peter lives in the northwest corner of Washington state and spends his free time trail running, hiking in the Cascade Mountains, and sea kayaking with orcas.
Mark Hall earned his B.A. from Wake Forest University, his M.Ed. from University of North Carolina at Greensboro and his MBA from University of Central Florida. Most recently Mark served as President of Campus Entertainment, LLC, a subsidiary company of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA). During a career that spans over twenty years in higher education Mark has served as Assistant Executive Director at NACA, Vice President for Finance & Administration at Columbia College and Director of the university centers at both Wake Forest University and the University of Central Florida. He served two terms as Vice-Chair of the NACA Board of Directors and was President of the Southern Region of the National Association of College Auxiliary Services. Mark joined SJG in January 2011 and his current responsibilities include search management, client and candidate relations, and new business development.
Kendra Dane earned her M.S. from National - Louis University, and her B.A. from Mundelein College (now part of Loyola University). During a career in higher education that spans over 30 years, Ms. Dane has most recently served as Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prior to moving to St. Paul, she served as Executive Director of Admissions and Marketing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) as well as the Executive Director of Enrollment Services at SAIC. Ms. Dane began her career in higher education at National-Louis University (formerly National College of Education) in Evanston, Illinois where she served as an Associate Vice President for Financial Aid for many years. She has been active in the Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (ILASFAA), held leadership positions in Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA) and served in a volunteer capacity as a financial aid trainer with the U.S. Department of Education. Her current responsibilities with SJG – The Spelman & Johnson Group include search management, client and candidate relations, and new business development.
Heather Larabee earned her B.S. in Marketing from the University of West Florida, her M.Ed. from the University of Florida and her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California. Ms. Larabee has most recently served as Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Campus Activities in the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Southern California. Prior to this, Ms. Larabee served as the Assistant Director for Cultural Arts & Activities. Ms. Larabee came to the University of Southern California from Francis Marion University where she served as the Director of Student Life in the Division of Student Affairs. She also held the position of Program Coordinator in the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Tennessee. Ms. Larabee has published several articles and been a presenter at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) national conferences. Ms. Larabee's current responsibilities with SJG – The Spelman & Johnson Group include search management, client and candidate relations, and new business development.