Valerie B. Szymkowicz
Vice President Emeritus
Valerie Szymkowicz is a vice president and senior consultant with Spelman Johnson, a premier executive search firm exclusively committed to serving higher education. Working out of a satellite office in Vermont, Valerie partners with colleges and universities nationwide to conduct searches for senior leaders across a broad range of functional areas, including academic affairs, student affairs, career services, enrollment management, and public safety. A skilled facilitator and talent development practitioner, she also leads the firm’s internal training and development efforts.
Valerie joined Spelman Johnson in November 2002 after providing contract research and consulting services for boutique executive search firms focused primarily on the higher education and consumer products markets. Before entering the search profession in 1999, she worked on campuses for more than 20 years in roles spanning academic advising, experiential education, and career planning. Her higher education experience includes positions at both public and private institutions, including New England College, University of Delaware, University of Vermont, and Middlebury College, where she served for eight years as director of career services.
Regarded by her colleagues as a consummate professional, Valerie has managed well over 200 searches for Spelman Johnson and attends carefully to the craft of each search. She invests considerable time and energy in developing a deep understanding of the client institution, writing compelling documents, sourcing and engaging talented leaders, and building robust candidate pools. As a trusted adviser, she works collaboratively with her clients to plan and execute successful searches, providing deft counsel and expertise throughout all phases of the search process.
Valerie is an active member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the American College Personnel Association, and the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers. With a strong belief in cultivating leadership potential among talented rising stars, Valerie has been an invited presenter at NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education’s Region I Mid-Managers Institute, facilitating discussions on professional development priorities. She regularly addresses national and regional audiences on such topics as career preparation, search management, and onboarding. She earned a BA in natural science/environmental studies from New England College and an MEd in student personnel from the University of Vermont.