08/10/17 - In a New Book, Managing Associate Matthew Bunting Shares Insights with Academic Librarians

Matthew Bunting, a Managing Associate at Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, shares the perspective of a seasoned search consultant with today’s academic librarians in a new book, Leading in the New Academic Library (Libraries Unlimited, 2017). This collection, edited by three highly experienced academic librarians, Becky Albitz (Marist College), Christine Avery (Penn State), and Diane Zabel (Penn State), offers advice on leadership to help academic librarians of all experience levels understand how to achieve success in this rapidly evolving culture. 

“I was happy to offer leadership guidance that might not be covered in traditional textbooks on library management and academic librarianship,” says Matt.

Matt's contribution to the collection, titled “Looking Behind the Curtain: Perspectives of an Executive Search Consultant,” is a must-read for any academic librarian who seeks to understand the hiring process for higher-level positions. Matt’s perspective reflects years of search experience and particular insight gleaned from successful librarian searches conducted for Carleton College, Lafayette College, and Skidmore College. Prior to joining Storbeck/Pimentel, Matt earned a Master’s degree in Journalism from Boston University and worked in writing and publishing.

Firm-wide, Storbeck/Pimentel is active in this space, most recently finding new leaders for the libraries of Binghamton University, The College of Wooster, Dartmouth College, Gonzaga University, Haverford College, St. Lawrence University, Tulane University, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Virginia, among others. 

07/21/17 - SPA Associate Alyssa Perez Speaks at 2017 NAFA Conference

Alyssa Perez, an Associate at Storbeck/Pimentel, spoke Wednesday, July 19 on a panel at the 2017 National Association of Fellowships Advisors Conference in Philadelphia. NAFA invited Alyssa to join panelists from Tulane, Carnegie Mellon, Duke, and American universities to discuss “Professional Paths for Fellowships Advisors: How We Got Here and Where We Want to Go.”  

"I was thrilled to contribute to this conversation at a time when the field of fellowship advising is thinking more deeply about ways to professionalize and create pipelines," says Alyssa.  "One of the biggest questions that came up was a question about credentials: Master's or PhD? My answer is that there is no one answer -- it really depends on the culture of the institution."

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates recently partnered with the University of Richmond in their search for a Director of Scholars and Fellowships, placing Dana Kuchem in the role. Sue May led the search with Alyssa Perez. 

06/22/17 - Shelly Weiss Storbeck Shares Executive Search Wisdom in a New Book by Frank Sesno

Managing Partner Shelly Weiss Storbeck talks about successful interviewing of executive-level candidates in a new book by Emmy Award-winning journalist Frank Sesno, titled Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change (2017).

"I'd met Shelly years before when I was a candidate in a search," Sesno says. "She is a keen judge of character and a realist about what it takes to be a leader in academia, where every stakeholder needs to be heard." Like Storbeck, Sesno understands the challenges facing leaders in higher education. "Change is difficult when tenured faculty, defiant students, helicopter parents, and tradition-loving alumni have a say. There can be as many constiutencies on campus as there are in a good-sized city." 

Sesno describes the process by which Storbeck leads potential candidates through multiple rounds of questioning in the first screening before recommending them to the next phase of the search. "Shelly cuts right to the chase," he notes admiringly. "She asks for specifics." Later in the process, "If red flags have come up through reference checks, Shelly ask about those, too. She asks artfully, seeking candor and reflection rather than defensiveness or evasion." Storbeck herself adds, "Self-awareness is essential to being a successful leader."

A former anchor, White House Correspondent, and talk show host on CNN, Frank Sesno has interviewed heads of state including five U.S. Presidents and many other influential figures such as Bill Gates, Benyamin Netanyahu, Condoleezza Rice, Anderson Cooper, Karl Rove, Hillary Clinton, and Colin Powell. He has interviewed scientists, celebrities, and best-selling authors along with leaders from a wide range of industries.

Sesno currently serves as Director of The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, where he teaches The Art of the Interview in addition to classes on journalism ethics, documentary, and sustainability reporting. 

05/05/17 - Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates ranked highly by Forbes

In Forbes' newest ranking of "America's Best Executive Recruiting Firms," Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates takes the #18 spot out of 250 -- the highest rank among firms specializing in higher education search. 

Forbes worked with analytics firm Statista to compile the list. Statista invited thousands of recruiters, employees who have worked with recruiters over the past three years, and HR managers to take an online survey. The survey asked them to recommend up to 10 recruiting firms (excluding their own), and it gathered a total of 20,000 recommendations. The companies with the most recommendations ranked highest. 

To see the full list and read about Forbes' methodology, click here.

02/14/17 - New York Times: Pace University Set to Name Head of Oberlin as President

Pace University names Marvin Krislov, president of Oberlin, as new president. Read the New York Times article and the Pace announcement.

11/04/16 - New faces on campus: Students of all races welcome first black presidents to largely white colleges

New faces on campus: Students of all races welcome first black presidents to largely white colleges. Read the full article here.

08/05/16 - Rhodes Memphis Business Journal Article

Shelly Storbeck and Sue May are assisting Rhodes College in the search for its next president. Read the full story here.

06/13/16 - Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar College hires Storbeck/Pimentel to assist in presidential search. Read the full story here.

03/01/16 - NYT

Shelly Storbeck contributes to New York Times piece on the College Presidency. Read the full discussion here.

02/17/14 - President/CEO at Colonial Williamsburg

SPA retained to conduct search for President/CEO at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. See additional information here.

11/20/13 - Remaking College, Innovation and the Liberal Arts

Shelly Storbeck contributes to book: Remaking College, Innovation and the Liberal Arts. See additional information here.

10/21/13 - ACE Advancing to the Presidency

ACE Advancing to the Presidency workshop invites Shelly Storbeck to participate

09/20/13 - Women Administrators in Higher Education annual conference

SPA principal, Sue May, speaks at the Women Administrators in Higher Education annual conference in Washington, DC

08/14/13 - Philadelphia Inquirer article

Shelly Storbeck interviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Read the full article here.

03/12/13 - CHE Article by Jeff Selingo

March 8, 2013
Shelly Storbeck quoted in CHE article about evolving College presidents.  Read the full article here.

02/18/13 - Colby College

February 18, 2013

SPA is pleased to work with Colby College on its upcoming presidential search.

02/16/13 - ACE Annual Meeting 2013

February 16, 2013

Storbeck/Pimentel will be sponsoring a session at the upcoming ACE Annual Conference in Washington, DC.  We hope to see you there!

11/12/12 - Bryn Mawr Graduate Career Symposium

November 12, 2012

Managing Partner, Shelly Storbeck, spoke at the Bryn Mawr Graduate Career Symposium on November 10, regarding her career path, how her academic training enhanced her career, and provided advice on what hiring managers and committees are seeking in candidates.


10/31/12 - The San Diego Foundation

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates recently completed a search for the San Diego Foundation, finding their founding Vice President and Executive Director of the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement. The San Diego Foundation works to improve the quality of life in the San Diego region by providing leadership for effective philanthropy by building enduring assets and promoting community solutions through research and actions that advance the common good. To this end, the Foundation’s new Malin Burnham Center aims to serve as the region’s principal convener and resource for research and policy dialogues and training of young leaders, and its Executive Director needed to work with individuals and organizations of numerous industries – including government, business, philanthropy, academia, and the media – to solve various regional challenges.

Due to the unique nature of the position, the search called upon our Firm’s coast-to-coast reach and from our work experience and networks in four distinct sectors: government (Federal, state, and local), academe, the corporate sector, and the philanthropy and foundation worlds. The recruiting effort was similar to doing multiple searches because of the diversity of the environments that necessitated contact. By the end, we had connected with corporate chief executives, White House staff, members of the California Governor’s Cabinet, academic leaders, and concerned citizens across the nation. Hundreds of high quality people were considered with a high level of gender, ethnic, and sexual orientation diversity across the candidate pool, all of whom recognized the promise and visionary approach in the San Diego Foundation and the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement.

The search ultimately led to the selection of BongHwan “BH” Kim, General Manager for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE), who had been appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2007. Kim, who holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, worked with DONE to improve government responsiveness to local concerns through a citywide network of 95 separate neighborhood councils. He sees leadership of the Malin Burnham Center as a “very compelling opportunity” to build an internationally recognized model for civic participation. Kim explains, “Citizens are constantly reacting to issues rather than engaging in a process to understand what’s at stake and then working out solutions. Unless you pay attention to the process, the quality of the decision down the line won’t be as good and you will actually erode the process.”

Bob Kelly, President and CEO of the San Diego Foundation, stated, “Mr. Kim has proven to be a tremendous resource to each organization and community in which he’s become involved, and we believe that his leadership will help the entire San Diego region move in the right direction for our people.” SPA Partner Will Gates adds, “At DONE, Mr. Kim had years of practice ‘pushing a wheelbarrow full of live frogs across a rocky minefield, while under hostile fire.’ He did so successfully, over many years, with tremendous grace.”

SPA is proud of the success of this search.  The work with the San Diego Foundation called upon the firm’s collective experience and expertise to reach across the nation and beyond in a variety of professional fields.  SPA looks forward to doing similar, meaningful work for other communities, foundations and philanthropies and delivering the level of quality and diversity executive leadership that have been the standard of the firm’s higher education practice for years.

10/16/12 - University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Search

UW-Madison has selected SPA to assist with its next Chancellor search.  Additional information can be found on the UW-Madison website.

10/03/12 - Kenyon College

Kenyon College has retained SPA to assist with its presidential search.  Read the announcement here.

09/10/12 - Carnegie Mellon University

SPA is pleased to be assisting Carnegie Mellon University with its presidential search.

07/05/12 - iPads and Interviews: Why the Two Don’t Mix

Shelly Weiss Storbeck recently contributed an article to The Chronicle of Higher Education, commenting on the use of technology during the interview process.  Read the article here.

04/23/12 - Gilman School

We are pleased to assist Gilman School with its head of school search.  Additional information can be found on our Active Searches list and on Gilman's website.

04/05/12 - SPA Senior Associate, Susan Basalla May, speaks at UPENN

Sue May has been invited to speak to graduate students and faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania on April 5. The title of her talk is “Insider Tips from a Ph.D. Headhunter: How Ph.D.’s Can Find New Careers Outside of Academia.”

04/03/12 - The Future of the Liberal Arts College in America

Shelly Weiss Storbeck will be speaking at the upcoming conference “The Future of the Liberal Arts College in America and its Leadership Role in Education around the World” sponsored by Lafayette College and Swarthmore College with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  The conference is set to take place April 9 – 11, 2012.  More information can be found at

04/03/12 - SPA Consulting Associate, Ruth Shoemaker Wood, releases new book.

Consulting Associate, Ruth Shoemaker Wood, has released Transforming Campus Culture: Frank Aydelotte’s Honors Experiment at Swarthmore College (University Of Delaware Press).  Additional information about Ruth’s book can be found at      

02/17/12 - Interviews by Video: Suggestions for Employers and Candidates

Interviews by Video: Suggestions for Employers and Candidates
By Lesley Boyd

First round interviews for administrative roles have transitioned over the past couple decades from phone interviews to in-person “airport” interviews and, increasingly, some video interviews.   While not as satisfying as an in-person introduction and interaction, the increasing quality of video interviews as well as the relative low (or no) cost price point and convenience, particularly for the candidate, make it an attractive substitution.  Skype is the most popular provider, but there are many other options such as Google video chat, Facetime, ooVoo, Voxox,  and iTV.  Your campus IT group likely has a preferred provider.

We recommend interviews by video for the first round particularly when flying candidates to your location is simply not in the search budget.  Through trial and error, and a few humorous gaffes (a candidate’s camera stuck on zoom, giving us a close up of only a magnified eye . . .), we have developed a series of recommendations.

For the institution and search committee:

-Your IT office should take the lead on the logistics in terms of set up for the committee.  Even if the video interview is taking place an off-site location, it will be significantly more economical to have your IT department set up equipment there rather than rent – at exorbitant rates – equipment that your institution already owns.

-A test connection should be conducted prior to the meeting to work out any hiccups or unfamiliarity on either side. The institution should also test from the location where the interview will take place.

-Be sure the camera is positioned to allow the candidate to see you.  Perhaps as committee members ask a question they can approach the camera, or if you have a camera with zoom, it can focus in as s/he speaks. 

-Be patient and expect awkward pauses due to technology delays or lack of body language cues.

-Consider the length of the interview; while a two hour in-person interview may seem just about right, it may be excessively long in a video format particularly if the technology is not at its best.

-To prepare for the worst case scenario, have a conference phone available.  If the bandwidth or other aspects of the technology simply do not work, you can have the conversation with the candidate by phone.

For candidates:

-Become familiar with the technology and software if you have not already, ideally before you even have an interview scheduled.  Have a video chat with your spouse, colleague, friend, or student.  The more you use it, the more comfortable you will be during an interview, and you will be better able to focus on the questions and the substance rather than be distracted and, potentially, distraught by the technology.

-Do the test connection from the same location and at approximately the same time as the planned interview, in order to most closely simulate the circumstances and internet speed. Bandwidth, lighting, and sound vary, and a successful test at the office may not provide a successful interview from home. 

-Make sure the camera angle is straight forward, rather than looking up, down or sideways at you.

-During the interview, be sure to look at the camera rather than your computer screen.  Looking at the camera is your way of making eye contact with the search committee.

-In addition to dressing professionally, as you would for any interview, be mindful of your backdrop and make sure it is tidy and presentable.

As there are frequently initial glitches or adjustments that will be necessary, the key to a successful video interview – for committee and candidate – is to remain positive and flexible. 

Ms. Boyd is an Associate Principal with Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates and former Director of the A.T. Kearney Education Practice. She has 18 years of experience in higher education executive search, having worked on over 100 searches at the presidential, vice presidential and dean level.


01/27/12 - SPA Senior Associate, Susan Basalla May, speaks at Michigan State University.

Susan Basalla May will be the keynote speaker at the annual non-academic careers conference sponsored by Michigan State University Career Services on January 28. Her talk is titled, “A Ph.D. Headhunter’s Top Five Insider Tips for Finding a Job Outside Academia.” Basalla May is the co-author of “So What Are You Going to Do With That?: Finding Careers Outside Academia,” published by University of Chicago Press. A revised edition of her book will be released in 2013.

01/16/12 - SPA is pleased to announce two senior-level staff promotions.

SPA is pleased to announce two internal moves - Steve Leo’s to Vice President, and Susan VanGilder to Principal.

Steve Leo has been a founding principal with Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates. A seasoned professional in executive search, Steve has worked at firms both domestically and abroad with over 150 searches completed.

More about Steve Leo can be found at his SPA Team biography:

Susan VanGilder has extensive executive search experience as an independent search consultant and through her time with other international executive search firms. Susan has also worked extensively with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), including as Manager of the information center and Liaison to the Board on career opportunities for minorities and women.

More about Susan VanGilder can be found at her SPA Team biography:

Congratulations to both Steve and Susan!

01/13/12 - Expert on Access Becomes Michigan State’s Education Dean

SPA placement, Don Heller, on becoming the next Dean of Education at Michigan State.  See the full article here.

11/16/11 - Career Corner

Shayne Lightner brings over twenty years experience in senior level recruiting and has been responsible for conducting senior level CEO, COO, CFO, etc. search work for a wide range of organizations and companies globally. He has been a Managing Director with two major international executive search firms and has successfully conducted over 170 senior level searches. Shayne brings to executive search specific experience in the non-profit, higher education, technology, new media, and interactive ventures industries.  He has created, built and managed an in-house strategic executive recruiting and research department from scratch and worked with a diverse client base.  

Paul Rubin joined Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates as a research analyst in the fall of 2011.
Prior to joining the firm, Paul received his master of science in education, with a concentration in higher education, from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Through this program, he was exposed to subject areas within the field including academic governance, higher education policy, and organizational change. While completing his master degree, Paul also was the graduate assistant in admissions and financial aid at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Previously, Paul was an enrollment management counselor at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania. In this position he managed all aspects of the admission process for high school students from Northern New Jersey and New York, underrepresented minority applicants, and select transfer students.

11/08/11 - The Washington Post: Higher-ed leadership Roundtable

Paul Portney, Dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and a placement of Chuck Bunting and Steve Leo, writes about the crisis of leadership in Higher Education.  Read the full story here.

08/24/11 - Preparing Your Resume for Administrative Positions

Preparing Your Resume for Administrative Positions

By Lesley Boyd

When is the last time you examined your resume with a critical eye?  Even if not actively pursuing other opportunities, you should ideally update your CV or resume once a year to capture position changes, new responsibilities, or recent accomplishments.  More specifically, if you are looking seriously at administrative positions, there are guidelines to upgrading your faculty CV or staff oriented resume that will guide you in substantiating your administrative experiences and accomplishments.  While many candidates spend hours writing beautiful (and lengthy!) cover letters, you should first devote this level of attention to building a thorough and clear resume.

As you likely know from search committee work at your own institution, an initial review of applications will include dozens or even hundreds of candidates.  This initial evaluation is based heavily upon conclusions and opinions derived from reading your materials, particularly if an executive search firm is not working with the search committee.  Your goal in submitting a resume and cover letter is to advance your candidacy to the next stage of the process, typically an in-person interview. 

Remember that the resume is a factual document and, as such, all titles, dates of employment, and educational degrees as well as articles, presentations, and other information presented must be accurate and verifiable.  Frequently, finalist candidates are surprised during background checks when dates of employment are off by a month or two (a minor issue) or, occasionally, degrees are not verifiable (a major concern!).  You likely have a basic CV or resume already with educational degrees, articles, presentations and institutional service, complying with your institution’s format preferences for tenure or other performance reviews. If you are looking towards administrative roles, however, include your relevant experience in the front end of the resume, immediately after your degrees rather than several pages into the document. 

It is crucial to realize that the resume, rather than the cover letter, is the first document reviewed by shrewd search committee members and search firm consultants.  Because it provides information on the current position and institution, previous roles and educational degrees, we begin with the resume to determine whether the minimum requirements of the position are met, such as an earned doctorate or terminal degree, and/or specific number of years of experience.  The CV is the principal document in the portfolio submitted by a candidate, even when there are other materials such as a cover letter, nomination(s), or other addenda. 

Secondly, be mindful that search committees are comprised of a wide range of constituents and each of these members—faculty, trustee, staff, student, community representative—will bring a slightly different perspective to the review process.  Each member’s background is varied.  In some cases, a committee member’s exposure to higher education may be focused on a singular institution.  Don’t assume, therefore, that the committee will be familiar with your current (or previous) institution, even if it is prominent or highly ranked.  And, if your institution has some degree of “name recognition,” the perceptions of it may be outdated, erroneous, or limited to a specific, well-known program or athletic team.

We recommend that your resume start, therefore, with a brief description of the institution in order to properly orient the reader to the context in which you are operating.  The description could include, potentially, Carnegie classification, enrollment, location, and other distinguishing characteristics as appropriate such as external research funding, number of campuses, highlights of recent institutional mission, accomplishments, and/or highly ranked programs.  One brief example might be “XYZ institution is an urban research university enrolling more than 30,000 students as part of a state system of higher education.  There are 12 colleges, including the state’s only medical school.  Annual external research funding exceeds $ZZZ million.”

Similarly, it is paramount to include a full description of the position in which you currently serve.  Too frequently, a resume only includes a title and a brief (if any) description of responsibilities, leaving committee members unclear or even puzzled as to the duties and scope of authority.  Since even standard position titles such as “Chair,” “Dean,” “Vice President,” can be used for positions that in fact have very different scopes of responsibilities, it is essential to explain further.  Otherwise, it will not be clear to the reader that, as chair, you have budget responsibilities on your campus; or, that as Executive Director, you report to the president and are a part of the senior staff; or that as Dean, you are the chief academic officer at your institution.  We encourage candidates to include details such as:  reporting relationships (whom you report to and the number and/or titles of those reporting directly to you); scale of the area you oversee, such as the size of faculty and/or staff, size of the budget, and other important statistical metrics; and primary position responsibilities and duties.  You can think of these specifics as inherent to the position; in other words, the same essential description of the role your predecessor held. 

Finally, in addition to the factual description of your current position, it is essential to record your accomplishments while in the role.  This listing will likely include items that you were solely responsible for, entries where you were a part of the team, and perhaps even efforts that you oversaw in your leadership role.  You can think of these accomplishments as the results of your leadership and your contribution to the position.

The resume is likely only one part of the materials provided for consideration.  Does your enhanced CV include the descriptions, details, and accomplishments as suggested? If yes, you are ready to turn to the cover letter, which affords you the opportunity to make a persuasive connection between your experience and the requirements of the position. 

Ms. Boyd is an Associate Principal with Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates and former Director of the A.T. Kearney Education Practice. She has 18 years of experience in higher education executive search, having worked on over 100 searches at the presidential, vice presidential, and dean level.