Our Team


Savvy, Insightful and Experienced

Our consultants are seasoned search experts with specific knowledge and experience in the industries they serve. We limit our number of engagements to ensure outstanding personal service for each client. While you enjoy a single point of contact from start to finish, you also benefit from our entire team of professionals, directors, advisors and global partners dedicated to delivering results. Our team has the knowledge, the skills and the diplomacy to secure, develop and retain world-class talent.

We possess both the industry expertise and the instincts to find the ideal fit for our clients. We don’t leverage to junior staff. We personally conduct every search from start to finish. We tackle the tough-to-fill positions, and we take pride in providing our clients with responsive service that makes the recruitment process as seamless and efficient as possible. Most importantly, our professionals are passionate about results, presenting and placing candidates who will perform.

Keith Pearson Chairman, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
  • C-Suite Leadership
  • Board Search
  • Private Equity
  • Financial Officers
Renee Arrington President & Chief Operating Officer
  • CIO / CTO
  • C-Suite Leadership
  • Board Search
  • Technology & FinTech
Cortland Kelly Grynwald, J.D. Vice President
  • CLOs and GCs
  • In-House Counsel
  • Compliance, Risk, Legal Ops
  • Board Search
Jill Pearson Principal
  • IT Operations
  • Marketing & PR
  • Digital & Social Media
  • Latin America Operations
Judy Stubbs Vice President
  • sales & marketing
  • human resources
  • direct selling
  • general management
Lisa Thompson LPC, PCC Vice President
  • leadership development
  • management assessment
  • human resources
  • Executive Coaching
Heather Joiner CRA Search Consultant
  • Finance
  • Private Equity
  • Human Resources
  • Direct Selling
Scott Robson Search Consultant
  • Technology
  • Consumer
  • Industrial
  • Healthcare

Global Offices

Transforming Leadership Worldwide

IIC Partners Logo black
Pearson Partners is an independent member of IIC Partners, a Top 10 global executive search organization. Our expert consultants, connected across 40 offices worldwide, partner with senior executives and board directors to transform businesses and solve complex leadership challenges. Our global reach allows our clients to seamlessly tap into proven retained executive search and leadership consultants regardless of geography. Our multi-national clients can quickly source and hire the right candidates worldwide from a global talent pool with cross-border, international experience and local market expertise.

We are deeply embedded and extensively networked in our local markets. We use our expertise in designing human capital solutions to match the right leaders to the right opportunities. Underlying our approach is a strong commitment to diverse, equitable and inclusive hiring practices. IIC Partners is a partnership of independent executive search and leadership consulting firms led by an elected board of directors. Our thriving global network of 450 consultants operates as one team, collaborating closely on cross-border search assignments, exchanging industry knowledge and sharing best practices. The independence of our firms allows us to be highly responsive to client needs and design bespoke talent solutions tailored to your unique culture, organization structure and market position.

IIC Partners global offices map

Board of Directors

Unlike many retained search firms and privately owned companies, Pearson Partners International is guided by a board of directors and a board of advisors comprising renowned external industry leaders. These knowledgeable professionals offer input that helps govern and guide our policies while providing insights into current industry trends.

Keith Pearson Chairman, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder
  • C-Suite Leadership
  • Board Search
  • Private Equity
  • Financial Officers
Renee Arrington President & Chief Operating Officer
  • CIO / CTO
  • C-Suite Leadership
  • Board Search
  • Technology & FinTech

Advisory Board

Pearson Partners is grateful to its advisory board of thought leaders for their business insight and industry-specific acumen as well as assistance in forging business relationships. The board of advisors meets quarterly to review Pearson Partners’ business progress and provide counsel to ensure long-term success.

Robert A. Estrada

Senior Advisor, Chairman Emeritus | Ex-Officio

Estrada Hinojosa & Company, Inc.
Fort Worth, Texas

Learn more about Bob in our Searchlight profile

Robert Estrada joined Pearson Partners’ Advisory Board in 2007. Mr. Estrada has built a national reputation as a leading expert in tax-exempt securities and investment banking through his distinguished bond law practice. He is a founding partner of Estrada Hinojosa. Over the course of his career, he has participated in numerous municipal bond financing projects across the United States.

Mr. Estrada’s extensive experience has been tapped by many prestigious institutions and organizations. He was previously on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and was also a member of the Board of Regents for the University of Texas System. As a respected leader, his industry peers elected him to the Board of Directors of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, where he served as Chairman. Mr. Estrada also served as Chairman of the Municipal Advisory Council of Texas and a member of the Board of Directors for the Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae) in Washington, D.C.

He is an active member of the Texas Bar Association and has been recognized for his volunteer work with numerous civic, cultural arts, and community-based organizations. In recognition of his accomplishments and his significant contributions to the community, Mr. Estrada has been named one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in America” two times by Hispanic Business Magazine.

Custis Hoge

Retired Financial Printing Executive & Investment Banker

Toppan Merrill, LLC
Dallas, Texas

Custis Hoge joined Pearson Partners’ advisory board in January 2019. He was a senior sales executive in the financial printing business for over 28 years, working with C-suite and public company executives, investment bankers, certified public accountants, private equity firms and corporate/transactional attorneys. Previously, Custis was an investment banker for 17 years, the last 12 years of which were with Rauscher Pierce Refsnes in Dallas.

Custis was a co-founder and director of CEO Netweavers, a co-founder and director of TeXchange Dallas and TeXchange Austin, and a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors TriCities Chapter in Austin. Previously, he served on the boards of Fidelity National Financial, Paragon Communications Systems and Trust America Service Corp.

Custis earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Maryland. He has been married for 47 years and has two grown children and four grandchildren.

Robert J. Potter, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer

R.J. Potter Company
Irving, Texas

Learn more about Bob in our Searchlight profile

Dr. Robert J. Potter joined Pearson Partners’ Advisory Board in 2007. Dr. Potter is president and chief executive officer of R. J. Potter Company, a consulting firm dedicated to helping optimize business performance. He serves on the board of directors and as an active member of the audit or compensation committees for Zebra Technologies, Molex and Cree as well as private companies SpeedFC and The Bradshaw Group.

Bob formerly served as president and CEO of Datapoint where he led the computer company’s turnaround to profitability by improving product introductions, marketing and customer service. He also served as group vice president of Nortel Networks where he helped raise sales to over $1.2 billion, introduced the Meridian line and oversaw the operations of some 6,000 employees. Earlier he served as senior vice president and chief technology officer with International Harvester, division president with Xerox and research manager with IBM.

Bob serves as an active business and technology consultant to investors, private firms and public companies. He supports companies in reaching business and financial goals by providing strategy and analysis to help improve performance, profitability and valuations.

Deborah G. Stanford
Dallas, Texas

Deborah brings 35 years of P&L management, workforce transformation, operational leadership, governance and public accounting tax expertise to the corporate boardroom. Her professional and non‐profit executive track record includes compelling examples of building new businesses, driving revenue and profit growth and implementing transformative strategies and technology builds.

As a former senior partner and business leader with EY, Deborah scaled tax businesses while managing and implementing tax planning strategies and tax compliance processes for large multinational clients. With a reputation as a highly creative, innovative and inclusive leader, Deborah solves the most complex business and strategic matters, consistently transforming cultures, relationships and outcomes. She is highly regarded for her exceptionally inquisitive and collaborative approach that unites senior management teams and board members around visionary solutions and strategies. Her deep investment in both people and processes, combined with her tax technical expertise and global network of connections, position her to immediately contribute to board oversight roles.

Deborah has significant experience as a board member and senior advisor, providing strategic direction on governance topics including ethics and compliance, business strategy, succession planning, executive compensation, strategic planning, board effectiveness and diversity & inclusion. Deborah served as a member of EY’s Americas Ethics Oversight Board as well as EY’s National Tax Partner Forum. She served as board chair of the North Texas Chapter of March of Dimes and was recognized as an “Outstanding Board Member.” She served as Vice President – Development for the Dallas Children’s Theater board and served on the executive committee of the Board of Junior Achievement of Dallas. She also served as chair of the SMU Accounting Advisory Board.

Deborah directly contributed to the transformation and growth of EY into a $45B professional services firm that has been recognized on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list for 23 years. She led EY’s Southwest Region Federal Specialty Services practice, Tax Operations practice and Retail & Consumer Products market segment with P&L, market and talent responsibility with over 200 professionals and revenue in excess of $50M. She set new strategy for growth, operations and go-to-market resulting in significant revenue and headcount growth, and for which she was recognized with EY Driver Award. She profitably managed book of business for one of the firm’s largest global clients with over
$20 million in annual sales and revenue. She also originated and grew client relationships that became major accounts for EY.

Deborah is a recognized and sought-after thought leader, speaker and facilitator on the topics of women’s leadership, tax technical issues and high-performing teams. She advocates and sponsors diversity and inclusion and is consistently recognized for demonstrating outstanding and inclusive leadership. She earned multiple firm awards, including People Most Valuable Player and EY Chairman’s Values Award Nominee. She founded EY’s Women Tax Leader Forum and sponsored and developed numerous diverse professionals for promotion into the partnership.

Beyond Deborah’s business endeavors, she has a strong passion for building community in the city of Dallas, where she and her family reside. She is active in her church and on several nonprofit boards.

Mahesh S. Shetty, CPA, MBA, FCA, CGMA, CITP

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

ILE Homes
Dallas, Texas

Mahesh S. Shetty is a strategic and effective leader with a successful track record of monetizing financial and operational insights to maximize profitability and build shareholder value. He blends his financial, administrative and operational expertise as a C-level executive to organize and bring discipline to drive innovation, efficiency and growth. Excelling at both managing and leading people, Mahesh has a wealth of experience collaborating with boards of directors and private equity firms in real estate, construction, technology, manufacturing and service sectors. He is an excellent speaker and communicator and has an exceptional ability to articulate a vision. Mahesh has worked on three continents and has led multi-national teams.

Currently, Mahesh is the CEO of ILE Homes, a single-family rental investment firm based in Dallas, Texas, that is committed to providing quality affordable housing and making a meaningful impact in communities across the country. ILE Homes’ joint venture with Bluerock Real Estate (NYSE: BRG) plans to aggregate a $600 million portfolio of single-family rental homes and is focused on utilizing a disciplined investment strategy, proprietary technology and operational excellence to become one of the largest companies in the single-family residential sector.

Before ILE, Mahesh served four years as the nominee of a hedge fund in two public companies. As a board member, president and chief financial officer of SG Blocks, Inc. (NASDAQ: SGBX), a NASDAQ modular construction company, Mahesh led the company to a NASDAQ listing in less than a year, supported the growth of the company’s backlog by 700% and implemented systems to support revenue growth of 250% and 160% in 2017 and 2018.

Mahesh previously served as the board member, partner, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Encore Enterprises, Inc., a private real estate investment firm with over $750 million in assets. Mahesh was directly involved in over $800 million in equity and debt placements for development and acquired projects. He was a key member of the leadership team that grew company assets by 1000% over eight years and completed over $1.5 billion in transactions. He selected and implemented cloud technology systems and risk management solutions that resulted in combined annual savings in excess of $3.5 million.

Mahesh started his career in a Big 4 public accounting firm and, earlier in his career, worked in senior finance and operations roles with North American Technologies (NASDAQ: NATK), Excel Telecom, and Xerox (NYSE: XRX).

Mahesh’s broad leadership capability extends to other roles: Mahesh was head of the board finance committee for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), member of the audit committee for the National Board of Financial Executives International (FEI), the president of the Dallas Chapter of FEI, the chairman of the U.S. India Chamber of Commerce (DFW), board advisor of EZlytix LLC, a private cloud-based business intelligence software company and on the board of B.I.G. Logistics, LLC, a Texas-based logistics company.

A certified public accountant, Mahesh received a master of business administration degree (summa cum laude) from the University of Texas, Dallas and earned a bachelor’s degree from Osmania University, India. He is a certified information technology professional, a chartered global management accountant and a fellow chartered accountant.

Warren Strickland

Director Emeritus

McKinsey & Company
Dallas, Texas

Director, Pearson Partners International, Inc.
Dallas, Texas

Learn more about Warren in our Searchlight profile

Warren Strickland joined Pearson Partners’ Board of Directors in 2012 and has served on the firm’s Advisory Board since 2011. He owns Ranger Ventures, where he is active in several private equity and real estate investments.

Warren is a director emeritus of McKinsey & Company, from which he recently retired as a director. Warren was with McKinsey for almost 25 years, where he was an industry expert in Oil & Gas, Electric Power, Consumer Packaged Goods, and Industrial Products. He was most recently the global leader of McKinsey’s Organization Design Practice, which represents 27% of McKinsey’s work. He also conceived and led McKinsey’s Performance Ethic search on high-performing organizations. This over-five-year research project resulted in more than 200 Performance Ethic engagements and led to follow-on research, which has created McKinsey’s proprietary Organization Health Index (OHI).

Warren earned a master of business administration degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor of science degree in mining engineering, with high distinction, from the Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno.

Craig Sutton

Chief Financial Officer & Director

Rasa Floors & Carpet Cleaning, LLC
Dallas, Texas

Director, Pearson Partners International, Inc.
Dallas, Texas

Learn more about Craig in our Searchlight profile

Craig Sutton joined Pearson Partners’ Board of Directors in 2014 and has served on the firm’s Advisory Board since 2007. Craig retired as a senior private banking relationship manager with Chicago-based Northern Trust in Dallas and now serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Rasa Floors, where he has been a board member and advisor since 1996. At Northern Trust, Craig led the largest practice in Texas, providing private banking, trust and wealth-advisory services to affluent individuals. Craig previously served as executive vice president of First City Bank in Dallas and has held senior leadership positions with Texas Commerce Bank and InterFirst Bank Dallas.

As a commercial banking executive, Craig managed a $1 billion loan portfolio. Working as an executive in community and retail banking, Craig directed a staff of 500 in managing $1 billion in assets. In his position as an international project finance specialist, Craig led several financing initiatives in the North Sea and Middle East in excess of $100 million each. In addition to his banking career, Craig has served as chief financial officer in the oil & gas industry and as a litigation support consultant.

Craig majored in engineering and finance at Texas Tech University before going on to earn a master of business administration degree in finance.

Meredith M. Walker

Principal and Global Economist

MMW Research
Dallas, Texas
Meredith Walker is the principal and global economist at MMW Research, a consultancy delivering international research, relationships and results. As a speaker, author and media commentator, she provides actionable insights into the economy, geopolitics, technology and trade. Her research focuses on entrepreneurial, cross-sector solutions to global problems in security and sustainability. She builds international bridges of understanding and partnership for a better, safer world.

After starting her career as a Federal Reserve economist in Dallas and New York, Meredith has served with international organizations contributing to humanitarian and environmental cooperation. In her prior role as global economist and head of prize advancement for the XPRIZE Foundation, she worked with visionary leaders to launch multi-million-dollar prize competitions, including the 2021 $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal, funded by Elon Musk. As chief economist for EarthX, she developed partnerships for environmental education and action for business, government, academia and non-profits with the general public. She has also served as global economist and councilor for the EastWest Institute, a U.S.-based NGO working with Europe, Russia, China and the Middle East.

Meredith is the America’s Future Series president, advisory board co-chair and Megellas Award Trustee. She is a member of Business Executives for National Security, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum board of directors alumni and the Frontiers of Flight Museum board of directors. She is a fellow at the SMU Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, advisor to the American Conservation Coalition, and National Association of Business Economics member.

Meredith holds a bachelor of arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin Plan II liberal arts honors program with special honors in economics and a minor in French and Asian Studies, and she was a Dedman Distinguished Scholar. She completed her master of science degree in economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, interned at the Pentagon and State Department, and received a Chinese language fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

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