Witt/Kieffer Announces Four New Hires to Broaden its Education Practice

Witt/Kieffer, a leading executive search firm, has announced the addition of four new hires to the firm’s expanding Education practice.

“This is a historic time for Witt/Kieffer’s Education practice,” says Charles W.B. Wardell III, President and CEO of Witt/Kieffer. “The industry is undergoing great change, and each of our new hires has exceptional experience and industry knowledge that will help us respond to this environment in flux.”

“We have a steadfast commitment to the education sector and our clients,” he adds. “We are pleased to welcome our new additions, and look forward to their many contributions to the leading colleges and universities we serve.”

The four new Witt/Kieffer Education practice hires are:

  • Charlene Aguilar, based in South Bend, Indiana, is now a Consultant in the firm’s Education practice. Prior to joining Witt/Kieffer, Charlene served as Associate Director of the Annual Fund at the University of Chicago Law School, as Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Santa Clara as Admission and as School Relations Counselor for Undergraduate Recruitment at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Charlene received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology & Communication Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and holds a M.Ed. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University Graduate School.


  • Jennifer Desjarlais, based in Massachusetts, is now a Consultant in the firm’s Education practice. She will be supporting leadership searches across all academic areas, specializing in enrollment and admissions for colleges and universities across the nation. Before joining Witt/Kieffer, Jennifer served as Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Wellesley College for seven years and as Dean of Admission for six years. She also held key admission leadership positions at Smith College and Simmons College. Jennifer holds a B.A. in International Relations and Spanish from Simmons College, as well as a M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from the University of Vermont, Graduate School of Education.


  • Melissa Fincher, based in Columbus, Ohio, is now an Associate in the firm’s Education practice. Melissa joins the practice with more than a decade of human capital experience working in higher education and academic medicine. Most recently, Melissa held the role of Talent and Organizational Development Consultant with The Ohio State University. Prior to her time at OSU, she worked with Johns Hopkins External Affairs and Development as a Human Resources Consultant. Melissa holds a M.S. in Non-Profit Arts Administration from Drexel University and a B.F.A. from Rutgers University.


  • Ben Haden, based in San Diego, California, is now a Senior Associate in the firm’s Education practice. He is joining the practice with over 15 years of prior experience in talent management, executive search, business development and project management in education. Previously, he served as an Executive Recruiter for the University of California, San Diego, in addition to serving as the Director of Employee Recruiting for LPL Financial and holding a recruiting role at Scripps Health. He received a B.A. in International Studies from Southern Oregon University.

“As the field of education progresses, the needs of our clients evolve as well,” says Robin Mamlet, who will assume leadership of Witt Kieffer’s Education practice as Managing Partner in October. “Ben, Melissa, Jennifer and Charlene understand these needs and, given their proven track records, they will be able to provide support as we continue to help our clients find exceptional leaders.”

In combination with these four recent hires, Witt/Kieffer has also announced the promotion of Amy Crutchfield, Mercedes Chacón Vance, and Ann Yates to contribute to the growth of the firm’s Education practice. For more information, please visit:

For more information or for interview requests, please contact Jessica Small at 212.576.2700 and


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Witt/Kieffer is the nation’s preeminent executive search firm supporting organizations improving the quality of life, including those in healthcare, education, academic medicine, life sciences, sports, and the not-for-profit sector. It also serves clients through its Board Services and Leadership Solutions practices, which offer services that further strengthen client enterprises. For more information, please visit Follow the firm on Twitter and Facebook, and connect on LinkedIn.