AESC Honors Award Recipients Clarke Murphy, Alan Kaplan & Nordia Edwards for Their Service in the Executive Search and Leadership Consulting Profession

Awards were presented by the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants at its annual global conference in New York

Today at their Adapt: 2022 conference for leaders in the executive search profession and their clients, the global Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) honored recipients with awards in Lifetime Achievement, Excellence and Future of the Profession.

AESC Lifetime Achievement Award 

Bestowed since 1982, the AESC Lifetime Achievement Award is the capstone award for the executive search and leadership consulting profession, honoring significant, career-long achievement while recognizing the highest standards of work. Considered icons in the profession, recipients have a long and distinguished career and outstanding reputations. This year’s AESC Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Clarke Murphy, President & CEO, 2011-2021, Russell Reynolds Associates

Throughout his 33-year career, Clarke has built a strong reputation as a visionary leader who has pushed not only the executive search profession forward—but his clients’ businesses too. After joining Russell Reynolds Associates as Chief of Staff in 1988, Clarke quickly rose through the ranks, managing teams in the United States, London and Germany before serving as the firm's CEO 2011-2021. 

Known for his authenticity and integrity, Clarke is a trusted partner to market-leading organizations around the world. Driven by a purpose to improve the way the world is led, he is passionate about challenging the status quo and helping existing and future executives stay ahead of trends that will radically reshape leadership. Colleagues share that "one of Clarke’s greatest strengths is his ability to connect with people. He is generous with his insights and mentorship—both inside and outside Russell Reynolds.” 

A passionate believer that business leaders have the power to change our world for the better, Clarke is dedicated to advising CEOs and boards on leadership strategies that fuel profitable growth and value for all stakeholders. Clarke is a founding member of the 30% Club—a global campaign led by chairs and CEOs that seeks to increase gender diversity at board and senior management levels. In 2019 he entered a ground-breaking partnership with the United Nations Global Compact to develop a first-of-its-kind blueprint of sustainable leadership. The model helps organizations prioritize sustainable leadership in their executive recruitment process and gain confidence that incoming leaders will deliver against their sustainability goals. In his upcoming book, Sustainable Leadership: Lessons of vision, courage and grit from the CEOs who dared to build a betterworld, Clarke tell the stories of dynamic business executives who areusing their position to solve the most complex social and economic challenges of our time.

Dedicated to mentoring the next generation of CEOs, Clarke speaks regularly atbusiness schools around the world. From September, he will also join the facultyteam of the RRA/MIT executive education course, Sustainable Leadership: Mindsets and Skillsets to Drive Purpose and Impact, which is designed to equipsenior leaders with the skills they need to pivot their organizations to a more sustainable future. In October, Clarke will be teaching the newly published caseon Russell Reynolds Associates at Harvard Business School.

AESC Award of Excellence

Awarded since 2000, the AESC Award of Excellence honors individuals at the height of their careers who have made significant, outstanding contributions to the executive search and leadership consulting profession. This year’s AESC Award of Excellence is presented to Alan Kaplan, Founder and CEO, Kaplan Partners

After an initial career in corporate banking, Alan joined the talent assessment and executive search profession, where he has spent more than 30 years of his career.  Alan is a national expert in leadership succession, corporate governance and talent management across the financial services, private equity and middle-market sectors. He has successfully led hundreds of CEO-succession projects and financial officer assignments, as well as hundreds of C-level consulting, assessment and executive search assignments. 

Alan built his Philadelphia-headquartered firm from the ground up, close to 30 years ago, based on three founding principles: Professionalism, Responsiveness and Integrity. Colleagues and peers share that he honors these principles in his work each day and by following one of his core sayings, “always do the right thing, even when no one will know.” Today, recognized nationally within the financial services industry, Alan and his team take great pride in never wavering from the firm’s values and founding principles, which is reflected in the firm's 97 percent stick rate more than three years after executive placement. 

Alan is a DEI champion within the Financial Services industry. Understanding how the financial industry has had a leadership imbalance for a long time, he works with his clients on strategies to advance women and people of color up the ladder and eventually into the board room. As a result, Kaplan Partners’ lifetime placement rate of diverse board members is 69 percent (both women and people of color). Since 2020, that percentage has advanced to 80 percent, with half of those new board directors being people of color. A strong proponent of the value of board service and of giving back, Alan has served on numerous boards throughout his career from the National Association of Corporate Directors, Philadelphia Chapter to the Corporate Executive Board, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Global Board of Directors of AESC. 

AESC Future of the Profession Award 

Awarded since 2015, the AESC Future of the Profession Award is designed to recognize the next generation of leaders in executive search and leadership consulting. It honors innovation and forward-thinking leadership and recipients are viewed as trailblazers in the profession. This year’s AESC Future of the Profession Award is presented to Nordia Edwards, Consultant, Spencer Stuart

Nordia Edwards is a core member of Spencer Stuart’s CEO and Biopharmaceutical practices. She advises clients on CEO and executive succession planning, assessment and executive search. She is also an active member of the firm’s Board and Human Resources practices. Nordia has established herself as a trusted colleague and consultant in the Biopharma Practice, bringing considerable experience in both the C-suite and boardroom.  

Nordia plays an important "next generation" role across Spencer Stuart’s Biopharma, Human Resources, CEO and Board practices. Peers share that she has become a “go-to” colleague because of her diligent management of projects, strong communication and client management skills, and her ability to consistently help deliver outstanding outcomes for challenging projects. Nordia also serves as a valued and trusted mentor, coach and role model for colleagues in the firm, notably multiple colleagues of color. She has been instrumental in recruiting and retaining underrepresented talent to the firm and also has been influential in the firm's efforts to help coach and mentor earlier-in-career Black colleagues.  

Colleagues share that Nordia "has a big heart, cares deeply about her clients and colleagues, is generous with her time, and wants to give back. Her ethics and integrity are beyond reproach."      

Karen Greenbaum, AESC President & CEO, said: “Through their commitment to excellence in the executive search and leadership consulting profession, our award recipients embody AESC’s purpose—dedicated to strengthening leadership worldwide. We are proud to honor their outstanding achievements.” 


About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants  

Since 1959, AESC has set the quality standard for the executive search and leadership consulting profession. AESC Members represent 16,000+ trusted professionals in 1,200+ offices, spanning 70+ countries. AESC Members are recognized experts providing consulting services in the areas of leaders, teams and culture to the world’s leading organizations. They leverage their access and expertise to place more than 100,000 executives each year in board of directors and C-level positions across industry sectors. Dedicated to strengthening leadership worldwide, AESC and its members share a deep commitment to the highest quality standards in executive search and leadership consulting—for the benefit of clients and the profession. We Shape. Connect. Educate. Learn more about us at aesc.org. For AESC’s career service connecting executive-level candidates to the world’s leading executive search firms, visit bluesteps.com