DEI Champion Recognized with IDEA Award

Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants IDEA Award presented at annual global conference in New York City  

Today at their annual AESC Global Conference in New York, the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) honored Denielle Pemberton-Heard, Esq., Global Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer of Diversified Search Group/AltoPartners, with the AESC IDEA Award for her leadership in the areas of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA). 

Karen Greenbaum, AESC President & CEO, commented: “Denielle demonstrates her commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access through her contributions to AESC’s diversity priorities and passion for improving equity in the workforce. I’m honored to recognize Denielle with AESC’s IDEA Award.” 

At Diversified Search Group/AltoPartners, Denielle directs commercial transactions and manages a portfolio of Board, executive level, and Legal Counsel searches across multiple sectors. As a Diversified Search Group Executive Committee member and a trusted leader in the firm’s board and legal practices, Denielle plays an integral role in shaping and carrying out the firm’s purpose and strategy to cultivate leadership at the highest levels that more accurately reflect society. 

One colleague says, “Denielle is curious about people and uses her seat on the Executive Committee of Diversified Search Group and in the Board room to move the needle on the war for talent so traditionally underrepresented leaders have an opportunity to both have an impact and engage in the economic opportunities these roles afford.” 

As part of the firm’s leadership team, Denielle has assisted in creating more inclusive leadership in boardrooms and across the executive ranks of Fortune ranked corporations and major non-profits by putting an emphasis on making certain leaders are not only selected but retained.

Prior to joining the executive search profession, Denielle spent 15 years as a Legal and Business Affairs leader at PBS (public Broadcasting Service) where she honed skills to support human capital leaders, operators, and cross- functional teams.  She started her legal career with the Law Firms of Wiggin & Dana, moving to Cowan Liebowitz & Latman before her in-house career began at Discovery Communications, Inc. (DSC). She also led as Vice President of the Business Affairs function at Time Inc. (TWX) and as Group Counsel for Thales, Inc. 

“Denielle is a thought leader on issues impacting DEI in leadership across industries and sectors,” explains one of her peers. “Her steadfast commitment demonstrates her belief that now, more than ever, she can showcase all leaders to improve opportunity and equity in the workforce.” 

Additionally, Denielle: 

  • Served as a past Regional Judge for President Obama’s Presidential Commission on White House Fellowships 
  • Served as a Trustee of the Toy Industry of America Foundation 
  • Was a past Board of Governors member of the Case Western Reserve School of Law 
  • Has taught and mentored rising leaders as a past member of the professional faculty of the Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business 
  • Her outside directorships are varied and include serving as an Advisor to Pod Networks, &Pizza, and a private equity-backed cybersecurity firm. 
  • Was named to the Diversity Woman’s Class of 2022 Elite 100 list of Black Leaders and was this year identified as a Diversity Star at an event hosted by CAA
  • Serves on the AESC Diversity Council and has recently been elevated to the North Americas board of the organization 
  • Is currently chairing a fundraiser honoring Pulitzer Prize winner Michael R. Jackson and Woolly Mammoth’s A Strange Loop 

Denielle is an alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Business and also earned her JD from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and her BA in Political Science from Tufts University.  

"Denielle is an exceptional leader and trusted advisor to countless clients across industries. She has been a driving force in our efforts to cultivate inclusive leadership in the boardroom, C-suite, and executive ranks,” says Aileen K. Alexander, Diversified Search Group/AltoPartners CEO. “We are inspired by the AESC’s commitment to delivering the future of global leadership, and we are thrilled Denielle has been recognized for her unmatched expertise and commitment to promoting Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access at all levels.”

About the AESC IDEA Award  

The AESC IDEA Award was established in 2020 to support the goals of the AESC Diversity Pledge, signed by more than 100 CEOs of leading executive search and leadership consulting firms. The award recognizes initiatives within the executive search and leadership consulting profession that demonstrate an exemplary commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access. These initiatives must be of sufficient significance and external impact to be recognized as excellent by the profession. 

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 together, 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. Innovate. 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.     

About Diversified Search Group

Purpose. Progress. Performance.

Diversified Search Group is the largest woman-founded and woman-led executive search firm in the U.S., and for nearly five decades, has been driven by purpose, progress, and performance. Consistently recognized by Forbes as one of the nation’s top retained executive search firms, Diversified Search Group is an industry leader in recruiting diverse, inclusive, and transformational leadership for clients. The firm is deliberately different in its approach and is comprised of a combination of specialty practices with deep industry expertise, that together harness their collective resources to identify new leaders to meet the needs of our changing world: Diversified Search, Alta Associates, BioQuest, Koya Partners, Grant Cooper, Storbeck Search, and Yardstick Management.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Diversified Search Group operates in over a dozen offices nationwide and offers global services as the exclusive U.S. partner of AltoPartners, the international alliance of independent executive search firms. For more information, visit diversifiedsearchgroup.com.