The roots of HealthSearch Partners extend all the way back to the formative years of our founders. Keith Southerland,
Barry Cesafsky and Ed Fry all started their careers at the former Witt Associates. It was here that they discovered how
engaged collaboration and a consultative approach to executive search could deliver exceptional results for clients.
From there, all three men went on to form their own successful recruitment firms. But they continued to embrace the
core values and culture they had adopted early on.
Fast-forward to today. HealthSearch Partners reunites Keith, Barry and Ed while allowing each to retain their individual
personalities and styles. Joined by the most talented team of healthcare executive search partners in the industry, the new
alliance creates a more powerful network with greater critical mass to serve you better.
KEITH C. SOUTHERLAND, BOARD CHAIR
Keith Southerland offers over three decades of experience conducting executive search for healthcare provider organizations. He has conducted over 900 searches for prominent nonprofit multi-hospital health systems, professional associations, pediatric health systems, public hospitals, academic medical centers, and managed care organizations. As a co-founder of HealthSearch Partners, Keith serves as the firm’s Board Chair.
Southerland entered the executive search field as a consultant for Witt/Kieffer, where he was a key figure in the establishment of the firm’s first regional office. As Regional Director, Southern Region, he developed the firm’s practice in the southeastern US. Mr. Southerland was promoted to Executive Vice President, Consulting with national responsibility for all firm search practices, including provider systems, information technology, higher education and managed care/insurance. As executive Vice President of Operations, he led the finance, marketing and human resources divisions.
As a Senior Partner with Korn/Ferry International, Southerland focused on conducting numerous high-profile CEO/COO searches for a wide range of healthcare systems around the country, including Texas Hospital Association, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Florida Hospital Association, BayCare Health System, Morton Plant Mease Health Care, Christiana Care Health System, Children’s Hospital and Health System of Wisconsin, VHA Texas, Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, DFW Hospital Council, Covenant Health System, Ohio Hospital Association, Utah Hospital Association, Cooper Institute, and Intermountain Healthcare.
Southerland has a solid foundation in healthcare management. Earlier in his career, he was employed by Clarian Health System and Meridian Mutual Insurance in Indianapolis. He is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions.
Mr. Southerland earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Dallas and a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs from Indiana University. He currently serves on the national board of Heroes on the Water.
BARRY R. CESAFSKY, BOARD VICE CHAIR
Barry Cesafsky co-founded HealthSearch Partners and serves as the Vice-Chair of the firm’s Board of Directors. He has been privileged to be a partner in two major executive search firms. Now engaged in over 30 years of executive search, Barry has developed and maintained a reputation for getting the job done for an increasingly sophisticated healthcare client. His hands-on approach delivers professional search with a personal touch. Barry’s philosophy has resulted in positive searches with very satisfied clients.
Barry’s executive search assignments have included CEOs, CMOs, CFOs, CNOs, CIOs, human resource executives, and senior-level positions for hospitals, healthcare systems, senior services organizations & retirement communities, medical group practices, professional service firms, foundations and other large vertically-integrated healthcare organizations.
He is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives.
In 1996, he was appointed to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners, as the Baldrige Program began considering healthcare organizations for performance excellence. Barry belongs to several other professional organizations including: Healthcare Financial Management Association, Healthcare Information Management Systems Society, American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration, American Health Information Management Association, and the Society for Human Resource Management. He is a former Partner with Witt-Kieffer and with TMP Worldwide (formerly LAI Ward Howell).
Barry attended DePauw University and graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree. He obtained his master’s degree in Hospital and Health Administration from Xavier University, where he was honored with their Distinguished Alumni Service Award. He also actively serves on the Advisory Board for Xavier’s Program in Health Services Administration. In 2019, he was named a Significant Sig by Sigma Chi Fraternity.
In recent years, Barry has been involved in leadership at the Union League Club of Chicago, where he has served as Board Secretary. He is currently a member of the ULCC Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. He resides in Oak Brook with his wife, Marcia, who is a Senior Broker in the Construction Services Group of Aon Risk Services, Inc.
ED FRY, PRESIDENT, CEO
Ed Fry has successfully assisted healthcare systems, hospital boards and executive teams in securing visionary leaders for 30 years. Prior to founding FaithSearch Partners in 2007, he held senior/partner positions with two large, national healthcare and international executive search firms.
To date, he has managed more than 500 searches, including nearly 100 CEO-level searches. His clients have included more than half of the 20 largest healthcare systems in the country.
Ed was one of four individuals who founded HealthSearch Partners and serves as its President/CEO, leading the firm’s day-to-day operations as well as implementing strategic initiatives.
Ed holds an MBA from Dallas Baptist University and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Southwestern Adventist University, where he is a member of the institution’s board of trustees. He also serves on the board of the Ardmore Institute of Health, a $70 million, faith-based national foundation promoting wellness and healthy living, recently completing a four-year stint as board chair.
NEILL MARSHALL, VICE PRESIDENT
Neill Marshall has over 20 years of experience in healthcare recruiting and has been involved in hundreds of senior level assignments. He’s held leadership roles with major executive search firms and currently serves as a partner and Chief Operating Officer of Southerland Partners. Neill’s expertise includes physician-related consulting, and his early experience includes healthcare supply sales.
Neill holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration/Management from Texas A&M University. He has spoken to professional groups, trustee groups and boards of directors on physician recruiting and other healthcare issues and has authored journal articles and promotional publications.
LAURA A. CONLEY, MHSA, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
Laura Conley is making her mark in the healthcare executive search industry. She was elected the Chief Operating Officer for HealthSearch Partners because of her strong organizational skills and follow-through. Laura spent the first half of her career with some of the leading pediatric hospitals in the country, such as Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, focusing on quality improvement, operations, and strategic planning. Laura is skilled at partnering and consulting with boards of directors, chief executive officers, and senior executives on executive recruitment and retention, succession planning, and organizational and leadership development.
Laura has built a thriving practice that has served a variety of healthcare organizations from coast to coast. She has recruited key executives for large faith-inspired health systems as well as for strong, independent regional health care provider organizations. She has successfully placed service line executives, financial executives, chief executive officers, human resources officers, clinical leaders, and senior services administrators. A true up-and-comer in the healthcare executive search business, she is skilled at partnering and consulting with boards of directors, chief executive officers, and senior executives on executive recruitment and retention, succession planning, and organizational and leadership development.
Driven by her own personal dedication to improve healthcare, Laura focuses her work around building strategic relationships, by grasping an understanding of organizational culture, and by using quality improvement methods, including Lean, Six Sigma, and The Model for Improvement. Laura is also an accomplished speaker who has given presentations on career management, and regularly co-facilitates a career workshop for healthcare career coaches during the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress.
A native of Chicago, Laura graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati with a degree in Organizational Communications and Business. She earned her Masters’ degree in Health Services Administration from Xavier University in 2007. Laura and her family now reside in the Phoenix, Arizona area, where she has close access to some of HSPs west coast clients.
IVAN BARTOLOME, VICE PRESIDENT
Ivan Bartolome is one of six original Managers of the HealthSearch Partners Board of Directors. Throughout his 30 plus years of leadership, management and executive search, he has devoted much of his service to progressive healthcare organizations who want to transform their C-suites by recruiting high quality, mission-minded senior executives. Ivan has a strong history with healthcare executive search and joined a founding HSP partner, Faith-Search Partners, in 2008. Through his search experience he has honed his executive development skills and partnered with some of the top leaders in the healthcare industry. He has participated in the successful completion of hundreds of executive search assignments for medical centers, health systems and academic programs that has made a difference in the communities they serve.
Prior to his executive search work, he served as an executive leader for Cardiovascular Services at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. Before working as a hospital operations and clinical leader, he served in various marketing leadership roles at several prominent healthcare organizations, including the University of Kansas School of Nursing and three hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This leadership foundation and unique insight enable Ivan to understand a client’s needs and align the best possible talent.
Ivan has a Master’s in Health Services Administration from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor’s in Corporate Communication from Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU). A devoted community leader, Ivan has served as President of the Prestonwood Rotary Club in Dallas, Texas and as President of the Kansas City, Kansas Rotary Club. He also served on the Wyandotte County, Kansas Red Cross Board and as the marketing committee chair for the United Way of Wyandotte County in Kansas. In addition, he served as Head Elder at the New Haven Seventh-day Adventist Church and on the board of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Day School in Kansas City, Missouri. He has also served on the boards of Christian academies in Shawnee, Kansas and Richardson, Texas, as President of the Alumni Association at SWAU and as President of the Crowley (Texas) Area Chamber of Commerce.
He is married to Sonja Bartolome, MD, a Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine specialist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Together they have three children.
MELVIN G. ALEXANDER, CPA FHFMA FACHE, CONSULTANT
An experienced healthcare financial executive, Melvin Alexander brings tremendous insight and knowledge to any senior healthcare executive search – especially to financially-oriented assignments.
Prior to joining HSP, Melvin successfully founded and managed his own healthcare consulting practice for about five years. Before this, he served as a senior financial executive (including Corporate CFO roles) for several prominent healthcare systems, including Louisville-based KentuckyOne Health, SSM Healthcare in St. Louis, Norman Regional Health System in Oklahoma, and North Oaks Health System in Louisiana. He also has almost a decade of progressive leadership experience as a Medical Services Corps Officer in the United States Air Force. While in the Air Force, Melvin also served as an healthcare recruiter for several years.
Melvin is a Certified Public Accountant and he holds a Master of Business Administration from City University of Seattle as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a Fellow in both the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). In fact, in 2005, as the Oklahoma ACHE Regent, he was nominated as a finalist for the Robert S. Hudgens Young Healthcare Executive of the Year Award.
He is married to Donna and together they have two adult children. He has been a Board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
WILEY N. CARR, LFACHE
Wiley Carr is an accomplished healthcare executive with wide-ranging experience in healthcare consulting, hospital and health system management, and executive search. He is a seasoned professional who can quickly analyze the complexities of a search need and develop just the right solution. A former healthcare chief executive officer, he is particularly adept in recruiting for the C-Suite.
During Wiley’s eleven years as president and chief executive officer of a large Valparaiso, Indiana acute care hospital system, he gained unique insights about the CEO role and working with Boards of Trustees. Previously, he served as the Chief Operating Officer, and in various other senior leadership roles, for St. Elizabeth Health, now a large seven-hospital health system located in Northern Kentucky, near Cincinnati. He brings more than 30 years of hospital management experience to HealthSearch Partners, where he focuses his practice on the completion of Chief Executive Officer searches. He has significant first-hand experience working with volunteer Boards and senior leadership in community health systems.
A Life Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, Wiley holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Master of Science in Public Relations from Ohio University. Wiley received his Master of Business Administration in Hospital Administration from Xavier University. He has served as a board member of a number of service agencies including a retirement community, visiting nurse association, united way, a community development corporation, as well as the Indiana Hospital Association and the Voluntary Hospitals of America (VHA) Tri-State, Indianapolis. He resides in and works from Louisville, Kentucky.
IFE OLAORE, SENIOR ASSOCIATE
Ife (pronounced “EE-feh”) Olaore is a leadership talent acquisition professional whose passion is connecting outstanding healthcare leaders with outstanding healthcare organizations. Prior to joining HealthSearch Partners, Ife led talent acquisition activities for regional healthcare systems in California, Ohio and Chicago, completing dozens of searches for successful leaders within each of these organizations.
Ife is completing his graduate degree in business administration after receiving an undergraduate degree in social work from Southern Adventist University in Tennessee. He is based in the greater Cincinnati area and is an active member of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE).
PATRICK PLEMMONS, SENIOR ASSOCIATE
With deep experience in healthcare executive search, management and consulting, Mr. Plemmons is an accomplished healthcare industry executive. This experience enables him to quickly grasp the nuances of each engagement he performs for his clients. He conducts searches for CEO’s and other senior management executives, as well as for executives of functional areas such as Planning/Marketing, Finance, Information Technology, Nursing, Fund Raising and Human Resources. Clients have included Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Child Health Corporation of America, McLaren Health, Sentara Healthcare, Eggleston Children’s Hospital, Bayfront Medical Center, Akron Children’s Hospital, Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center. Mr. Plemmons’ search career began in 1984 and includes 4 years with Lamalie Associates as a Partner, 3 years with Korn/Ferry’s healthcare practice and 12 years managing his own fifirm, Plemmons Associates.
Searches conducted by Mr. Plemmons are notable for his hands-on involvement in every phase of the search, timely and detailed referencing, robust client communication and, most important, outstanding, long-lasting placements. Above all, Mr. Plemmons is known for working the search, from start to successful fifinish. That means each client gets the full attention of a skilled, experienced healthcare search consultant.
Mr. Plemmons has extensive education and experience in the disciplines of Strategic Planning, Marketing and Communications. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the prestigious University of Missouri School of Journalism and a Masters in Healthcare Administration from Duke University. He was a consultant in the Health and Medical division of Booz, Allen & Hamilton for 3 years, and for 4 years, he was Vice President for Planning and Marketing for United Hospitals, a multi-hospital system based in St. Paul, Minnesota. He served for 5 years in the Army Medical Service Corps and was a combat medical evacuation helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
Since 2010, Mr. Plemmons has also worked extensively as a career coach with senior executives, helping them with career strategy, personal branding and marketing collateral development. Mr. Plemmons is a skilled and experienced writer/editor and the published author of books and articles, including the Trustee magazine article, “Orchestrating the New Leadership”, which was chosen one of the best Trustee articles in a fifive year period.
THOMAS L. SAMS, SPHR, SENIOR ASSOCIATE
Tom Sams has some 35 years of healthcare experience - 30 years with Catholic Health Initiatives, a faith-based national healthcare system operating over 100 hospitals in 17 states. Passionate about people, Tom is well-known as a leader in HR talent strategy and transformation.
Over the last decade, Tom worked as a CHI Divisional Senior HR Business Practice Leader and partnered with HealthSearch Partners and its predecessor organization on numerous successful senior executive searches. As a senior leader with CHI, Tom served as an executive consultant and coach to CHI board members, physicians and C-suite executives on matters pertaining to board relations, leadership development, talent management, and enterprise-wide transformation.
Since joining the HealthSearch Partners team, Tom has continued to contribute to serve organizations seeking outstanding leadership and talent. His administrative expertise and client perspective make him a valued asset in just about any recruiting engagement. He has become a vital contributor to the HSP healthcare executive search practice.
Tom received his baccalaureate degree from Colorado State University and holds both the SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources, HRCI) and the SCP (Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources, SHRM). Tom is happy puttering in the garage building or tinkering with something, or fly-fishing on a blue-ribbon trout river. He and his wife, Leslie are avid Francophiles and love to visit the City of Light.
SCOTT B. SMITH
Scott Smith has been serving the not-for-profit healthcare industry since joining one of the founding firms in 2001. With his prior executive search experience, Scott brings over thirty years of knowhow developing, leading and managing executive search assignments for high quality C-Suite executives in the healthcare, senior services, and insurance industries.
Scott is a well-organized, results oriented and tenacious professional committed to providing value added services to organizations. He has participated in hundreds of search assignments, recruiting Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Human Resource Executives, Sales and Marketing Executives, Chief Actuaries and other senior level executives. Scott's specific areas of responsibility include the development and management of client relationships; the development and interviewing of qualified candidates; and the maintaining of search engagement quality standards.
Prior to joining CES Partners, Scott was a Client Manager in the TMP Worldwide Executive Resourcing division in Chicago, and a Principal in the TMP Worldwide Executive Search division in the Chicago & Barrington, Illinois and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin offices. He was a senior member of the global Healthcare, Insurance and Manufacturing practices.
Scott also served as a Principal with Ward Howell International. In a series of acquisitions, Scott maintained high-level assignments with CSG International, Ward Howell International, LAI Worldwide and TMP Worldwide. In previous years he held management positions with several northern Illinois search firms.
A 1978 graduate of the University of Arizona in Tucson, Scott holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Post college engagements included graphic design and photography for numerous corporate clients.
Originally from Rockford, Illinois, Scott resides and works from Huntley, Illinois and Tucson, Arizona, so he has access to HSP west coast clients for much of the year. He is married to Helen and they have two adult daughters.
Scott is a member of the Union League Club of Chicago. A wine enthusiast, Scott went through the rigorous process of becoming a sommelier certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers.
BRAYDEN SOUTHERLAND, SENIOR ASSOCIATE
Brayden Southerland is one of three experienced legacy consultants with HealthSearch Partners. He has had a lifelong exposure to and has developed a unique understanding of healthcare executive search. His professional experience has also prepared him to take on the most challenging healthcare search assignments.
Prior to joining HSP, Brayden sharpened his executive search skills at a supply chain and finance recruiter in the Dallas area. Before that he spent his formative years working for a leading healthcare provider in home health supply and for MedAssets, primarily managing their supply chain work on behalf of the very large Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System.
Brayden brings tireless enthusiasm and energy to help identify senior-level C-Suite executives for HSP clients with integrated health systems, academic medical centers, community hospitals, physician groups, and other healthcare provider organizations. He is a skilled and proficient healthcare executive search consultant who delivers.
Brayden holds an MBA in Finance from Southern Methodist University and he earned a Bachelors’ Degree in Communications from Arizona State University. An exercise enthusiast, he loves to play golf. He is married to Leah and together they are the proud owners of two fun-loving dogs.