To further promote AND DEFINE the Chief of Staff role and empower those who serve in it.
Our business began from the belief that the Chief of Staff role is powerful and productive for leaders and organizations. From serving as Chiefs of Staff, our firsthand experience taught us how the position helps leaders become more efficient, staff more productive, and organizations more effective.
We also knew that identifying Chiefs of Staff would require a different approach. The role is based on behavioral traits and personality as much as experience and technical acumen.
Therefore, Prime Chief of Staff began in early 2014 with a very niche focus: finding Chiefs of Staff for private sector and nonprofit organizations. Over the years, we spoke to many aspiring and current Chiefs who told us we gave them the purpose and legitimacy they sought.
Today, we offer a full suite of services to organizations employing the Chief of Staff role. We also convene a fast-growing Chief of Staff community through The Chief of Staff Collective--a group of impressive thinkers and resourceful doers who embrace change, and believe the greater good of all is better than the success of one.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Diversity is required.
We believe diversity is not only the right thing to do, it’s the best thing to do. We ensure our candidates are diverse in every sense—from race, gender, and economic background to degree, personality, and thinking. Too many executives today look, think, and act the same. It’s boring. We envision a leadership pipeline that matches our communities and embraces our differences.
Humanize the process.
Our work emphasizes partnership. Partnership between the Chief of Staff and the leader. Therefore, traditional processes don't work for us. By humanizing our approach, we understand our clients and candidates as people. Understanding people behaviorally, and not just technically, helps us establish mutually beneficial partnerships between Chiefs and organizations.
Our candidates don’t all graduate from elite colleges and universities. They don't all work at Big Three consulting firms. They are anthropology and music majors, state school graduates and college dropouts. They have wide-ranging interests and cross-functional backgrounds. You don’t become a generalist from doing one thing your entire career. Therefore, we encourage diversity of experience and exposure. We embrace pioneers who charted a course less traveled, but more fulfilling.
Develop strong leaders.
Chiefs of Staff are already leaders, and they are also future business owners, CXOs, community trailblazers, and more. The Chief of Staff role is an opportunity to help shape the leaders they continue to become with hands-on exposure and real-life perspective. This greater mission is what propels us to better equip tomorrow’s leaders right now.
Founder & CEO
Catherine is founder and CEO of Prime Chief of Staff since its inception in 2014. Prior to launching Prime, Catherine served as Chief of Staff to Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments, where she learned the ins and outs of supporting a fast-paced, high-powered executive who ran the firm's day-to-day business operations. Catherine had active involvement in strategic advisory and planning, sales and marketing, human resources, budgeting, community initiatives, and special projects. Before Ariel, she worked as a Sponsorship Consultant at Principal Financial Group and founded her first company, CB Strategy + Design, in 2009. Catherine speaks at a variety of colleges and universities, including Harvard University, University of Chicago, and Northeastern University, on leadership and the Chief of Staff role. She is also a mentor for the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business. Catherine graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Psychology. She is a native of the great state of Iowa.
Chief of Staff
Megan McDonald is our Chief of Staff with a diverse background. She has had experience working with clients in manufacturing, agriculture, technology, non-profits, research and athletics. Megan grew up in the Midwest and earned her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and is now living in Northern California. As the Chief of Staff with Prime Chief of Staff, Megan has been focused on instilling more efficient processes and systems across all current services and offerings. Megan serves as the lead administrator to the CEO and Senior Partner. She has a passion for helping people grow and develop both professionally and personally.
Olivia Jansons serves as a partner at Prime Chief of Staff where she is focused on client experience and data strategy. Before joining Prime, Olivia worked in partnership development and product management at Engrain, a B2B startup focused on real estate technology. As Engrain’s R&D accelerated, Olivia was pulled into the executive scene and reveled in roadmap-trippin’ and strategic white-board sessions with the CEO and founders. Through Prime, Olivia was promoted to Chief of Staff at Engrain. In the role, she facilitated C-suite execution and communication throughout capital raises, multiplying headcount, and rapid revenue growth. From her experience, Olivia became fascinated by how the dynamic between a principal and Chief of Staff can supercharge an entire executive team.
Chris Hagood partners with government, nonprofit and for-profit organizations to improve business results through analytics-based organizational strategies. Chris helps leaders discover and use analytics to re-engineer their performance management and create high-performing workplaces. As a coach, Chris takes an individualized and performance-oriented approach to guide clients toward their desired outcomes. Previously, Chris held business development and operational management roles within the nonprofit and private sectors. His experience spans from early-stage startups to large enterprise organizations. Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in business management with a concentration in legal studies and his master’s in business administration from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. Chris has served on several boards of directors, including a professional association and nonprofits in the workforce development space. As a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, Chris is an active member of the global CliftonStrengths community. He primarily works with C-suite, senior leaders, and managers.
Brian McDonald is our Marketing Consultant. As a recent graduate from Miami University, he is utilizing his education in Interactive Media Studies and new work experience to deliver us an innovative and analytically driven marketing strategy. His past work as a digital consultant for a Facebook advertising firm and account manager at Blue Chip Worldwide has given him the experience to continue Prime’s marketing success. He has a passion professionally with digital innovation and problem solving, but personally he focuses his time on drinking cold brew and binging the latest episodes of Rupaul’s Drag Race.
Prime is pleased to partner with the following organizations. If you are interested in learning more about partnership opportunities, please contact us.
AGB Search is the only firm that specializes in all aspects of executive search exclusively for higher education institutions. Founded by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) in 2010, they have a unique understanding of the qualifications critical for effective higher education leadership.