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.



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.

Embrace originality.

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.


Catherine Berardi

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.

Joy Murphy

Senior Partner

Joy spent over nine years with Gallup, Inc., most recently serving as a Chief of Staff, senior advisor, and sales manager within the organization's global government division. As a consultant, Joy's experience with executives covers nearly every industry and an array of government and NGOs (non-governmental organizations), specifically Coca-Cola, Walmart, Estee Lauder, Glaxo Smith Kline, Emaar Properties, Special Olympics, Chevron, U.S. Federal Government, Harvard, and Princeton. Over and over, from UAE and Asia to her recent move back to the amazing Midwest, Joy continuously sees the pain organizations feel from executives doing what they don't do best. Her work focuses on creating high-performing individuals, teams, organizations, led by effective executives with the right Chief of Staff partner. On the weekends you'll find her finishing a book, fashion thrifting, and admiring cute puppies around Chicago.

Kristen Lange

Chief of Staff

Kristen Lange is a seasoned Chief of Staff with over 12 years of experience in non-profits and government. Most recently, Kristen was the Chief of Staff to the CEO and President of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. In that role, Kristen worked with the CEO to accelerate NCLD’s progress through strategic planning, supporting the NCLD mission and values, and facilitating engagement with a variety of constituents. Kristen also worked with the New York City Department of Education in cross-functional roles including as the Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Leadership as well as the Chief of Staff to the Chief Academic Officer for Leadership. Prior to that, Kristen was an elementary school special education teacher in Phoenix, Arizona and a high school special education teacher in Rockville, Maryland. Kristen holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education from Bloomsburg University and Master in Public Administration (MPA) from Arizona State University. Kristen lives in New York City with her fiance and two dogs. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, and running.

Caroline Pugh

Community Partner

Caroline Pugh is an advisor for Prime Chief of Staff where she is committed to building a network of Chiefs of Staff across the globe. Starting in her local Washington, D.C. community, and growing to 8 more cities, Caroline establishes regular events for hundreds of public, private, and nonprofit sector Chiefs of Staff seeking peer networking and partnership. In addition to her role at Prime, Caroline serves as Chief of Staff at CareJourney, a healthcare data analytics company based in D.C. where she strategically supports CEO Aneesh Chopra, the former Chief Technology Officer of the United States. She was previously the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of VirtualU, a tech startup that developed 3D human scanning technology, that she started while an undergraduate at Virginia Tech. Caroline is also Senior Advisor to the Africa Rising Foundation, a non-profit focused on youth empowerment and leadership in Africa started by Ndaba Mandela. She was recently named "15 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch" by Entrepreneur magazine and "master networker" in Forbes. Caroline has also been cited in the Washington Post, Fox News, NBC, TechCrunch, USA, Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal for her work.


Prime is pleased to partner with the following organizations. If you are interested in learning more about partnership opportunities, please contact us.



AGB Search

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.



vChief offers virtual, part-time Chiefs of Staff and interim Chief of Staff support to companies and organizations across many industries.



The Eden Collective is a boutique consultancy focused on dynamic growth of people and places. They help leaders and communities drive job creation and economic development via consulting, training, and coaching engagements.