We deliver diverse slates of candidates on every search. No excuses.

We recruit for the world’s most innovative companies, the most disruptive startups, and the most impactful nonprofit organizations.


Recruiting diverse talent takes more than hoping for success.

The big search firms have had 40 years to figure this out. Instead of exploring the unique career journeys of diverse talent, they launched under-resourced advisory groups and crossed their fingers.

We know. We worked at those search firms. For years, we navigated hastily constructed processes with commercial churn at their core, rather than the unique challenges of clients seeking diverse talent.

We decided to create  something different at Protégé: an entire firm built around recruiting diverse talent at the executive level.


When we say “built around recruiting diverse talent,” here’s what we mean...

  • We are thought leaders in the diversity sector

    We have testified before Congress on the best practices in diversity recruiting. We have been featured in Forbes, Fortune, and The New York Times. We have lectured and worked on diversity projects in North America, Europe, Australia and Africa.

  • We are a trusted resource for career advice for diverse talent.

    We produced and hosted Protégé Podcast, the most popular career podcast for diverse talent (an iTunes New & Noteworthy selection).

  • We take a limited number of searches per year.

    Diversity recruiting demands that you have the capacity to search far and wide to find needles in haystacks. You can’t do that if you are carrying a burdensome search load. Our firm is built around the purpose of diversity recruiting, not the commercial churn of a large search firm.

  • We communicate why diverse talent should work at your organization.

    Protégé can help you create a compelling narrative about your company, its culture and values, and the leadership opportunities available for diverse talent. Let us tell your organization’s story in the communities we network in, socialize in, and know well.

We’ve done this for dozens of companies and organizations, creating a roadmap for success in recruiting diverse talent.

Our Origin Story

We founded Protégé because we too were frustrated by the excuses about the lack of diversity in senior management. We’ve been the HR leaders, the talent acquisition professionals, and the aspiring managers of color who’ve heard the excuses about the lack of a diverse talent pipeline. We’ve heard the stories about and have been mistreated ourselves by the clumsy and patronizing approach of recruiters from big search firms.

We are not a part-time, under-resourced practice within a big search firm or a fly-by-night boutique trying to exploit the current market need for diverse talent. We’re a mission-driven organization that has collectively spent decades recruiting, mentoring, and advising diverse leaders. 

We are the artisans of diversity recruiting, not the big chain store. We bring an organic approach to inclusive leadership hiring.

We find needles in haystacks for our clients for one simple reason: we’re in the needle business.

Meet the Team

Protégé Search’s nine recruiters have backgrounds in executive leadership, executive search, human resources, clinical research, project management, and nonprofit leadership. We operate out of Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Atlanta, and Chicago, serving a national and international client base. 

Our firm is a Black-owned company with recruiters from Black, Indigenous, Asian-American and Caucasian backgrounds.


Rory Verrett


Protégé Search was founded by Rory E. Verrett, a trailblazing talent strategist who brings 20 years of experience in talent management, diversity and inclusion, executive search, and public affairs to mission critical client projects.

Rory is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Howard University, a former leader in the diversity practices of two global executive search firms (Spencer Stuart and Russell Reynolds Associates), and the first-ever head of talent management at the National Football League.

Rory has shared his innovative insights on diversity and inclusion with Fortune and Forbes magazines, The New York Times, and as a moderator and speaker at Harvard University, and Stanford, Duke and Wharton Business Schools. Rory has also testified before the United States Congress as a national expert on diversity and inclusion in corporate America. He is the host of the award-winning Protégé Podcast, a career advice show focused on the career journeys of diverse professionals and leaders. Rory is a former trustee of Howard University and is the current president of the Harvard Law Black Alumni Association.


Tamara Verrett


Tamara Verrett is partner and COO of Protégé Search. She has helped scale the firm from one consultant to ten, and from one local client to over 40 clients around the world. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Tamara received her MBA from the University of Georgia. Her professional background includes stints working in real estate investment trusts, property management, and as a real estate investor. When she’s not acting as COO, CFO, CIO, and CXO, Tamara enjoys running marathons and half marathons with friends.


Jin. N. Liu


Jin N. Liu has over 15 years of experience as a dynamic human resources leader in the media, entertainment, and biotech sectors. She has led an HR department for a multi-site global enterprise and has served as a trusted human capital advisor to startup CEOs. Jin is especially adept at managing full cycle talent acquisition and assessing the impact of culture on employee engagement and productivity. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and her M.A. from Southern Methodist University. When she’s not providing exceptional client advice, Jin enjoys spending time with her family and running marathons.


Sheena Simmons


A Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) and graduate of Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and Michigan State University, Sheena has over 10 years experience in Health and Science Education, Research, and Evaluation. She holds degrees in Health Education, Physiology, and Microbiology, with special interest in health equity and social determinants of health. In her role as Research Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she studied and consulted the disease prevention efforts of academic and community health organizations, state and local health departments, and clinical training centers, nationally. Prior to that, she conducted health research and evaluation through Emory University, and taught secondary science and math through Teach for America, before joining the agency’s interview and hiring team. When she’s not providing exceptional client support, Sheena enjoys traveling and engaging in community service projects with her family.


Hae Yoon


A proud University of Texas at Austin alum, Hae Yoon worked for a multinational information technology company and spent almost 20 years as the cofounder of a global fashion brand before joining Protégé Search in its Consumer, Tech and Media practice. When she’s not providing exceptional client support, Hae loves exploring the beautiful Southern California trails and running up mountains.


Anthony Marrero


Anthony is an accomplished business professional and talent sourcer with expertise in solving complex problems while developing long-term relationships. He has worked with state and local government organizations, large companies, as well as boutique consulting firms. Throughout his career, he has managed the performance of diverse teams focused on the execution and delivery of technology solutions. Anthony has a B.A. from the University of New Orleans and a M.A. in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. Anthony also serves as a board member for The ArtXChange of East Point, GA, on the financial board of Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, and as a committee member for the Boy Scouts of America Troop 1906. When he is not serving clients and his community, Anthony is a bourbon enthusiast and enjoys listening to old school hip hop and R&B music.


D’Karla Davis


D’Karla Davis has 15+ years of public sector experience advising leaders in local and state government, nonprofits, and education. Her management consulting career spans across policy and governance, project management, program development, community engagement, and fiscal administration. D’Karla received a B.S. in Applied Behavioral Science from the University of California Davis and Master in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. She is currently completing her doctorate dissertation at the University of California, Davis. When she’s not providing exceptional client support, D’Karla loves bringing family and friends together through her culinary magic.


Justin Payton

Chief of Staff

Justin has fifteen years of experience in business development and marketing in fast paced companies. Recognized for his track record in developing and leading high-performing teams, Justin won almost every sales award possible during his career with AT&T. He sources hard to find talent and helps keep the trains running on time at Protégé Search. When he’s not providing exceptional client service, Justin enjoys spending time with his family and serving his community as a mentor and speaker.


Amir Grice

Senior Associate

A cum laude graduate of Morehouse College, Amir has spent the entirety of his career in executive search. He's helped identify top CFO leaders and Go To Market executives for leading startups and large, multinational corporations. At Protégé Search Amir helps to anchor our industry leading research function. He collaborates with partners to deliver diverse slates of candidates for the firm's global clients. When he's not finding needles in haystacks, Amir, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, enjoys playing sports, grilling, and engaging in community service projects.

Are you ready to launch your search?

We’d love to learn about your diversity hiring goals and then strategize with you to achieve them.