Kimley Svendsen, Managing Director

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Kimley is a Co-Founder of Waterstone and leads the Retained Practice, helping clients build talent teams from director-level through C-Suite and across all functions. As a veteran of internal companies and leading services firms, Kimley excels in diverse industries (CPG, software & technology, manufacturing, financial services, advertising, and healthcare) and companies ranging in size from startups to the Fortune 100. She has placed executives within and for industry leaders (Korn Ferry, Citadel, ConAgra, ITW, Uptake), led the college recruiting function for CNA, and the talent function for both GATX and Capital H Group. In these roles, working arm in arm with the C-Suite during rapid expansion, Kimley learned the direct correlation between talent, fit, and survival.

She attributes her versatility and longevity to, first and foremost, strong relationships, as well as a love for systems, processes, and consultative decision-making. Her curiosity for how people relate, work, and make decisions earned her success in recruiting, and is bolstered by her master’s degree from Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. Immersed in the application of business systems to human capital, she has continued to learn new ways to help clients win by aligning talent with company culture.

Placing candidates into the C-Suite, Kimley earns respect from all parties for her consultative candor, uncommon courtesy, and fearless diligence. She treats discovery phases as sacred, and uncovers the reasons roles come open, the obstacles facing the business, and the systems likely to support future success. By leading with questions rather than assumptions, Kimley endears herself to professionals, who feel heard and understood, as well as clients, whose dignity and experience she honors. As a trusted advisor, and self-described “completionist,” Kimley leverages her deep network of relationships to relentlessly serve her clients, often coaching them through systemic challenges rarely solved through hiring alone.

The same integrity and sincerity keep Kimley grounded in her life away from work. She finds meaning in service to her family and community, where she is active with the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. A Chicagoan for decades, Kimley was born in Montana. So when she steps away, she is likely out west, savoring huckleberry pie or hiking a remote trail with her husband and three daughters.