James Hess

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Office  971 544-7470

Mobile 215 870-3429


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James Hess, Ph.D., Partner

Jim Hess is a founding partner of Opus Partners, leading engagements in the Health Care, Not-for-Profit, and Higher Education practices. Over a 30-year career in executive recruitment, he has conducted more than 500 searches in general management, finance, marketing, information technology, human resources, risk management, and investment management on behalf of a wide range of clients. Healthcare clients include Boston Children's Hospital, University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics, Rainbow Babies, Partners Healthcare, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, andThe University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Higher education clients include Stanford University, Harvard University, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Washington, and Caltech.

Jim grew up outside of Philadelphia and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan University. He then completed his Master's and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. Before co-founding Opus, Jim was Director of International Operations for Penna Consulting, Plc, a London-headquartered, publicly traded human capital management consultancy. He managed Penna's offices in Paris, Milan, Munich, Stockholm, Oslo, and Dublin. Previously, he served for more than 15 years as a Managing Director of Diversified Search, where he built the higher-education practice and served as a member of the healthcare practice. He began his career as Director of Alumni Career Services at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  He serves as Chairman of Opus’ sister recruitment firm, Cadence Partners, based in London.  Since 2011 he has lived in Portland, Oregon where he manages Opus’ west coast office.

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Craig Smith

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Office  215 790-1188 x222

Mobile 215 370-8910

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Craig Smith, Ph.D., Partner

Craig Smith is a founding partner of Opus Partners, where he leads engagements in the Higher Education, Not-for-Profit, and Investment Management practices. His Higher Education assignments cover academic affairs, information technology, finance, facilities management, research administration and technology transfer, and other functions for clients that include Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis, Stanford University, New York University, and the State University of New York. Within Investment Management, he leads asset management and risk management searches for investment companies, foundations, and university endowments. Clients include Columbia Investment Management Co., LLC, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and Boston University. His not-for-profit clients have included the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library.

Craig grew up in Montreal and London, graduated summa cum laude and with Honors from Brown University, and earned his Master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his Ph.D., he became an Assistant Professor at the University of Montreal. He has also taught at Bard College. He left academia in 1999 to begin a career in the search industry. Before co-founding Opus Partners, he was a Managing Director in the Higher Education practice of Diversified Search, Inc.

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John Coutts

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Office  971 544-7469

Mobile 503 784-5052


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John Coutts, Associate Partner

John joined Opus Partners as an Associate Partner in 2017.  Over a 25-year career in executive search he has conducted senior level searches across a range of industry sectors including advanced technology, energy/utilities, healthcare, and finance.  His senior-level assignments covered Chief Executive Officer, Board of Director, information technology, finance, operations, human resources and marketing roles.

John came to Opus from On Partners, a technology-focused executive search firm, where he was involved in developing the Board of Directors and Chief Financial Officer centers of expertise. Before that he was a Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry International for 17 years.  His earlier corporate career included management positions in marketing, sales, and human resources. John grew up in New Zealand and graduated from Waikato University in Hamilton.  He has lived in Portland, OR for 22 years and enjoys participating in a number of outdoor pursuits that take advantage of the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

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Katie Dean

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Office  215 790-1188 x227
Mobile 215 779-6145 


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Katie Dean, MSW, Associate Partner

Katie Dean, Associate Partner, joined Opus Partners in 2004. Her search work encompasses a variety of roles with education, healthcare, and not-for-profit clients including Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, Columbia University, The University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, Boston Children’s Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Partners HealthCare, Georgia Tech, Stanford University, MIT, Caltech, Arizona State University, and the University of Washington.

Prior to joining Opus, Katie spent five years with Diversified Search, Inc. as Vice President and Senior Associate in the Higher Education and Not-for-Profit practices and worked extensively with private-sector clients in business development and information technology positions. Katie focused the first 10 years of her career in various clinical and supervisory roles within the social service and mental health community, providing family counseling services as well as individual and group therapy. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from Villanova University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Neeta Mehta

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Office  215 790-1188 x232
Mobile 215 620-1863


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Neeta Mehta, MBA, CFA, Principal

Neeta Mehta joined Opus Partners in 2004 and works primarily across Higher Education, Healthcare, and investment management practices. Neeta’s background includes experience with MetLife Investments, where she was an Associate Director in the Emerging Markets Group. While at MetLife, Neeta was part of a team responsible for managing MetLife’s $1+ billion fixed income emerging market portfolio, holding corporate and sovereign investments in Latin America and Asia. Neeta also served as a Credit Analyst for major commercial banks including Chemical Banking Corporation and Royal Bank of Canada.

Neeta holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Rutgers University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Columbia Business School. A CFA Charter-holder, she is a Member of the Association of Investment Management and Research.

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Thomas Lapierre

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Office  503 327-8142
Mobile 215 380-2590


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Thomas Lapierre, MSW, Senior Associate

Thomas Lapierre joined Opus Partners in early 2014. He has worked on senior-level assignments in facilities, finance and administration, information technology and research administration at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Duke University, Northwestern University, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, University of Arizona, UC Berkeley, UCSF, The University of Chicago, University of Washington, Washington University in St. Louis, Williams College, and Yale University among others.

Thomas earned his Masters of Social Work and undergraduate degree from Rhode Island College. His previous experience includes work with several non-profit organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest and Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education.  An avid tennis player, Thomas currently serves as Board President of a tennis organization in Portland.

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Marisea Rivera

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Office  971 242-8775
Mobile 215 490-4585


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Marisea Rivera, MS, Senior Associate & Certified Diversity Recruiter

Marisea joined the Portland office of Opus Partners in 2015 and works in the firm’s higher education and healthcare practices. Her client work includes searches for City of Hope National Medical Center, University of Miami, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, University of Chicago, and University of Dayton among others. Before joining Opus, she worked as an access consultant in disability services at the University of Arizona. Earlier in her career she worked litigation and jury consulting.

Marisea earned her bachelor’s degree from Reed College and her master’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is enthusiastic about criminal-justice reform and volunteers with a mitigation investigator in Arizona as well as at the Death Row Support Project. In addition, she is an AIRS Certified Diversity Recruiter.

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Jennifer Rumain

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Office  267 353 8750
Mobile 267 496 6607


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Jennifer Rumain, MS, Senior Associate

Jennifer joined Opus Partners in 2013. With over 12 years of executive search experience, Jennifer has conducted over 70 senior-level searches, including collegiate and academic departmental leadership searches for leading public and private research university clients for the Higher Education practice. Prior to joining Opus, Jennifer spent 5 years with Spencer Stuart, as an Associate in the Financial Officer and Professional Services practices.

Jennifer earned her Masters of Library & Information Science degree from Drexel University and undergraduate degree from Villanova University. A native of the Philadelphia area, Jennifer is an avid soccer player and volunteers at a Philadelphia branch library helping students prepare for their citizenship interviews and civic tests for U.S. naturalization.

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Lara Arlen-Wier

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Office  503-946-1154

Mobile 215-776-0995


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Lara Arlen-Wier, MS, MA, Research Associate

Lara joined Opus Partners in 2017 as Research Associate. She leads the research efforts by developing search-specific research strategies, and management of Opus Partners’ extensive propitiatory candidate database. Her work reaches across industry sectors with searches in senior administrative and academic roles for institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Davidson College, Princeton University, and Northwestern University.

Prior to Opus, Lara worked for organizations spanning nonprofit sectors including higher education, humanitarian, human services, arts, and performing arts with a specialization in fundraising research and prospect management. Her most recent role was at the Juilliard School with previously held positions at the Pratt Institute and the International Rescue Committee. Lara also taught in the nonprofit management certificate program offered by Portland State University, and consulted on fundraising operations for nonprofits in the Portland area. She serves as Programming Chair for APRA-NW and served on the Diversity Committee at the Pratt Institute. Lara holds an undergraduate degree from Scripps College, an M.A. from Hollins University, and an M.S. from the Pratt Institute.

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Claire Miller

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Office 215 790-1188 x234 


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Claire Miller, Principal, Finance & Operations

Claire Miller joined Opus Partners in 2004 and is responsible for all aspects of office administration, as well as providing support to client-facing consultants. Additionally, Claire is responsible for overseeing the monitoring and reporting of company financials.

Prior to joining Opus, Claire was the Practice Manager for Putney Dentists. In this role, Claire was responsible for overseeing the practice’s financial and administrative systems. During this time, she was also a major contributor to Putney Dentists receiving the Investor in People award. Additionally, she was responsible for the practice’s membership to the British Dental Association’s (BDA) Good Practice Scheme. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science honors degree from Queen Mary and Westfield College at the University of London.

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Barbara Urso

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Office 215 790-1188 x224


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Barbara Urso, Senior Administrative Assistant

Barbara Urso joined Opus Partners in early 2012 as Senior Administrative Assistant.  In this role, she supports day-to-day office operations and provides support for consultants, candidates and clients.

Prior to joining Opus, Barbara spent more than 20 years in healthcare and higher education.  At Temple University Health System, she worked in hospital administration, organizational development and training, and information systems.  At Temple University, Barbara worked in public-policy research.  Born and raised in Philadelphia, Barbara is acknowledged in “Philadelphia, Neighborhoods, Division and Conflict in a Post-Industrial City” published by Temple University Press.

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