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our executive search team

Kim Shanahan


Ms. Shanahan brings 25+ years of business and executive search experience to accelHRate. She has partnered with hundreds of CEOs, Board Members and CHRO’s across multiple industries and geographies to place HR, CEO and Board of Directors talent. Prior to Co-Founding accelHRate in 2014, she spent eight years with Korn Ferry where she led the HR Center of Expertise as Senior Client Partner and simultaneously served as Managing Partner for the company’s Northern Virginia office. She was also an active member of the CEO and Board Practice.

Prior to joining Korn Ferry in 2006, Ms. Shanahan led Wireless Corporate Strategy and Business Development for MCI, where she helped develop MCI’s next generation broadband and convergence strategy, formed and managed strategic partnerships and launched new markets across the US. Ms. Shanahan was first recruited to MCI in Human Resources to develop and lead its global executive recruiting and talent strategy. Prior to MCI, Ms. Shanahan spent four years with Heidrick & Struggles, where she focused on C-level searches for technology and consumer companies globally. Earlier, Ms. Shanahan spent several years in management consulting with DFI International.

Ms. Shanahan serves on the Board of National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF). She also serves on multiple Advisory Boards for Virginia Tech, including the APEX Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, President Sands’ National Capital Region Leadership Council, The Department of Management, and the Pamplin College of Business (PAC). She is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Fairfax’s Signature Program. She has been published and/or featured in Fortune Magazine, Human Resource Executive Magazine, HROToday, Chief Executive Magazine, SHRM, The Washington Post and has been co-host on “The CEO Show” on Executive Leaders Radio. She has previously been named one of Washington’s 100 Tech Titans. Ms. Shanahan holds a B.S. degree with a double major in finance and communications from Virginia Tech.

We are proud of the talented team we have built. Together, with our shared values, commitment to client partnership, focus on candidate experience and passion around accelHRate’s direct impact on Business transformation, we have been recognized by Forbes, the Washington Business Journal and others as one of the Top Executive Search Firms in the country.

– Kim Shanahan, CEO/Founder

Kelly McPherson

Managing Partner/Founder

Ms. McPherson brings close to 20 years of Recruiting and Management experience to the company. In her role at accelHRate she focuses on Chief Human Resources Officers, Head of Total Rewards and Heads of Talent roles. Her clients range from Fortune 500 organizations to private equity portfolio companies across a range of industries including technology, healthcare, B2B services, financial services, defense, industrial, retail and consumer services.

Prior to joining accelHRate, she served as Director of Talent Acquisition at National Security Partners where she built and led the enterprise-wide Talent function. She successfully steered the Talent team through five acquisitions over seven years, including the initial private equity investment. Prior to this, she held a variety of Senior Management roles, overseeing a portfolio of programs including consulting services both on the defense and commercial sectors.

Earlier in her career she served as an Associate with one of the largest global executive search firms, Heidrick & Struggles supporting the International Technology Practice. Kelly began her career in pharmaceutical sales with Eli Lilly. Ms. McPherson holds a B.S. degree in psychology from Virginia Tech.