WE DON'T LET EACH OTHER OR OUR CLIENTS DOWN. EVER.

The way our team works with each other means we're better equipped to serve our clients. We care deeply about our clients and their success. It's not about growing accounts. It's about understanding exactly what our clients need and how we can be their best possible partner. And it shows in the feedback they share:

  • "Shannon is a perfect partner.  Love working with her.  I’m so glad she’s on your team.”
  • "Lexi is organized, articulate, dependable, and fully committed to delivering for us.”
  • "Who you work with matters and Julia's the reason I reached out to you."
  • "I’ve been brimming over with excitement the entire time. I am just thrilled with the work you all put together and think it’s brilliant."

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Susan LaMotte, SPHR, Founder + CEO

Susan Strayer LaMotte is exaqueo's founder and CEO. She's well known in HR and business with 20 years of HR, employer brand and talent leadership roles at companies like The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Marriott International and Corporate Executive Board (CEB). Susan's expertise and thought leadership in employer brand is well known and she's widely cited in and writes for publications like Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc. and The Washington Post. 
Read more about Susan.

"Our clients know they come first. We're always honest, open and committed to delivering the best work possible.
It's the kind of relationship we wanted from our partners when we were in-house in HR, employer brand and talent acquisition roles. Everything we do reflects the unique experience set only our team can bring." 


Lexi Gordon, Chief Operating Officer and Principal Brand Strategist

Lexi's role as our COO is focused on the most important aspect of our operations: client service. In addition to managing client engagements and lending her consumer and employer brand expertise, Lexi oversees exaqueo's engagement management process balancing efficiency and quality for our clients. Lexi's background melds consumer brand, employer brand and consulting working with clients and colleagues around the globe.

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  • My home base: Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
  • I'm known as: Always thinking through process and how best to approach things.
  • I'm proud that: I'm a working mom.
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: Seeing the evolution of a client team from novice to expert when speaking about employer brand. We're here to make tangible impacts on businesses, but we're also here to support our individual clients and their growth. This particular client was pretty green to the employer brand world in the beginning of the project. As the project progressed, we were part of internal meetings and got to hear our client really start to "talk the talk" to their leaders. It made me smile that we had a part in their professional growth.
  • My team and clients love that I: keep us on track.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: spending time with my family, which includes my husband, daughter, son, and dog. I also enjoy spending time with friends, going to restaurants, walking through our neighborhood, enjoying a glass of wine, and thinking about possible house renovations.
  • I reward myself by: shopping and an indulgent treat.
  • On my perfect day off I would: wander around Paris.
  • I can't live without: my family, my phone, and some under eye concealer.
  • Get the real resume: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo or @LexiDGordon.

Shannon Smedstad, Principal Employer Brand Strategist and Engagement Director

Attention to detail and exceptional employer brand experience are the hallmarks of Shannon's experience. With a career spanning nearly 20 years in employer brand, talent acquisition, and employee communications, Shannon brings in-house experience from both well-known brands and a prestigious, global consulting firm. Her role as strategist and engagement director has her partnering with clients to lend her expertise in technology, pharmaceuticals, non-profits, hospitality, and more.

  • My home base: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, USA
  • I'm known as: someone who brings initiative and creativity to projects.
  • I'm proud that: I'm part of the exaqueo story and am making an impact on clients around the world. 
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: to develop the strategy behind and launch their first-ever global employer brand.
  • My team and clients love that I: feel like a true extension of their teams.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: my amazing family and leading two Girl Scout troops.
  • I reward myself by: running, having a glass of red wine, sleeping in.
  • On my perfect day off I would: lounge by the pool at The Hotel Hershey with my family.
  • I can't live without: my to-do lists, paper planner, and morning coffee.
  • Get the real resume: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo or @shannonsmedstad.

Emily Fritz, Employer Brand Strategist and Engagement Manager

Relationship-building and outstanding engagement management are the hallmarks of Emily’s experience. She brings her in-house marketing, social media, and branding experience from a Fortune 500 and a high-growth software organization. As a brand strategist and engagement manager she partners directly with clients to lend her expertise.

  • My home base: Richmond, Virginia, USA.
  • I’m known as: a conscientious person who takes work seriously. I’m often described as passionate and creative.
  • I’m proud that: in my first year at exaqueo, I traveled across the United States and internationally to support my clients in everything from workforce research to photo shoots! 
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: creating a content strategy and 12-month calendar workbook that was simple to use, flexible, and functional for anyone in the organization to own.
  • My team and clients love that I: have a fearless pursuit to get things done, and a natural ability to listen and provide a unique perspective.
  • My energy outside work is spent on: exploring Richmond's food, drink and outdoors with my husband and our two miniature poodles.
  • I reward myself by: shopping, Netflix binges, and drinking champagne.
  • On my perfect day off I would: sleep in, eat a delicious brunch with my husband and then go explore a nearby park or trail with the poodles.
  • I can’t live without: my family and coffee.
  • Get the real resume: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo or @Social_Em.

Julia Zelenock, Employer Brand Strategist and Engagement Manager

Julia's experience in consumer brand and marketing brings an eye for alignment to our team and a deep expertise in the fundamentals of marketing. With over 18 years in corporate brand, marketing and communications, Julia brings in-house and international leadership experience with global brands, working in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Her role as strategist and engagement manager has her leading client engagements balanced with strategic brand expertise.

  • My home base: Longview, Texas, USA
  • I'm known as: someone who thinks through situations in 360° to understand why before creating ideas for action.
  • I'm proud that: I stay connected with an amazing group of friends and prior colleagues, despite time and geographic distance.
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: leading the internal and external brand, culture and marketing communications conversion of a front-line employee network, across multiple locations amidst a rapid acquisition.
  • My team and clients love that I: am curious, loyal and truly believe there is always a route to success – if we cannot find it, we create it
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: time with family and friends, exploring back roads, enjoying football in the fall (don’t mess with my Texas Aggies & Dallas Cowboys), being in/on the water in the summer, snow skiing in the winter and simply being outside anytime in between. 
  • I reward myself by: enjoying a glass of red wine – sometimes in the peace of quiet or sometimes in an engaging conversation.
  • On my perfect day off I would: spend the day boating then relax with a steak/fajitas and glass of wine in front of a fire.  
  • I can't live without: My nephew and nieces. I love being an Aunt and think of them anytime I want to smile.
  • Get the real resume and bio: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo!

Sarah Thacker, Employer Brand Strategist and Engagement Manager

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Sarah's experience in both public and private sectors, in addition to her focus on creating workforce and talent solutions through research, innovation, and data will undoubtedly add value to our variety of clients and bring a new perspective to #teamexaqueo. With 10 years of work experience in nonprofit, higher education, and corporate environments, she continues to provide service with a strong passion for people. 

  • My home base: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • I'm known as: creative, energetic, optimistic, and passionate. Clients and colleagues say my enthusiasm is contagious, and intellect is insightful.
  • I'm proud that: my career has evolved by taking chances and saying, “I can do that!” Every career has shaped my expertise until this point, and I’m proud of the journey I’ve traveled and the successes I’ve achieved. 
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: when I lead efforts to bring analytical insights and lean methodologies to a global social media strategy. This allowed the team to track and determine effective data use in decision making for process improvement.
  • My team and clients love that I: let my actions speak louder than words, strong analytical perspective, and that I choose to listen and understand first, and seek to provide the solution.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: exploring the outdoors (all seasons here in Michigan), sharing adventures with my young daughter, writing, cooking, planning my next trip, and practicing mindfulness
  • I reward myself by: enjoying a great meal and a moscow mule, and taking time to reflect on progress. 
  • On my perfect day off I would: Sleep in, brunch, movies, playing old school video games or board games, and being completely present in the moment.
  • I can't live without: a journal, tacos, intellectual conversation, music, and nature.  
  • Get the real resume and bio: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo! or @sarah_m_thacker

Alyssa Bani, Employer Brand Strategist and Engagement Manager

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Self-starter, team player and strategic-thinker are some of the ways to describe Alyssa. She brings both in-house employer brand and consumer brand experience to #teamexaqueo. Having worked in multiple industries including health care, food and beverage and financial services, and in different parts of the world, Alyssa’s diverse background offers a unique perspective. Amongst her colleagues, she’s known for her project management skills, eye for detail, and cross-functional leadership.

  • My home base: Oklahoma City, OK, USA
  • I'm known as: forward-looking, determined and adventurous.
  • I'm proud that: I stepped outside my comfort zone to move to Europe to obtain my master’s degree and work abroad. Through this experience, I learned countless lessons about the global workplace, value of diverse perspectives and importance of relationships.
  • One of the biggest impacts I've made for a client was: creating and executing a global strategy around internal career mobility and employee engagement for a Fortune 10 company.
  • My team and clients love that I: am organized, flexible, reliable, and relationship-oriented.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: practicing and teaching yoga, traveling and exploring new cities with my husband, learning French, and cheering on the Green Bay Packers.
  • I reward myself by: enjoying a delicious meal paired with good wine and music.
  • On my perfect day off I would: spend the day in the south of France, under the sun, with Provençal food, a glass of rosé, and the ones I love.
  • I can't live without: espresso, yoga and good conversation.
  • Get the real resumeover on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo or @alyssa_bani.

Roger Cayless, Executive Creative Director

Roger has been working professionally as a Designer, Art Director and Creative Director for over 20 years. A great deal of that time has been spent helping organisations (local and global) from a diverse range of industries build their employer brand.

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  • My home base: Chichester and London, UK (and frequently on trains between the two).
  • I cut my teeth: At a number of local design and advertising businesses before accepting a role in London with TMP Worldwide.
  • I earned my stripes: As Creative Director with TMP. Back then I rode a micro scooter to work and thought I looked cool.
  • I'm known as: Helpful and hard-working. I’d like to say creative, but I’ll let others judge that. I don’t think I’m known as a diva, but you’ve got to have high standards, this is a competitive business.
  • I'm proud that: I make a living doing something I enjoy and that requires me to think.
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: Helping recruit Police Officers from minority backgrounds in London, during the most challenging time in the history of the Metropolitan Police.
  • My team and clients love that I: Care about whether the work actually works. I genuinely want to achieve results, not just do something that looks nice.
  • I clocked time in a classroom getting: A diploma in graphic design and advertising… but I learnt the most doing a one-year foundation course in printing.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: Family, judo, being a school Governor and things I used to think made my parents boring – like visiting garden centres. 
  • I reward myself by: The sometimes contradictory pastimes of food, beer and exercise.
  • On my perfect day off I would: Go on a day out with my family and find that impossible something everyone wants to do, whilst infrequently checking my phone for emails.
  • I can't live without: The constant praise and validation of others.
  • My latest obsession: Making my own beer.
  • My first job: Aged 10, I set up a car washing business with my friend Robert Kidney – ‘CAYKID Car washing’. Catchy! We drew our own business cards and everything. He’s now Professor Kidney.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo or @Groupbrand. 

Kathleen O'Brien, Employer Brand Consultant

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With a solutions-focused perspective and a practiced patience for getting it right, Kathleen's clients appreciate her deep commitment to quality. She brings her in-house experience from a F500, multinational firm and a high-growth finance organization. Her role as strategist and engagement manager has her partnering directly with clients to lend her expertise in healthcare, hospitality and more.

  • My home base: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
  • I cut my teeth: starting as an intern and worked my way up in Talent Acquisition for a global, Fortune 500 company.
  • I earned my stripes: leading recruitment marketing at Northrop Grumman and starting up talent strategy at Scottrade.
  • I’m known as: someone who problem solves and spearheads new ideas from concept to completion. I’m often described innovative, dynamic and driven…and recognized for building strategic partnerships and producing results. My start-up mentality fused with my keen business acumen has been key to my success.
  • I’m proud that: during my time leading Recruitment Marketing at Northrop Grumman, we were recognized by The Social Recruitment Monitor as the Top Performing U.S. Company using social media for recruitment (2013) and our employer brand campaign won Best Research Project at the Creative Excellence Awards (2012)
  • One of the biggest impacts I made recently was: establishing social listening/reputation monitoring and using data to drive strategy decisions. My analysis lead to the executive leadership team putting resources towards employee engagement and employer brand initiatives.
  • My team loves that I: have a passion for what I do, have the natural ability to build commitment and practice continuous improvement by focusing on data to help drive decisions.
  • I clocked my time in a classroom getting: a BS in Marketing from Virginia Tech and a leadership certificate from Leadership Fairfax’s Emerging Leaders Institute (ELI).
  • My energy outside work is spent on: quality time with family and friends, working out, being outdoors, channeling my creative side (through photography, design, painting, cooking etc) and community service (Junior League)
  • I reward myself by: 1) Shopping, 2) enjoying a fine wine or craft beer (paired with something delicious like chocolate or cheese), or 3) all of the above
  • On my perfect day off I would: sleep in, eat my favorite meal (brunch) and go on a new adventure with my husband
  • I can’t live without: my camera. I love capturing memories anywhere/everywhere. When shooting on my iPhone, I give a new meaning to #nofilter…I’m that nerd who doesn’t use Instagram presets and instead manually edits my own photos.
  • My latest obsessions: are decorating and gardening. We've just moved into a new house and my creative juices are flowing! Of course, I’ve already created multiple inspiration boards on Pinterest and Houzz.
  • My first job: I got my first real W-2 as a soccer referee at 14 and outside of the corporate world, I’ve been a hotel front desk associate, hostess, waitress, babysitter, photographer and lacrosse coach.
  • Get the real resume: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo or @kathleen_eliz.

Pete Radloff, Talent Acquisition Consultant

  • My home base: Reston, VA, USA
  • I cut my teeth: as a recruiter with Randstad and Sapphire Technologies.
  • I earned my stripes: in recruiting leadership roles with organizations including NPR, comScore and LivingSocial recruiting both in the U.S. and abroad for these companies, and developing successful recruitment frameworks, college and university programs, recruitment processes and procedures, and enhancements to the candidate experience to enhance employer brand.
  • I'm known as: one of the best recruiting strategists in the business. I've been in the trenches and developed recruiting programs from scratch for multi-million dollar companies.
  • I'm proud that: I've made it through several rounds of recruitment systems selection and implementation, including vendor selection and came out alive. I also serve on the Board of Directors for RecruitDC.
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: making a proposal to overhaul a lagging Applicant Tracking System for a extremely fast-growing startup. Over the course of 6 months, I stripped the system down to the shell and re-built it from the ground up and relaunched it company wide. this gave managers access to the system, improved communications and reduced time to hire by 15+ days.
  • My team and clients love that I: have a passion for what I do, and get genuinely excited about how to introduce and improve processes. 
  • I clocked time in a classroom getting: a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the State University of New York, and  several AIRS Certifications.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: spending time with my wife and kids, yoga, watching sports - especially Islanders hockey and Clemson football - or playing soccer. Oh, and geeking out on a good book at the beach.
  • I reward myself by: carving out time for myself to do not much of anything but read and relax. 
  • On my perfect day off I would: be at the beach, or camping in the woods, somewhere traffic and crowds do not exist.
  • I can't live without: my family, they are my rock. And music. I work and play to music, and the genres are all over the board!
  • My latest obsession: whatever my kids are into at that moment, taming my jade tree and focusing on some beach time.
  • My first job: working at a Dairy Barn at 14, which was a drive through market across the street from my house. It was a small place, so everyone kind of ran the whole store when they worked.
  • Get the real resume: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo or @PJRadloff.

Nihar Ragunath, Employer Brand Consultant

  • My home base: Bangalore, India
  • I cut my teeth: in traditional advertising and market research with Breeze Advertising, Canon, and Global Industry Analysts.
  • I earned my stripes: at TMI Network (a Hodes Network partner), Monster & TMP Worldwide in working on some of the biggest global corporate accounts in India and develop their employer brand campaigns.
  • I'm known as: dependable, hardworking and a focused person and will think for the customer always.
  • I'm proud that: I have worked, learned and gained experience that has not only yielded results for my customers but also I have made friends who add value in my life both at professional and personal front.
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: in developing their brand campaigns and high impact awareness to create relevant response from target audiences, especially when you are localizing global brands.
  • My team and clients love that I: am approachable, will listen to their concerns or issues and help them to overcome any such problems that stand in their way to succeed. 
  • I clocked time in a classroom getting: a Masters in International Management from Pondicherry University and a degree in science from University of Madras.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: listening to music, travel new places, watching movies, spending time with family and friends, trying new food outlets.
  • I reward myself by: relaxing at home or vacation.
  • On my perfect day off I would: go out with my family to a place preferably a new one and enjoy ourselves to unwind. 
  • I can't live without: music and Indian spicy food especially from Andhra Pradesh.
  • My latest obsession: charcoal painting.
  • My first job: doing market research for Canon and explore business growth opportunities in photo copier and document solution business in Hyderabad, India.
  • Get the real resume: over on LinkedIn
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo.

Candace Deuster, Administrative Associate

  • My home base: Palm Harbor, FL, USA
  • I'm known as: keeper of the schedules.
  • I'm proud that: I earned my A.A degree at 19 years old, B.A at 21 years old and M.Ed at 23 years old.
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: while I was working for a litigation software company as a corporate trainer, I was able to teach a group of government officials how to properly manage and input their legal documents and data into a litigation database program. They subsequently won a well-known government lawsuit.
  • My team and clients love that I: am organized and that I can juggle multiple schedules and projects at one time.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: my boy/girl twins and cooking up yummy desserts.
  • I reward myself by: eating birthday cake Halo Top ice cream.
  • On my perfect day off I would: go rollerblading on our local trail and eating lunch in downtown Dunedin.
  • I can't live without: my children's laughter.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo.