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.”
  •  “…[Kathleen] is amazing!  A terrific partner, always focused on solutions, never flustered by evolving needs, and delivers both high volume and high quality work simultaneously.”
  • "Lexi is organized, articulate, dependable, and fully committed to delivering for us.”


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.

Lexi Gordon
  • My home base: Bethesda, MD, USA
  • I cut my teeth: in traditional consulting with Deloitte and ICF International.
  • I earned my stripes: at Rich Products, Marriott International and The Clearing developing marketing and employer brand strategy and engaging with clients from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation to the Federal Aviation Administration and Lile International.
  • I'm known as: a tenacious and focused colleague always looking to grow and do more. I wrote an article in my 5th grade newsletter titled, “How kids can make money.” It’s no surprise I'm now helping employers intentionally connect with current and potential employees.
  • I'm proud that: I serve on the Board of Directors for Jobs Have Priority, a local Washington, DC-based non-profit linking the homeless with sustainable employment.
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: I was part of a team that helped a government training organization update its service offerings by transitioning its technology from traditional classroom-led training to include other forms of web-based training. As a result, this client is now able to offer training and certifications to tens of thousands more people across the country.
  • My team and clients love that I: Am organized and can tell you what is going on at any given time for any given project. 
  • I clocked time in a classroom getting: an MBA from Vanderbilt University, and a liberal arts degree at Hamilton College.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: Walking my dog with my husband, eating at restaurants, tasting wine, spending time with friends, finding the best deals, Pinterest-ing, and watching my favorite shows on Hulu.
  • I reward myself by: Shopping.
  • On my perfect day off I would: Go on a morning hike with my husband, daughter, and dog and spend the afternoon on a patio drinking wine and eating a cheese plate. 
  • I can't live without: Family, wine, cheese, Sephora, and J.Crew
  • My latest obsession: Baby products.
  • My first job: Shining my dad’s shoes for $2/pair. If we’re counting W-2’s only, then it was at Fowler’s Chocolate and Ice Cream in Buffalo, NY.
  • Get the real resume: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi:  Here at exaqueo or @LexiDGordon.

Kathleen O'Brien, Principal Employer Brand Strategist

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.

KO Website Small-7622.jpg

  • My home base: St. Louis, MO, 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 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.

Shannon Smedstad, Principal Employer Brand Strategist

Attention to detail and exceptional employer brand experience are the hallmarks of Shannon's experience. With a career spanning over 15 years in employer brand, talent acquisition and staffing, Shannon brings in-house experience from both well-known brands and prestigious consulting firms. Her role as strategist and engagement manager has her partnering directly with clients to lend her expertise in technology, pharmaceuticals, non-profits and more.

  • My home base: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, USA
  • I cut my teeth: as an agency recruiter for Key Staffing Solutions during the dot-com era ... before smart phones and when we still faxed resumes. 
  • I earned my stripes: at GEICO. I joined the company’s university recruiting team in 2003, and in 2014 I left after building and leading its employer brand and social recruiting strategies.
  • I'm known as: someone who works hard and is nice to people.
  • I'm proud that: I was named a Talent Warrior by Glassdoor and have had the opportunity to speak at several industry conferences. 
  • My team and clients love that I: understand the big picture, can develop smart tactics to achieve business outcomes, and bring creativity and energy to every project. 
  • I clocked time in a classroom getting: a BA in Speech Communication and graduated with honors from Shippensburg University.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on:  raising confident and courageous daughters, leading a Girl Scout troop, and taking care of a pup named Taco.
  • I reward myself by: going for a run and having a big glass of red wine (but not at the same time).
  • On my perfect day off I would: sleep in, go for a run, spend time outdoors with my family, and then go out for a nice dinner.
  • I can't live without: the support of my husband, the love of my kids, and the advice from my mom.
  • My latest obsession: Westworld, Post-it notes and blogging.
  • My first job: I was 14 and walked to a local campground to work in the store for $4.25 per hour -- which I saved to help put myself through college.
  • Get the real resume: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hi: Here at exaqueo or @shannonsmedstad.

Neil Harvey, Creative Director

The best in the business, Neil's got a knack for finding just the right creative channel and voice for every employer. As one of the few creative directors in the business with deep, focused experience in employer brand, Neil brings his 20+ years of art direction and creative execution across every continent (save Antarctica) to exaqueo's global client base.

  • My home base:  Clerkenwell, London, UK
  • I cut my teeth: In a number of high profile positions within London advertising and communications agencies in the days when Oasis was on repeat and Spotify was the vision of a mad man’s dreams. Now look.
  • I earned my stripes: As a Creative Director with J. Walter Thompson London and at TMP Worldwide as Head of Creative for the UK and Ireland - when a beard meant you were old… Now a beard means you’re young… I’ve never grown a beard. Too itchy. 
  • I'm known as: ‘User friendly’ - Non-confrontational but fairly persuasive. Creative arguments are pointless if the work doesn't work. I love work that works.
  • I'm proud that: I’m able to balance the commercial realities of business whilst earning the right to be creative. Creativity is a gift, and shouldn't be assumed. Great ideas are earned so work hard to make them be.
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was: to be responsible for what the MET Police described as ‘Operational gridlock’ in west London. The irony being the road closure was so we could shoot an employer brand film for the MET Police themselves in how they managed the situation. The ultimate in method acting I guess. It won many awards nonetheless.
  • My team and clients love that I: have to support everything I do with sound effects and wafty hand gestures. I think they love it… yeah, I’m sure they do. Not annoying at all. No, definitely not annoying. Loved.
  • I clocked time in a classroom getting: a BA Hons degree from the Falmouth School of Art and Design. Beautiful place in my heart for ever.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: Being IT manager for my children. That’s all I do. 
  • I reward myself by: syphoning off ‘leisure budget’ for anything made of carbon fibre. 
  • On my perfect day off I would: Compete in a multi-sport event of some kind followed by the reward of a numerous beers. It’s all about the T-shirt.
  • I can't live without: Tabasco Sauce. Nothing else to add.
  • My latest obsession: At the time of writing this - Cyclocross (this obsession expires in 28 days)
  • My first job: Porter at Boots pharmacy. Domesday tannoy announcement - “Can a porter please go to the baby aisle, spillage!”
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo, @ndharvey or @Groupbrand 

Pete Radloff, Lead 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.

Lesley Bartley, Consultant

  • My home base: Nashville, TN, USA
  • I cut my teeth: in management consulting for pharmaceutical companies and various Human Resources roles at Humana.
  • I earned my stripes: at Humana developing and managing a customized competency library for their unique role structure and tailoring the online technology to support the process; overhauling Humana’s performance management system and later integrating it with a new talent management approach.
  • I'm known as: honest and direct with a high degree of integrity and a bit of tough love when needed.
  • I'm proud that: I was selected to lead the creation of Vanderbilt’s MBA Leadership Development Program that was launched in 2006 for the class of 2008.  That program is still going strong today having had a positive impact on the leadership capabilities of so many Vanderbilt MBA students.
  • One of the biggest impacts I have made for a client was:  challenging a c-level executive on talent he had vs. talent he needed, developing the organization design, talent development and growth strategies to meet his vision for his organization.  Working together we had to revitalize the culture while cultivating leadership capabilities in seasoned professionals experiencing their first opportunities in managing people, resulting in one of the strongest engagement scores in the company.
  • My team and clients love that I: am disciplined, thoughtful and fun.
  • I clocked time in a classroom getting: an MBA from Vanderbilt University, and a history and sociology of science degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: raising my two children, cooking, trying to squeeze time in at the gym or in yoga class.
  • I reward myself by: doing all the things ladies love to do…shopping, enjoying a spa day (or at least a pedicure), and eating chocolate.
  • On my perfect day off I would: sleep in, enjoy a big, Southern-style brunch followed by a long afternoon hike at Radnor Lake with my family, capped off with a fire in the fire pit complimented by fine wine, rich chocolate, and good conversation with my husband.
  • I can't live without: my family, a captivating work of fiction, peanut butter and chocolate chips.
  • My latest obsession: channeling the energy of a four year-old boy while taming the sass of an almost two year-old girl.
  • My first job: beyond the babysitting I started at age 12…I took a giant leap into being a teacher’s assistant at Funshine Factory Children’s Center and Day Care in Indianapolis, IN when I was finally able to drive.
  • Get the real resume: over on LinkedIn.
  • Say hiHere at exaqueo.

Nihar Ragunath, 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, Associate

  • My home base: Palm Harbor, FL
  • I cut my teeth: teaching technology, education and business course at Pasco-Hernando Community College in New Port Richey, FL.
  • I earned my stripes:  working for CaseSoft - a litigation software company and I traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada training lawyers, business executives, doctors, government and military officials on the ins and outs of database and case management. Now I serve in multiple operations and research capacities for exaqueo.
  • I'm known as: a proud mom and wife. My husband John, is an AET Chief in the US Coast Guard and we have 6-year old twins.
  • 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.
  • I clocked time in a classroom getting: an M.Ed with a focus in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida.
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: My family: husband and 6-year old twins; cooking.
  • I reward myself by: Eating popcorn and drinking smoothies, but not at the same time.
  • On my perfect day off I would: Go rollerblading on the local trail. 
  • I can't live without: My children's laughter.
  • My latest obsession: Magnum ice cream bars, especially the gold/light butterscotch and white chocolate bars.  
  • My first job: Working at a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo restaurant at age 16.
  • Say hi:  Here at exaqueo.