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.

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  • 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 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.

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.

Julia Zelenock, Employer Brand Strategist

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 15 years in traditional brand and marketing, Julia brings in-house and international experience from global brands. Her role as strategist and engagement manager has her leading client engagements balanced with strategic brand expertise.

•  My home base: Longview, Texas, USA
•  I cut my teeth: in marketing and communications roles promoting construction equipment brands with employees, associations, sales partners and customers across the US and Canada.
•  I earned my stripes: as Brand Manager for Ingersoll Rand; then designing the organization and work processes to promote and protect company brands in China for Bobcat Company; and ultimately leading marketing and brand strategy for North and South America with Volvo Group.
•  I'm known as: creative infused with analytical; someone who thinks through situations in 360° to understand why and create ideas for action.
•   I'm proud that: I stay connected with an amazing group of friends and prior colleagues, despite time and geographic distance as if time never passes - especially when we vet an idea or celebrate success!
•   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, while measuring record profits and earning top customer satisfaction ratings.
•  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
•  I clocked time in a classroom getting: an MBA from Indiana University and a BBA in International Business & Marketing from Texas A&M University. 
•  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.
•  My latest obsession: getting in shape – swimming, spinning & Pilates!
•  My first job: Babysitting and food prep in my parents’ sandwich shop. I paid my first income tax as a Lifeguard at 15, then added swim instructor, swim coach, youth sports referee to my resume before entering the equipment industry.
•  Get the real resume and bio: over on LinkedIn.
•  Say hi: Here at exaqueo!

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 forever.
  • 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.

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, Administrative 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.

Elizabeth Meyer, Marketing and Communications Associate

  • My home base: Richmond, Virginia
  • I cut my teeth: as a marketing intern for a small tech startup.
  • I earned my stripes: leading the summer intern project at CEB after my freshman year—involving 37 rising college seniors to produce videos and content for the company’s blog.
  • I'm known as: a hard worker who is not afraid to take the lead. I set up meetings with my parents and drafted a contract for my allowance when I was 12. I printed it on legal size paper to make sure it was “official.”
  • My team and clients love that I: am organized and not afraid to speak up.
  • I clocked time in a classroom getting: a BA in Business Administration with concentrations in Economics and Marketing and a minor in Law (one year still to go!).
  • My energy outside of work is spent on: being a student at the University of Richmond, participating in collegiate mock trial and spending time with friends.
  • I reward myself by: watching the Good Wife and going to bed early.
  • On my perfect day off I would: unplug and spend a day at the lake.
  • I can't live without: my planner, iced coffee and dark chocolate.
  • My latest obsessions: Staedtler colored pens, Talenti gelato, John Grisham.
  • My first job: pet-sitting for my neighbors—I even made business cards.
  • Say hi: here at exaqueo or on LinkedIn.