Partners in your vision.

A personal touch, every time, ensures that each search is unique to your requirements and circumstances.

Executive search consultants Howard & O’Brien possess the perfect balance of high-tech with high-touch, providing the deep research and database resources of a global executive search firm with the personal, hands-on service and insight of a boutique search firm. You are guaranteed direct involvement from our partners who have over five decades of combined executive search experience across a wide range of industries, functions, and business structures. This includes niche talent markets ordinary search firms aren’t as comfortable handling.

Each search is different, with our commitment to customize a unique approach that fits your needs and circumstances. We become a partner in your vision, offering a personalized and proactive relationship that emphasizes organizational fit to ensure smooth onboarding and long-term tenure, while protecting your employment brand by treating candidates with respect and follow-through.

We look forward to showing you how our career search consultants can put the power of FIT³® to work for you.

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Commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)

Howard & O’Brien Executive Search is committed to shaping a diverse workforce that drives operational excellence. We strive to provide a diverse slate of candidates for every search so that our clients can choose the best hire for their organization, not just for today but for tomorrow. 

As a member of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC), we are proud to support the AESC Diversity Pledge and Code of Professional Practice.

Meet Howard & O'Brien Founder & CEO

Lee Ann Howard

LeeAnn Executive Recruitment Consultants - Howard & O'Brien

Lee Ann Howard is the founder of Howard & O’Brien Executive Search. She identifies candidates for senior general management positions, and specializes in functional assignments in human resources, finance, and sales and marketing. She has extensive expertise in finding successful CEO and other C-suite executives, in addition to key board of director members for both public and privately held companies.

Lee Ann’s effectiveness lies in her ability to immerse herself in organizational culture and gain a thorough understanding of a client’s needs and wants. With her willingness to do deep dives into the personalities of both a client company and a candidate, she optimizes the chances of a perfect fit.

Lee Ann draws on her experience in senior human resources positions with world-class companies, including Nestlé S.A., The DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company, Marion Merrell Dow, and Frito-Lay, Inc., to best serve her clients. She also worked with another executive search firm before striking out on her own to establish her own firm.

Lee Ann is active in both professional organizations and philanthropic endeavors. She is currently on the board of the MetroHealth Foundation and has served in leadership roles on the boards of the American Heart Association, In Counsel with Women, The Gathering Place, Women’s Community Foundation, and Business Volunteers Unlimited. She is a member of The 50 Club and founded the Conversations with the Board® series, which prepares executive women to serve on boards of directors. Lee Ann is a YWCA Women of Achievement and Crain’s Women of Note honoree. She was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and has received many awards and honors, including the National Association of Women Business Owners Top Ten Award in Northeast Ohio, the Athena Award, Women of Note, and the Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service.

Lee Ann earned an MS from Baker University and a BA from Truman State University.


Howard & O'Brien Executive Search has been recognized with numerous awards such as:

award ey

EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist - Cleveland Region

award athena

Athena Award – in support of developing women leaders

award nawbo

National Association of Women Business Owners – top 10 Cleveland Chapter

  • - YWCA Women of Achievement
  • - Crain’s Women of Note honoree
  • - Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service
  • - Team NEO Success Award
  • - COSE Top Ten Under Ten Award
  • - Leadership Cleveland Class of 2005