Society

Our Team

  • Christiane Baehr

    Christiane Baehr

    Christiane is the office chocaholic and an enthusiastic addition to any dancefloor. More often though, she expends her energy by running around after her two young daughters.

    Christiane is Society’s Chief Operating Officer. She studied German at Leicester University before going on to do a European Business Diploma at Anglia Polytechnic (now Anglia Ruskin University). She started her career in high-end hotels, working for Forte in the front office of The Russell and The Strand Palace in London, and subsequently became General Manager of a small chain of gastro pubs. Eventually she decided to buy her own pub in Hampstead, which she ran with her husband for seven years. Christiane joined Society in 2014 as our Office Manager and Bookkeeper. Her remit now encompasses all areas of the company's global operations. She speaks fluent German and conversational French. 

    +44 (0)203 653 0472
    christiane.baehr@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Vasile Boico

    Vasile Boico

    Vasile grew up in Romania and is now based in North West London. He enjoys cooking and reading. In his spare time, he can be found exploring the more idyllic areas of London, hiking in the countryside, and planning his next travel adventures.

    Vasile graduated from the University of Birmingham with a first-class degree in Psychology. During his studies, he worked part-time for a multinational company within the transportation analytics sector, and also completed a research placement assessing the links between post-stroke cognition, hippocampus health, and dementia. He has since gained invaluable experience in the early careers recruitment industry, culminating in a secondment with Sky. Vasile is currently undertaking a part-time Master’s degree in Clinical Neuroscience at UCL, having been involved in a research project aimed at developing a digital group intervention for individuals with functional neurological disorder. Inspired by Society’s values, culture of transparency, and global outlook, Vasile joined the Higher Education team in 2022 as a Researcher. He now works on senior appointments across the Higher Education Practice. Vasile speaks fluent Ukrainian and Romanian.

    +44 (0)203 653 0479
    vasile.boico@society-search.com

  • Alyce Brogan

    Alyce Brogan

    Alyce was born and raised in South London, and currently lives in Streatham with her young daughter, her husband, and their cat. She is a keen traveller and fine wine enthusiast, who also enjoys grisly crime novels.

    After reading Business and Hispanic Studies at the University of Liverpool, Alyce began a career in international contingent recruitment, spanning both agency and internal roles across consultancy, banking, and energy. This included graduate level appointments up to C-suite, as well as an ongoing focus on process improvement and candidate attraction strategies. She has additionally supported on several executive search assignments in sub-Saharan Africa on a freelance basis, working within the Not-For-Profit sector. Alyce joined Society in 2022 as a Principal Researcher within our Not-For-Profit Practice.

    +44 (0)20 3653 0475
    alyce.brogan@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Usma Collins

    Usma Collins

    Usma resides in Hertfordshire in the UK with her husband and her young daughter. She is actively involved locally as a School Governor. In her spare time, she loves playing netball.

    Usma read Social Policy at Loughborough University and upon graduating she entered the charity sector as a Crisis Worker. Following the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, Usma also became a National Trainer, tackling issues linked to institutional racism by training and empowering change. She then worked as Deputy Chief Executive for Ealing CVS, set up a new charity supporting adults with learning disabilities, before becoming an Assistant Divisional Director for a national early years charity. Interested in widening her sector experience, Usma next spent several years recruiting for independent schools within the UK and overseas. She found that she thrives on placing people into roles that fit their skills and passions. During this period she was also a board member with a social housing charity, supporting their strategic direction and overseeing a large-scale merger. She is now a school Governor and safeguarding lead. Usma joined Society in 2022.

    +44 (0)203 653 0481
    usma.collins@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Clare Davies

    Clare Davies

    Clare is a keen traveller, reader and enthusiastic (yet amateur) baker. She is at her happiest exploring remote paths with her family in Cornwall and Wales. When not at work, Clare is kept busy with her young family and their various sporting and social pursuits.

    After completing a BA in Sociology and French at Cardiff University, Clare joined a local authority in a role supporting vulnerable young people. Fulfilling her overseas calling, she subsequently interned for a year with UNICEF in Kenya and worked for a women’s rights charity, FEMNET, during the pioneering days of the women’s movement in Africa. Returning home, Clare completed an MA in the Social Anthropology of Development at SOAS, which cultivated a lifelong interest in diversity, advocacy and employability. Clare started her executive search career as a Researcher, specialising in clean and renewable technology, prior to going in-house for a few years as Resourcing Advisor for a multinational financial advisory group. She then spent eight years at Odgers Berndtson, specialising in executive and non-executive appointments in Higher Education. Most recently, Clare was a Consultant at the boutique board advisory firm Ridgeway Partners, supporting the appointment of non-executive directors for FTSE, AIM and Private Equity clients in the UK, Asia and the US. Clare joined Society in 2019 as our Head of Research. She works to ensure that Society’s research team, client offering, knowledge management and sector insights are world-class.

    +44 (0)203 653 0463
    clare.davies@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Christopher Egan

    Christopher Egan

    Born and raised in New Jersey, Chris is an avid sports fan. He lives in Hoboken with his girlfriend and their adopted American Bully. He’s always looking for the next best slice of pizza and an opportunity to get out on the golf course.

    Chris graduated from the University of South Carolina. He soon joined WGN America in its advertising sales department, working on accounts for some of the biggest advertisers in the world. After a brief spell with The Nonprofit Times, Chris worked with PNP Staffing Group. There he handled temporary and permanent staffing needs for non-profit organizations across the United States, specialising in Development and Finance roles. Chris joined Society in early 2022 as our Head of Business Development for North America.

    +1 646 974 9099
    christopher.egan@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Monika Fryzicka

    Monika Fryzicka

    Monika lives in central London and enjoys an eclectic mix of hobbies including furniture restoration, horse riding and writing.

    She read Law at the University of Birmingham and has worked in search and recruitment within the education sector since 2007, leading the international and independent schools consultancy division at The Times Educational Supplement (now TES Global) and subsequently for independent search firms and directly with schools. This has included working with individual schools, Boards and ‘not for profit’ organizations as well as large multinational school groups, investors, education providers and school brand international expansion & start up projects, appointing to both executive and senior support function roles. As such, her network covers both the educationalist and commercial & operational side of school leadership. Although she is based in London, she has spent significant time in the GCC and South East Asia.

    Monika has also been a speaker at several international and domestic association events and conferences, hosting seminars on the international schools’ market, best practice recruitment, recruitment strategy & retention and process management.

     

    +44 (0) 207 935 4024
    monika.fryzicka@society-search.com

  • Phil Gifford

    Phil Gifford

    Phil and his partner live in Wapping, East London, where this local-history enthusiast is rapidly becoming a kind of unofficial tour guide. His interests outside work include cycling, photography, and Formula 1. 

    Phil was raised in the English Midlands and moved to London after graduating with a First Class degree in Philosophy and Music. He spent the first eight years of his career recruiting permanent candidates into senior schools roles around the world on behalf of Connaught Education, where he ultimately led a team of consultants. He is extensively networked within the independent education sector, and his personal search track record includes a wide range of academic and operational leadership appointments. Phil joined the Schools and Colleges Practice at Society in 2022. He brings experience of supporting charitable organizations, for-profit private schools, education consultancies, and independent school groups and associations, as well as of working directly with individual school owners and proprietors. 

    +44 (0)203 653 0482
    phil.gifford@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Sarika Gohil

    Sarika Gohil

    Based in North London with her husband and their baby daughter, Sarika loves to explore the great outdoors and to travel. She is also a crafting enthusiast who enjoys making cards, candles, and other creations for special occasions and family events.

    Sarika grew up in Harrow. She graduated in 2006 with a degree in Business Management and French from the University of Manchester. As part of this course, she was able to spend a year in France in a small town called Nevers, teaching English to primary school children. Upon graduation, she became a Personal Assistant and spent 15 years working for companies including Microsoft, Lyle & Scott, and Vix Technology. She joined Society in 2021. As Executive Assistant & Head of Engagement, she provides support to our Managing Director and our Chief Operating Officer, whilst also overseeing the firm’s external communications and social media activity. Sarika speaks fluent Gujarati, degree level French, and basic German.

    +44 (0)203 653 0469
    sarika.gohil@society-search.com

  • Mahfuza Koli Haque

    Mahfuza Koli Haque

    Mahfuza is an avid reader, a tennis lover, and a tea enthusiast. She's usually the mother hen of any group and enjoys a quiet night in with a movie and good company. 

    Born and brought up in London, Mahfuza read Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at King’s College, graduating with a 2:1. In the past, she has been heavily involved in doing community project work and was the General Secretary of the national student-led organization, FOSIS, for two years. Recently, she has started to learn Arabic in her spare time. She speaks fluent Bengali.

    Mahfuza now works as part of our global Higher Education team, undertaking research on assignments for clients based all over the world. Her experience spans a wide range of academic disciplines and levels of seniority and her track record includes several appointments at the London College of Fashion, including the Dean of Academic Strategy; Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at the University of Sheffield; and Professor of Marketing at the University of Exeter. She has also led on the appointment of Members to the Advisory Committee for Degree Awarding Powers at the QAA as well as working on various other leadership appointments for clients such as the University of Greenwich, Liverpool and Edinburgh.

    +44 (0)203 653 0471
    mahfuza.haque@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • James Lea

    James Lea

    James loves travelling and has worked all around the world. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the ever-expanding hotel and restaurant scene in the three cities where Society's offices are located.

    James originates from Lancashire in the UK. He attended Stonyhurst College and later studied for a Hospitality HND at Thames Valley University (now the University of West London). Upon graduation he was enrolled onto the bespoke management training course at the Landmark London hotel. After a number of years, James relocated to Australia, where he became Corporate Events Sales Manager for the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney. He moved into recruitment in 2007 at Hudson Global Resources, handling appointments in the Accounting and Finance space, before moving to Hostec and opening their London office. Immediately prior to joining Society, James worked for Portfolio International, part of the PSD Group. James was the first Regional Director of our North American business, setting up our presence in New York. After two and a half years, he relocated to London to be the first point of contact for Society’s private sector client base across all sectors. In February 2021, James moved to Auckland to be the first Regional Director of our Asia-Pacific business, developing our work across all sectors. His personal search track record includes placing the CEO/Secretaries of the Athenaeum Club, the Lansdowne Club, the Hong Kong Club, and the Oriental Club. He has also completed multiple appointments for the likes of Peninsula Hotels, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Lastminte.com, Ebookers.com, Booking.com, and Expedia.

    +64 (0)21419 727
    james.lea@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Simon Lucas

    Simon Lucas

    Simon lives in North Hertfordshire with his wife, his two children, and a ridiculously large collection of DVDs. He is a bit of a history and politics buff, with a soft spot for what he calls 'classic' rock.

    Simon is Society's Managing Director and Founder. He is a passionate believer in the ability of leadership to have a transformative effect on organizations, and in the ability of responsible organizations to have a transformative impact on the wider world. Simon grew up in South Wales, and read Philosophy and Politics at the University of Warwick. Along the way, he was Head Boy of Olchfa Comprehensive School in Swansea, and President of the Students’ Union at Warwick. In 2005, he was hired as one of the first colleagues at the executive search firm Perrett Laver. He worked there for several years before setting up Society. Simon’s personal search track record includes handling Vice-Chancellor appointments for the University of Southampton and the University of Nottingham, Chief Executive appointments for the likes of WAC Arts, Membership Solutions Ltd (MSL), and the National Trust for Scotland, and Non-Executive appointments for HM Treasury, CAFCASS, and the British Exploring Society. Simon was a founding Trustee of The Society Foundation and is currently a Trustee of Hitchin Girls' School in Hertfordshire.

    +44 (0)203 653 0462
    simon.lucas@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Jomar Mercado

    Jomar Mercado

    Jomar grew up in Puerto Rico, but always dreamed of living and working in ‘the Big Apple’. He particularly enjoys exploring the many different museums around New York’s five boroughs and is continually discovering new and unusual ones to visit.

    Jomar graduated from the University of Puerto Rico School of Communication and worked with a variety of organizations in Puerto Rico, such as PR firms, not-for-profits, and government agencies. He relocated to New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and completed a distance learning Masters in Corporate Communication from the Open University of Catalonia. His specialism became helping clients to gain more visibility through PR efforts, improved media relations, social media campaigns, and community outreach. After five years in the Communications and Public Relations sector, he shifted into the executive search arena and joined Society in 2021. He now works as a generalist Researcher, helping to lead assignments across North America and the wider world. Jomar is a native Spanish speaker.

    +1 (646) 974 9098
    jomar.mercado@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Emily Payne

    Emily Payne

    Emily is a keen traveller and is at her happiest when hiking across remote areas of New Zealand’s South Island. She has recently completed a marathon and now has plans to undertake a five-day kayak trip through the Abel Tasman National Park.

    Emily grew up in the UK, but moved to New Zealand in 2021. She has a degree in Physical Geography from the University of Leeds. During her time at University, she visited the Stubai Alps in Austria, where she co-authored a published scientific report investigating the ablation rate of a rapidly shrinking glacier as a result of climate change. Shortly after graduating, Emily spent time travelling around Australia and South East Asia. Upon returning to the UK, she began her career in executive search, working as a Researcher for a boutique board-level firm that specialised in senior executive and non-executive appointments. Emily joined Society in 2022 and is based in Auckland, from where she assists on a wide range of cross-sector assignments throughout the Asia Pacific region.

    +44 (0)20 3653 0465
    emily.payne@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Vikas Pota

    Vikas Pota

    Vikas has been a long-standing friend of the firm. He now sits on our Board of Advisors, helping to expand Society's reach into new areas, and advising our Managing Director on strategic issues.   

    Vikas Pota is the Founder and CEO of T4 Education, a digital media platform he established as a response to the challenges posed by the pandemic to education globally. T4 is building the world’s largest community of teachers and schools and is providing opportunities for educators to network, collaborate, share best practices, and support each other’s efforts to improve learning. T4 works to amplify teachers’ voices, because the world in which every child receives a good education will only be built by listening to those at the heart of education. Vikas was previously CEO of a philanthropic foundation, has been recognised as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and as one of London’s 1,000 "most influential people". He was recently named European Regional Honouree for the 2022 YPO Global Impact Award.

    +44 (0) 207 935 4024
    LinkedIn

  • Victoria Sanders-Clarke

    Victoria Sanders-Clarke

    Victoria was born in Oxford and now resides in Kingston, South West London with her husband and her young daughter. A real foody, Victoria is at her happiest when trying out some of the amazing restaurants London has to offer. She is also a voracious reader with a particular penchant love of crime novels.

    Victoria read Economics, Banking and Finance at the University of the West of England in Bristol. It was during her degree that she got a taste for the world of executive search, having spent a year with an asset management boutique whilst on university placement. After graduating, Victoria joined a search firm as a Researcher specialising in Human Capital, HR, Talent and Leadership Consulting markets. She then spent two years with Sousou Partners, working on global searches for the real asset sectors, which included real estate, hospitality and leisure, infrastructure, energy, and private equity. Most recently, Victoria was a Consultant for King’s Search, the dedicated in-house search team at King’s College London. There she was responsible for hiring senior leaders across all nine of the College's academic faculties as well as across professional services. Victoria joined Society in 2022 as a Consultant in the Higher Education team.

    +44 (0)203 653 2464
    victoria.sanders-clarke@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Tanya Stevens

    Tanya Stevens

    Our chatty native New Yorker now calls London home with her husband and two children. In her spare time she can be found running, writing, (dreaming of) travelling, and doing yoga.

    Tanya joined Society to lead and develop our work in the Not-For-Profit arena. She previously spent several years in charity executive search at Peridot Partners and TMP Worldwide, and prior to this worked for an internship provider placing American University students into roles across London. Tanya grew up on Long Island and studied International Relations and Journalism at Boston University, before moving to the UK. She also holds an MSc in Public Policy from University College London. Tanya leads Society’s board-level not-for-profit and global development work, including Chief Executive appointments for Stonewall, Leap Confronting Conflict, and RE:ACT, and Non-Executive appointments for Charleston, Coin Street, CAST and the Centre for Youth Impact. She has handled a myriad of cross-functional leadership appointments for clients such as Teenage Cancer Trust, West London Zone, Leonard Cheshire and the Aga Khan Foundation. Tanya is a Trustee of The Society Foundation, a former Trustee of Magpie Dance, and Chair of Society’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. She is passionate about designing and running open, inclusive recruitment processes that bring fresh talent into leadership and deliver an excellent candidate experience..

    +44 (0)203 653 0467
    tanya.stevens@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Barbara Taylor

    Barbara Taylor

    Barbara is a craft enthusiast who loves to spend time painting, crocheting, or sewing. She was born in Africa and, having lived in Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya and Cyprus, she has an extended network to maintain through friends and family spread around the globe.

    Barbara is an international executive search generalist with experience across nearly all sectors, and from small to medium social enterprise start-ups to global financial institutions and multinational brands. In over 20 years’ in recruitment, she has worked on assignments in the UK, Asia Pacific, and the UAE, as well as in 44 of the countries in Africa. Barbara enjoys working with multiple stakeholders in diverse, multifaceted environments across varied functions and sectors. As a collaborative team member with a strong work ethic and a positive attitude and energy, Barbara possesses a deep understanding of the importance of due diligence, quality and speed to facilitate successful long-term placements. She joined Society in 2021 and works as Principal Researcher in our global Hospitality and Leisure team, but also handles assignments in other areas of the business.

    +44 (0)203 653 0482
    barbara.taylor@society-search.com
    LinkedIn

  • Shehrazade Zafar-Arif

    Shehrazade Zafar-Arif

    Literature graduate, theatre goer and book lover, Shehrazade is the office authority on Shakespeare. She loves travelling, and is usually the person who drags everyone to inspect old ruins while on holiday.

    Shehrazade grew up in Pakistan and moved to the UK to study English Literature at University College London. She subsequently completed a Masters in Shakespeare Studies at King’s College London. Her jobs prior to joining Society include working as a Content Researcher for Blippar, a visual discovery app, and as an editor for the online newspaper Urban Times. She has also tutored GCSE English on the side. Shehrazade leads the research for our Development and Fundraising practice, with a particular emphasis on appointments that cross traditional sector boundaries or have a significant international dimension. She speaks English, French, Urdu, and Hindi.

    +44 (0)203 653 0483
    shehrazade.zafar@society-search.com
    LinkedIn