Our Team

We Believe That All Great Companies
Start With Great People.

A woman-owned and operated business that is more than just recruiters –

we are all experienced professionals who have worked in leadership positions and know what it takes to find the right top talent.

As part of our ongoing business strategy, we have intentionally limited our headcount

which allows us to be nimble, responsive, and able to quickly pivot in the face of change.

Suzanne Hanifin

Suzanne is the founder and President of Acumen Executive Search. She earned her BS in History and Marketing at Southern Oregon University before going on and earning her MBA at the University of Portland.

In an industry that can have a reputation for being transactional and profit-driven, Suzanne brings a great deal of heart, insight, a spirit of giving back, and an insistence on doing the right thing for both our clients and our candidates. She lets people know that they are deeply cared for, seen, and are in good hands when they go through our process. She listens deeply and has not only the success stories but also the road rash to understand the “answer at the back of the book. Candidates and clients walk away from creative negotiations feeling “seen” and satisfied with the “win/win.”

Suzanne is a strong advocate for professional women across industries. She often states that nothing energizes her more than “interacting with and supporting smart, strong, innovative, and caring women.”

Suzanne is a co-founder of Leaders and Executives Across Professions (LEAP) – an innovative mentorship organization for professional women that was fashioned after a “men’s locker room” as women generally lack a similar forum in which to meet, mentor, support, and network with other women / hiring managers / and other decision makers.

Suzanne is co-president of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) as well as a Board Member. She is a member of Vistage, ProAdvisors, and a Board Member of the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition (PNDC).

Tanis Morris

Tanis Morris is delighted to join Acumen Executive Search as Director of Business Development. She resonates with Acumen’s mission of providing high-quality, mission-driven executive search services. She is proud to participate in the process of bringing transformative and impactful leaders to client organizations, to work for a certified Woman Owned Business with a laudable history of placing women and people from underrepresented populations in executive positions, and to collaborate with the dynamic and dedicated Acumen team.

Tanis began her career in corporate sales but quickly transitioned to working with startups. Her early experiences with bringing a product to market, consulting with clients to understand and deliver value, and creating sustainable revenue streams, informed and continues to shape her passion for business development, but her strongest motivation is connecting with and developing strong relationships with clients and contacts.

A true believer in the power of the written word, Tanis has worked as a copy editor and writer for many years. She has written for newspapers, magazines, and websites and served as a contract and on-staff grant writer over the past decade and a half. She also owned a business sourcing and selling sustainably raised meat, and served as a marketing and business development consultant to a wide variety of clients while she was home with her children.

Tanis is an active volunteer who has dedicated time and effort to various causes close to her heart for nearly 20 years. She has served as an elected public official and school board member since 2012, overseeing the successful search for her district’s new superintendent in 2022. She has been an engaged non-profit board member for the last eight years, leading a wide variety of fundraising efforts and opportunities for community involvement. She is a mission-driven leader who believes in working backward from the goal and in the power of a detailed plan. She looks forward to meeting new clients and connecting with leaders and friends in the Portland business community.

Molly Norton

Molly has been called “an eternal and passionate connector” and connecting talent to meaningful opportunities is her “why.” Prior to her decade spent in Executive Search, Molly’s career was focused at the intersection of technology, leadership development, and HR performance management for Kearney, a top global professional services firm. She’s had the honor of working with executives and talent from some of the world’s best known technology companies while placing talent across a broad range of industries. She also enjoys Portland food and wine, spending time traveling internationally, and watching the Portland Timbers with her human family and two dogs.

Michelle Satter

Michelle comes to Acumen with a background in marketing, product management, business ownership, and most importantly, people. Prior to joining Acumen, she spent 6 years as the Community Relations and Marketing Director at Raleigh Hills Assisted Living. There she learned that her passion lies in relationships and the discovery process. It wasn’t just about determining if someone was a good fit for her own community, specifically, but advising them on places that would be ideal for their situation. She is excited to bring this same conviction to Acumen Executive Search helping provide the right talent for each position.

Michelle keeps busy with spending time in the yard, discovering local wineries, and volunteering in support of vulnerable seniors.

Kate Kanapeaux

Kate joins Acumen with 20 years of executive experience, leading teams in revenue development, community engagement, and market expansion. Kate supports clients in diverse and complicated industries, such as cybersecurity, manufacturing, not-for-profits, government contracting, communications and IT.

Kate is passionate about finding the right people to thrive in executive and unique roles. She understands the value of building and articulating an organization’s culture, developing consensus among teams, and having the right people in the right roles. Leveraging the common success model from her work with professional associations, she encourages organizations to look at their recruiting and retention from a place of employee engagement and continuous improvement.

Felicia Wells-Thomas

Felicia Wells-Thomas joins Acumen Executive Search as a Client Manager to help leading businesses find executive candidates and leaders.

Interconnectedness inspires Felicia. She stated, “I want to be the concierge of the World.” As a natural connector, entrepreneur, and world traveler, Felicia brings a unique perspective to Acumen Executive Search and will work with clients and candidates to make meaningful connections. Her forte is finding solutions that benefit people, organizations, and communities by aligning goals and visions.

Felicia received a full-ride scholarship to finish her BA in Supply & Logistics Chain Management as an adult student. She aims to make a difference and impact the community by increasing access to opportunities in business ownership.

Prior to joining Acumen, Felicia worked over 12 years at a grassroots nonprofit organization, MESO. As the “Engine” of the organization, she worked as the Community Liaison Manager. Felicia’s impact helped served thousands of clients reach their entrepreneurial goals. As a small business owner herself, Felicia understands the importance of achieving long-term goals through career support, entrepreneurship training, and education.

Beauty, synergy, trust, and cohesiveness in her relationships inspires her. Felicia will bring that dedication and commitment to Acumen, clients, and candidates.

Christine Gunter

Christine (Chris) Gunter joined Acumen in 2017 as Operations Manager. With her solid people skills and desire to create order, she has excelled at handling the Acumen team’s operational needs.

Chris, a native Oregonian, received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Western Oregon University. Starting her career at Intel, she ultimately decided to take a break from the corporate world after the birth of her daughter. After a couple years and another daughter, she decided to get back into the workforce and became the owner/operator of an emerging retail store. After a successful exit, Chris went to work as a manager for a retail chain. After 16+ years in the retail space as an expert in customer service, supply chain, logistics, merchandising, and management, a life change prompted her to take her career in another direction, which led her to Acumen.

She currently lives in Beaverton, OR with one of her daughters. She enjoys reading, dining, and wine tasting.

Karen Anderson

Since Acumen’s inception in 2007, Karen Anderson has been the face and the driving force behind Acumen Executive & Talent Search, committed to client engagement and delivering results. Karen actively lives her philosophy of “Givers Gain”. Volunteering on several committees and Boards. Karen loves connecting great people (and companies), and delights in seeing them thrive!

Karen Anderson was born and raised in Kent, the south of England in the United Kingdom. As an adult she traveled extensively, working in various countries throughout 4 continents, prior to her 1981 arrival in America. She has countless stories that one day will become a book, depicting Karen’s philosophy of “Anything is Possible” – she is passionate about helping people overcome adversity and empowering their professional and personal growth.

Karen’s creative and innovative spirit shows up in both her professional sales career and personal life. Personal time is spent creating and enjoying her passions: gardening, entertaining, creative art, gourmet cuisine, great wine, music, and dancing.

As a worldwide traveler Karen knows the value of welcoming guests. Karen achieved her lifelong dream in 2019 when she opened her stunning 4,200 sq. ft. event center, close to Portland, in wine country. Besides her work with Acumen, as Director of Business Development, she currently hosts corporate strategic retreats, workshops, and picnics, in addition to weddings and family celebrations. See www.NavarraGardens.com The venue is just 30 miles from the coast. It is an ideal place to escape, reflect, and “smell the roses,” a place for companies and senior staff to gather and renew, review, and reward.

We Listen​. We Care.​ We Deliver​.

It is not every day we celebrate a company turning 15 and we have met some incredible people along the way.

Acumen has experienced some interesting changes including a global pandemic and we have grown stronger because of them. We would like to take this opportunity to recognize our team for creating one of the Largest Executive Search firms in the Pacific Northwest and an industry leader – Suzanne Hanifin, Karen Anderson, Molly Norton, Christine Gunter, Michelle Satter, and Kate Kanapeaux. Thank you to our clients for trusting us to find the missing piece in your organization and thank you to our candidates for letting us introduce you to the next step in your career journey. Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us – our family and friends. Without all of you, we would not be the trusted firm we are today. We look forward to our next milestone and the years to come.