Based in Houston, Rob Andrews is Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Allen Austin, a leadership advisory and executive search firm. Rob leads Allen Austin’s global CEO, Consumer Packaged Goods & Durables Practice, and is also a member of the firm’s Leadership Advisory, Private Equity, Industrial and Marketing Officer practices. Building on his earlier career experience as an operating president with major convenience store and supermarket chains, Rob conducts searches for board members, CEO and senior officers across a broad range of sectors. He also helped design and helps deliver Allen Austin’s premier Leadership Institute, Organizational Review, Leadership Communications Dynamics, Culture Shaping and Extraordinary Service Leadership Program.
Rob’s passion is long lasting and meaningful relationships. Helping CEOs and boards drive revenues, cut costs, maximize the effectiveness of human and capital resources, and build enterprise value are hallmarks of his practice. Rob’s clients have run the gamut from $6 million privately held enterprises to $75+ billion publicly held multinational corporations, and include companies such as Safeway, 7-11, Maverik Markets, Sonic, Kroger, Sysco, PepsiCo, Kraft, Kmart, Tyson, Nestle, Lindsay Goldberg, Littlejohn and many more.
Prior to launching Allen Austin, Rob’s consulting experience included assignments as President of a national healthcare search firm, and EVP of two boutique generalist search firms. Rob is the author of High-Performance Human Capital Leadership and a widely respected consultant focused on what can best be described as “reinventing the search and selection process.”
A former top performing operator, Rob is a strategist, vision and human capital leadership aficionado and lends his passion for facilitating and building high performance teams to boards and CEOs worldwide. Robhas earned a reputation for being able to cause the good numbers to rise and the bad numbers to fall. His experience includes senior operating, marketing and administrative assignments with Kash n’ Karry Food Stores and National Convenience Stores with total P&L responsibility for enterprises with store count up to 516, revenues of up to $2.4 billion and headcount of 10,600. He also led major culture change, service excellence initiatives and major research in choreographing the customer’s shopping experience and extraordinary service excellence.
Rob completed an undergraduate degree in marketing and economics at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas, while managing the southwestern division for NCS in 1991, his graduate work in business at the University of Texas at Austin in 1996, and Leading Professional Service Firms Program at the Harvard Business School in 2007.
Darcie’s responsibilities include client service, partner-level talent acquisition, and professional development. Darcie was drawn to Allen Austin because of its purpose and commitment to the highest levels of relationship management and client experience. Darcie’s understanding of the firm’s Foresight™ process, facilitating matches that work and last, make her an integral part of expanding the firm’s global footprint while building on the firm’s values and culture of peak performance. Darcie is a key member of Allen Austin’s leadership team and of its Professional Services, Industrial, and Diversity & Inclusion practices.
Prior to joining Allen Austin, Darcie was an equity partner, COO & Head of North America with Pedersen & Partners. She joined the firm in early 2006 whilst living in Prague, and began her career in retained search as a Regional Client Relationship Manager, becoming the Operations Director in 2009 and COO by 2011. During the more than 10 years spent in Europe, she was intrinsically involved in the development and establishment of the centralized shared services operations in the Republic of Moldova, as well as the growth and expansion of the firm, together with the firm’s leadership team, that is now present in over 50 countries around the world. After more than a decade based in the Czech Republic, Darcie returned to Houston in 2015 to open their first U.S. office.
Prior to entering executive search, Darcie worked within the professional advisory services industry for eight years in Houston, Texas in the functional areas of administration, university recruiting, marketing, event coordination, employee relations, training, and project management. During her career, Darcie has provided leadership advisory and executive search services to clients in the Life Sciences, Industrial, and Professional Services sectors globally. Her perspective and appreciation of leadership advisory garnered over her 25-year career, also drew her to Allen Austin’s groundbreaking Total Performance Leadership™ architecture.
Darcie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature from the University of Houston, Texas, and a Graduate Certificate in Finance & Accounting from Rice University. Darcie is an avid traveler, foodie, and loves entertaining with friends.
Based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Danielle Mairs is Managing Partner of Allen Austin’s leadership advisory practice. Her responsibilities include client delivery, talent acquisition, and strategic partnerships. Danielle was drawn to Allen Austin because of the firm’s groundbreaking Total Performance LeadershipTM architecture and its close alignment with the four pillars of Conscious Capitalism: higher purpose, stakeholder orientation, conscious culture, and conscious leadership. Danielle is a key member of Allen Austin’s leadership team where she assists in the strategic direction and tactical plans of the firm.
Danielle brings a unique combination of dynamic leadership, passion for helping others, and entrepreneurship to Allen Austin. She has 15+ years’ experience enhancing profitability and driving bottom-line results through comprehensive strategies, sales optimization, and innovative marketing. Danielle also has extensive experience with boards of directors and creating partnerships with CBS, ESPN, FOX, Taste of the NFL, EA Sports, Big XII, Texas Rangers, The Marketing Arm, and PlainsCaptial.
Prior to joining Allen Austin, Danielle was a Program Leader and Executive Coach with Mark Kamin & Associates, an educational company devoted to organizational transformation and creating high performing cultures. While there she helped create an innovative service offering assessing extraordinary communication, impeccable integrity, and authentic leadership. She also helped individuals and companies identify and remove their barriers to peak performance, deliver better employee and customer engagement, and accelerate strategic value creation.
In addition to owning her own consulting company, Danielle spent over 12 years in the sports arena, most notably as Executive Director of the Davey O’Brien Foundation, home to the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. There she revitalized all aspects of the foundation and led a turnaround that drove nearly $3 million in incremental revenue and grew net assets by 370%. During her tenure, she was elected President of the National College Football Awards Association. Additional experience includes Positive Coaching Alliance, ESPN, AmeriCredit, and Bank One.
Danielle received dual bachelor’s degrees in finance and management from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. She has completed extensive training in communication, team management, and leadership through Landmark Worldwide. Danielle sits on the board of the Dallas chapter of Conscious Capitalism where she serves as membership co-chair. She is a 200-hour certified yoga instructor and has her Advanced Open Water PADI scuba diving certification. Danielle is a foodie and lily lover who enjoys traveling, hiking, and scuba diving with her husband, Scott.
Donna gives a unique sensibility to executive and management recruitment and understands the impact of architecture and design on cultures and societies. Since 1981, Donna has assisted clients in finding key professionals with leadership talent to meet the challenges of modern business.
Donna relocated the Gaines headquarters from Atlanta to Chicago following a decade that included the Gulf War, an economic downturn, and overbuilding that slowed the design and construction industries. The impact was felt at Gaines and Donna used it as an opportunity to re-engineer the company to meet prevailing demands. She chose to move her business to Chicago to be near the architectural action.
After arriving in Chicago, Donna completed an intensive entrepreneur program at the University of Illinois-Chicago School of Business and established Gaines as the trusted name in the industry. Donna has been tremendously successful in the markets her firm serves. Over the years she has moved into ancillary markets with expanding opportunities for candidate recruitment. She has been active in several industry associations, such as the AIA, IIDA, and Women in Planning and Development. Donna frequently writes and gives presentations focused on strategic hiring and management practices within the fields of executive search and design. Today, her desire to continually grow and develop professionally has led her to pursue certification as a Certified Professional Coactive Coach.
In addition to executive oversight of the firm that she founded, Donna also functions as an advisor to Allen Austin, the parent company. Over the last two years, Donna provided transition planning and coaching services to architectural firm owners and founding Principals who were contemplating exiting their firms with a focus on the strategies for readiness for both the business and the owners. She has now returned to a leadership position with the firm she founded and is continuing to build Gaines International.
Based in Houston, Mike Rome serves as Senior Partner and co-leads the Board, CEO, and Private Equity practices. He is a member of the life sciences, industrial, professional services, and financial services practices, and plays an integral role in the firm’s growth, culture, and client service excellence commitment. Mike was drawn to Allen Austin because of the firm’s history, leadership architecture, and disciplined approach to retained search consulting as well as the purpose-driven approach the firm has integrated into its fiber. Because of Mike’s passion for helping others and his background with numerous boards, he is driven with a commitment to the philanthropy arena. Mike is a proven operator, an accomplished coach, and counselor to boards and CEOs nationally. Mike has served on over two dozen corporate and non-profit boards and regularly advises clients on a wide variety of board, executive leadership, recruitment, culture-shaping, and succession related matters.
Prior to joining Allen Austin, Mike served as CEO and Principal at Chilton Capital. Mike is nationally recognized as a leading investment manager and management advisor to business owners, senior executives, and family offices. His forty-four-year career includes experience in virtually every facet of the financial sector and capital markets. Internally, Mike is well-known as a strategist, connector, and coach to some of the most influential leaders in Houston.
Before joining Chilton, Mike was CEO of Texan Capital for three years where he oversaw a similar transformation. At Texan Capital, Mike redefined internal incentive structure, improved culture, and hired a new Chief Investment Officer who succeeded him as CEO when he was recruited (by H&S) to Chilton. Ultimately, Mike acquired Texan Capital and oversaw the integration into Chilton.
Prior to Chilton, Mike was Senior Partner at Bridgeway Capital. Mike managed the growth of Bridgeway Capital from $450 million in assets to just over $6.2 billion. Mike talks about Bridgeway as the most amazing thing he has ever been a part of as Bridgeway became the largest corporate philanthropist in the state of Texas at one point, giving 50% of net profit to strategic charities. In his career, Mike was EVP Institutional Marketing at AIM/Invesco, SVP of Capital Markets at Merrill Lynch, EVP of Capital Markets for Kidder Peabody and EVP and Manager of Institutional Sales for Oppenheimer. He is a Partner in a small private-equity firm, Memorial Capital Partners.
Mike graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree and was a two-sport letterman in Football and Baseball. He furthered his studies in Portfolio Management at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, and in Behavioral Finance at Harvard University. He is active in the community and serves on a number of boards, including the City of Houston Higher Education Finance Corp., University of Kansas School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Texas Libraries System, and Houston Baptist University’s Center for Christianity in and Houston Wilderness. Mike has also taught at the University of Houston’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship.
She has a particular interest in the areas of Higher Education, Government, Workforce Development, and Non-Profit organizations, where she brings over 16 years of executive-level management experience. Jackie is also a specialist in diversity executive searches and can bring to the table the highest caliber of diverse candidates for any organization.
Jackie has developed a reputation for superior customer service. Her client list includes major colleges and universities, community colleges, private schools, and government agencies. Her corporate clients run the gamut from family-owned businesses to private equity firms to Fortune 500 companies. Jackie has successfully completed searches at the CEO, CIO, CFO, Business Unit Director, Vice Chancellor, Associate Vice Chancellor, Provost, Executive Director, and Assistant Vice President levels. She has also completed director level searches in finance, logistics, food service, fund development, and organizational effectiveness. Jackie is also a specialist in diversity searches and can bring to the table the highest caliber of diverse candidates for any organization.
Jackie is a highly-skilled, results-oriented manager with extensive experience in program management, operations, facility management, information technology, and multi-unit management in demanding public, corporate and private settings, both domestic and international. She is a strong strategic planner with highly developed analytical and technical skills. Jackie is known as a well respected professional adept at dealing with senior decision-makers and a broad customer base.
Prior to joining Allen Austin, Jackie served as CEO of San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside, Inc. (SAGE) a non-profit charged with revitalization and economic development on San Antonio’s Eastside. She was also the Division Head with the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), a member of the Texas A&M University System. In that role, she provided executive-level leadership to a variety of business operations including a post-secondary educational institution and a small business consulting practice. A former military intelligence officer, Jackie also has extensive experience in both the information technology and construction industries as well as a background in consumer product sales.
Jackie is based in San Antonio where she is an award-winning community leader. She currently serves on the boards of directors of several local non-profit organizations including the Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce and the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas. She is a member of the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame and is also an alumnus of Leadership Texas (‘03).
Jackie received her BA at the University of Michigan and her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
Prior to Gaines International, Grant was a Vice President with W.L. Handler & Associates, a generalist retained search firm specializing in mid to senior-level searches within the Fortune 500 markets. During his tenure with W.L. Handler & Associates, Grant was fortunate to work with such notable corporations as Anderson Consulting, Coca-Cola, Deloitte & Touche, Georgia Pacific, IBM, PepsiCo, and many more.
As a Partner in the firm, Grant is responsible for client acquisition, executing the searches, and working with clients in a consultative and coaching capacity. It is his purpose to become their trusted adviser in identifying goals, assessing core strengths, establishing search strategies, and guiding the process through the successful completion of the engagement.
Based in Tampa, Florida, James Wilkson is a Partner within our Executive Search, Leadership Advisory, and executive coaching practices. He specializes in Medical Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Technology, Software, Manufacturing, Retail, Hospitality, and Financial Service verticals.
James is a gifted profiler of executive talent and an accomplished search consultant delivering competitive leadership ranging from start-up and private equity-based companies to Fortune 500 organizations. Drawing on 26 years of search experience and a background in organizational communications and human behavior, he measures both technical skill and emotional intelligence with precision. Thus, joining Allen Austin made perfect sense when looking at the firm’s history, leadership architecture, and disciplined approach to retained search and leadership consulting. James is a proven firm operator and an accomplished coach. He regularly advises on executive leadership, recruitment, culture-shaping, and succession related matters.
Prior to joining Allen Austin, James served as CEO and Managing Partner of Innovative Research Worldwide, Inc., Managing Partner of Search Advisors International Corp., and spent several years with Recruit Global on the CSI Companies team.
James supports the four pillars of Conscious Capitalism: higher purpose, stakeholder orientation, conscious culture, and conscious leadership. Allen Austin has created several groundbreaking proprietary tools such as the 4Cs Questionnaire™, Foresight™, and Total Performance Leadership™ architecture which closely aligns with Conscious Capitalism.
Over the last 26 years, James has executed searches across multiple sectors, functions, and geographies. He has executed searches on behalf of some of the world’s biggest companies, including Centene, WellCare, Microsoft, PWC, United Technologies, Old Castle, Informa, Commonwealth Commercial, Brinker International, Rooms to Go, Intermedia Communications, Carrier, Ralston Foods, Raymond James Financial, and many others. He has sourced executives worldwide, including countries in Europe, India, South America, Canada, and the Pacific Rim.
James is qualified to administer technical assessments and personality psychometric assessments. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Professional Communications with a specialization in behavioral and interpersonal communication from the University of South Florida. He has specialized training in professional and emotional profiling.
James is currently on the board of Grateful American Coin, a non-profit organization recognizing the men and women of our armed forces while contributing substantially to Southeastern Guide Dogs.
James spends his free time with family skiing, hiking, boating, and golfing. He is deeply involved in the music industry; his son has a rather popular indie rock band. Thus, James is well-versed in music contracts, licensing, venue management, and social media marketing. His daughter is a cosmetologist, and James serves on a local network advising the spa industry in best practices regarding merchant services and business development.
Ken has two key facets of his practice: C-level corporate placements, particularly in situations of change or distress (M&A, restructuring, and post-bankruptcy) and senior-level professional services: consultants in operations, turnaround/restructuring, finance, accounting, and economics.
Ken takes a client-centric approach to understanding an organization’s needs and clearly finding the best-fit candidates for the situation, the culture, and the future. His integrity and success in identifying and securing top talent have contributed to the growth and profitability of his clients.
Beyond executive search, Ken has nearly two decades of experience in energy operations and management consulting to draw upon in his work with clients. His strong technical background and diverse business experience enable him to listen and understand his clients’ business to help find the best solution. Working nationally and internationally, Ken is adept at discreetly locating top talent for executive/senior positions, particularly for difficult or hard to fill situations. Ken’s approach and character have allowed him to forge long-term relationships and friendships with his clients and candidates.
Ken has successfully identified and placed executives at the Director, Managing Director, Partner, and C-levels in a number of industries including:
Ken started his career at Exxon as a drilling engineer working on and around the King Ranch in South Texas on some of the area’s deepest and hottest wells. After getting his MBA, Ken joined Gemini Consulting as an international management consultant for Fortune 100 companies in the energy, transportation, retail, and healthcare sectors. There, he worked in partnership with his clients to identify the root causes of their issues, then developed and implemented strategic and tactical solutions.
Ken received a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
Ken is a native Houstonian. He and his wife, Holly, have two teenage daughters. They love the outdoors, traveling, and scuba diving. Ken is an avid hunter and fisherman, enjoys coaching his daughters’ sports, and community service. Ken is a former board member for The Center for Counseling and previously served as Treasurer, Vice President, and President of the Afton Oaks Civic Club.
He leads searches for the firm’s AEC clients domestically and internationally, as well as oversees business development and marketing for the firm’s Atlanta offices.
Prior to joining Gaines International, Craft spent almost two decades as the Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for tvsdesign, inc., a premier A&E design firm with offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dubai, and Shanghai. He has significant experience in a wide range of industries (domestic and international) including architecture, engineering, and interior design, banking, production/manufacturing, higher education, and media and entertainment in both union and non-union environments. He is a recognized HR leader and a trusted advisor who balances business priorities with workforce needs and demands.
Craft studied at the University of Miami School of Law and received his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude from the University of South Florida. He is also a State of Georgia Certified Mediator (Neutral). During his career Craft has been actively involved in many community and professional voluntary organizations. His interests and hobbies include classic cars, golf, hunting, and riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He currently resides in South Atlanta.