About Us - Our History

Collectively, Teresa Buchholz and Jay Zanone bring over 35 years of Executive Search expertise to Essential Search Partners. Both are award-winning Executive Search Recruiters having consistently led their previous organizations in terms of production, staff development and community involvement. They pride themselves on consistent delivery based on quality, integrity and outstanding customer service. They have personally interviewed and counseled thousands of candidates and decision makers (hiring leaders), building business relationships based on confidence and trust in their ability to best represent talent in the market. Prior to starting their own firm, Teresa and Jay worked together for over a decade at Spherion, a $2B Global Recruiting Firm. They both started their careers as degreed accountants with hands-on experience in the discipline.

Teresa Buchholz

Teresa Buchholz, Partner & CEO

Teresa has enjoyed over 20 years of Executive Search experience managing relationships with all leading industries and disciplines. Originally from Long Island, Teresa grew up in Pennsylvania where she earned a BS in Accounting from Albright College. After several years in Audit, International Tax and Corporate Accounting, Teresa joined Spherion in Tysons Corner (Formerly Network Companies) where she was trained by true champions in the industry while taking on increasing levels of responsibility as Director. She then joined her Partners at Capital Search Group in 2007 as Partner & Managing Director.

Starting her own firm, Essential Search Partners, in November 2011, Teresa is now considered one of the top experts in the DC Employment Market. Her contacts reach far and wide. Teresa is uniquely positioned to fulfill all your employment needs - including CFO's, Controllers, Accountants, professionals in Corporate Development, Marketing, Tax, Internal Audit, Treasury, Contract Administration and Human Resources. She has since engaged in Outplacement Services as well providing hands-on counseling to exiting employees.

Teresa works closely with employers and candidates across all industries. Her client base ranges from multinational publicly traded corporations to early stage VC funded companies. She thanks "you" for her continued success: 100% of her business comes from repeat customers and client referrals. Teresa has been an active member of both Dulles SHRM (for over a decade) and HR Alliance, while serving over 7 years in Board positions.

Teresa lives in Lorton, VA, with her husband Harald, Lead Associate for Booz Allen, retired Army Foreign Area Officer with over 28 years of service. Teresa welcomes a good round of golf, she is an active Board Member for Fairfax Women's Soccer Association with 800+ members (playing Center Mid on 3 teams), she loves animals, and she thoroughly enjoys both domestic and international travel! Her mantra this year: "It’s never a bad time to give back.”


Jay Zanone

Jay Zanone, Partner & CEO

Jay has been a leader in the Washington DC area Executive Search community for over 17 years following 8 years in corporate accounting leadership positions with reputable firms to include Pillsbury Shaw Pittman and Kutak Rock, and Dental Benefit Providers, a $100m insurance provider (now part of United Healthcare). Jay is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a Finance concentration and a minor in Economics.

Jay is a native Washingtonian, having lived his entire live in Alexandria, VA. He brings expertise in accounting, executive search and business development. He services a wide variety of industries to include: software/technology, legal, private equity, real estate, biotech, hospitality, financial services and non-profit organizations.

After having a positive experience being placed by a recruiter and being a hiring manager himself, Jay made the career move into Executive Search. He joined Network Companies, a boutique search firm, which was soon acquired by Spherion, a $2B dollar global organization. Jay held leadership roles in both Tyson's Corner and Bethesda locations. Most recently, Jay held the position of Business Development Manager for BDO USA, the 5th largest accounting network in the world, where his focus was to expand their presence in the Washington area.

Jay's exposure reaches wide throughout the Washington DC market, and he has participated on panels for business professionals looking to advance their careers. Jay has been an active member of the Tech Council of Maryland Financial Executives Forum and NVTC. He enjoys helping both candidates and clients find their best match. Jay started his own firm, Essential Search Partners, in November 2011 with a former colleague and trusted business partner. He resides in Old Town Alexandria with his wife, Jen, and son, Jack. Jay's mantra: "Do something you love and you will do it well!"