About Us - Our History

With over 45 years combined experience in Executive Search, Teresa Buchholz and Jay Zanone bring unparalleled expertise to Essential Search Partners. Award-winning Executive Search Recruiters, both have consistently led their previous organizations in production, staff leadership and development and community involvement. They pride themselves on consistent delivery based on quality, integrity and outstanding customer service. Their approach and framework are driven off of having 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. They provide a unique perspective of not only having worked for over 10 years at Spherion, a $2B Global Recruiting Firm, but they also understand the candidates’ perspective as both started their careers as degreed accountants with hands-on experience in the discipline

Teresa Buchholz

Teresa Buchholz, Partner & CEO

Teresa has enjoyed close to 25 years of Executive Search experience managing relationships with all leading industries and disciplines in the Washington, DC metro Market. 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. After 10+ successful years, she then joined her 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 as Teresa is uniquely positioned to fulfill all your employment needs - including but not limited to CFO's, Controllers, Accountants, professionals in Corporate Development, Marketing, Tax, Internal Audit, Treasury, Contract Administration and Human Resources. She also provides 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 10 years in various Board positions.

Teresa lives in Lorton, VA, with her husband Harald, currently with Booz Allen, retired Army Foreign Area Officer with over 28 years of service. Teresa served as an active Board Member for Fairfax Women's Soccer Association with 800+ members (currently running Center Mid for 3 teams), loves animals, she thoroughly enjoys travelling the world, and be careful – she plays a competitive round of golf. Teresa certainly lives by her mantra: "It’s never a bad time to give back.”


Jay Zanone

Jay Zanone, Partner & CEO

For over 20 years Jay has been a member of the Washington DC area Executive Search community. Jay has deep ties to the Washington area, growing up in Alexandria, Virginia.

Prior to starting Essential Search Partners with a former colleague, Jay held the position of Business Development Manager for BDO USA, the 5th largest accounting network in the world, where his focus was expanding their commercial presence in the Washington area. Jay originally moved into executive search after eight years in corporate accounting leadership positions with the law firm of Pillsbury Shaw Pittman, Kutak Rock and finally as an Accounting Manager with Dental Benefit Providers (now part of United Healthcare).


In 1998, Jay 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.

Jay’s expertise in accounting, executive search and business development has proved invaluable and has allowed him to successfully serve a wide variety of industries—software/technology, legal, private equity, real estate, biotech, hospitality, financial services and non-profit organizations.

Jay started his own firm, Essential Search Partners, in November 2011 with a former colleague and trusted business partner, Teresa Buchholz. Jay is experienced to handle most of your executive search needs from CFO’s, CHRO’s, Controllers, VP of Marketing, Directors of FP&A to Accounting Managers and other searches. He enjoys helping both candidates and clients find their best match.

Jay has participated on several career development panels and has been a member of both the Tech Council of Maryland Financial Executives Forum and NVTC. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a Finance concentration, and a minor in Economics from Virginia Commonwealth University. He resides in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and 12-year-old son. Jay's mantra: "Do something you love, and you will do it well!"