Integrity, Intuition, Experience

in Biotech and Pharmaceutical Executive Search

Why Choose Steele?

WE KNOW OUR BUSINESS. As a boutique firm with over 32 years of experience in recruiting, we know how to manage even the most challenging and sensitive searches. With an international network of contacts and a depth of expertise in biotechnology executive and scientific talent, we can find, cultivate and land the strongest candidates for any managerial, leadership, scientific or business position.


OUR APPROACH IS UNIQUE. We devote more time to discussion and asking questions up front. This allows us to fully understand your organization and its unique business challenges, the complex personalities involved and the hopes and vision for your position. This effort enables us to identify executive candidates who fit perfectly and to do so at a more rapid pace.


WE NARROW OUR MARKET PRESENCE. Biotech and pharmaceutical research and development talent is our sole business focus. There’s no diffusion of attention so we are instantly aware of the vagaries in this demanding and rapidly changing industry. With this network and knowledge, we are able to offer an exceptional level of counsel and support throughout the entire executive recruiting process.


NETWORK AND CONNECTION brings us 80% home right from the start. Our robust executive-level network across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia are ready to be tapped for just the right opportunity.


TRUST AND COMMUNICATION give us the edge. Typically, the best candidates do not make themselves vulnerable by circulating their CV’s and are not easily accessible through conventional recruiting methods. Industry-wide mergers and acquisitions have created confusion by increasing redundancies within corporations resulting in the market being flooded with CVs which look excellent. But are they really? Steele Executive Search is astute in judging the difference between what looks excellent and what is excellent. Our expertise helps our clients avoid bad decisions. We realize how important it is to make lasting, quality hires and conversely how devastating it can be to choose unwisely. We take a personal interest and actively cultivate quality relationships with our candidates and our clients. Our agency is trusted to be discrete as well as to be proactive in pursuing their best interests.




“Paula has the unique quality of achieving win-win results by securing the best match of skilled professionals with new positions. She is always well prepared, has in-depth knowledge of Pharma/Biotech scientists and executives and strives for the best fit. I have found her aware of the industry future trends and she always does a superb job describing the complexities of her assignments. Her work does not end upon completing the search as she always stays connected.”
Tarek S. Mansour PhD.
CEO Sabila Biosciences
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Paula is a recognized expert in sourcing top executive talent. With over 32 years of experience in recruiting and 28 years in the biotech and pharma industry, she has created thousands of connections and been pivotal in helping emerging biotech companies build their executive teams and large pharma effect change. Consulting on positions which range from chief scientific officers to senior scientists, Paula understands that finding superb individual contributors is as important as finding the best Chief Scientific Officer because what substantiates the vision are those who have the task to carry it out.

Paula’s deepest network is in the area of chemistry: medicinal, computational, process and analytical. However, in the last ten years she has successfully included pharmacology and biology, as well as informatics, into her database of success.

Her natural intuition about people and where they fit best, coupled with her gift of encouragement and guidance, has proven to be invaluable to her many new and repeat customers. This unique blend makes her an equally useful resource for both corporations and candidates alike.

For 16 years Paula was blessed to have worked under a wonderful, but curmudgeonly mentor who, with unbending standards, taught her the ethics and principles which have served her so well in her own business.

Upon moving to Maine in 2001 Paula decided to leverage her years of experience giving flight to her own distinctive style.  In February of 2003, Paula officially unleashed her vision of what a search firm should be and incorporated Steele Executive Search, a deeply personal, in touch and transparent company committed to excellence. In the last 14 years Steele Executive Search, Inc. has developed a reputation as a top boutique search firm adept at finding extreme talent for the biotech/pharma world in the toughest of economies.

Paula graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover  and went on to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to earn  a BS in Medieval English History …yes, so pertinent to what she is doing now!

Paula enjoys the outdoors and is always engaging in challenging physical activity of many kinds. One highlight of this was her climb and summit of  Kilimanjaro. This challenge-of-a-lifetime was taken with the Assemblies of God Missions in 2007 as a fundraiser for African medical missions. The group raised seventy-seven thousand dollars for HealthCare Ministries giving them the finances to fly in a team of doctors and nurses and treat thousands of men, women and children in desperate need.

Thanks for reading. Be blessed!


Search Options

 Steele Executive Search offers full search packages and/or custom services . We offer you the freedom to tailor our services to fit your needs. If you have a need or an idea but do not see it displayed here, simply give us a call and you will find us willing to accommodate!


Classic Retained Search

Retained search is the service most preferred by our clients. A retained search is a financial commitment from you securing our services in the most aggressive and exclusive manner. One third of the total fee is paid upon contract, the second upon a mutually agreed upon milestone and the final payment after the successful conclusion of your search.

This type of search involves everything defined in our custom search menu and much more, bringing you through to a successful close.

Our exclusive arrangement will always be the most expeditious way for you to fill a particularly senior and urgent need. One of the unique features of this choice is that every candidate you receive is yours exclusively until such time as you decide against their candidacy.

The initial four to eight weeks of any search is when the most energy and time is committed on our part. Conversely this is when communication and interaction with you is most important.  Clarity increases with strong communication and what starts as an amorphous vision becomes a firmly defined target with each CV viewed and each follow up discussion.

We take our cue from you whether to lead aggressively or to step back as the process unfolds. We will be happy to meet each candidate but we typically do a great deal of reference searching and triangulation of opinions and comments via our network.


Exclusive non-retained

This type of search involves an exclusive arrangement between you, the client, and SES. With a minimal initial financial investment and a larger end commitment, this option remains the same as the classic retained search in all aspects. We have found this to be popular with smaller businesses that cannot risk the up-front financial responsibility but require the same diligence and attention in the search.



This is a great option for junior positions where there is no urgency to fill the position yet it is important to find the right person. The beauty of this choice is that, while you get the same intuition and experience that we put into every search, you pay no fee until the candidate has accepted the position. However, we cannot always accommodate this type of search depending upon our availability and resources.


Custom Services

We have broken down our classic search into a series of steps which, when isolated, can be chosen individually or collated to create a unique package for you and at a fraction of the total cost. This is, in essence, an à la carte menu!

  • Meeting your executive team via telecom or in person insures we understand the unique nature of your company. Once a deep understanding has been established we encourage follow up meetings/conference calls to tighten up the details and nail down the range of cost to company: salary and bonus, relocation, stock, etc.
  • Compose a position description that projects the essence and the substance of your needs. We work on graphics and wording to give you a position description with the most visual and intellectual punch possible. This can be used as tear sheet to email to potential candidates or as a template for magazine advertising.
  • Identifying the top candidates represents the initial effort of any search process. When we forward a CV to you, you will find attached information on the candidate’s strengths based on past knowledge, informal reference checks and a summary of in depth conversations with the candidate. The goal is to produce a cadre of excellent candidates from which you may make a successful choice within 4-6 weeks. We fully inform all candidates as to the parameters of the position and prepare them for the next steps in the process. This eliminates most surprises at the end.
  • Schedule interviews and/or offer potential alternatives. Following the initial phone screens, we act as a  soundboard against which to bounce thoughts and ideas, helping you to  triage top candidates. Reducing the prospects to two is ideal; this  allows the company to focus their attention and energies toward the next round of interviews, out of which one candidate will emerge as the favorite. Through discussion, we will assist you in deciding which candidates go into a back burner file and which to bring in immediately.
  • Advise next moves following interviews on candidate fit to be most effective.  An open option at this stage is to request our professional assistance in closing and our advice as to which candidates might be the best choice. Throughout the whole process we build rapport with candidates through a debrief process. These conversations give us valuable insight that help us maximize the probability of choosing and closing the best candidate. SES can help navigate these tricky waters and educate both parties to the best path forward.
  • Reference checking has a tremendous impact! Reference checking can be the deciding factor between two excellent candidates. Our amazing in-depth reference checks at this stage will make the difference between a great hire and an unfortunate situation. Checking references is the second most impactful and time consuming part of the hiring process. This is the make or break point. Do you get the best fit and the highest integrity employee or do you fill your business essential needs with someone who at best is average and at worst is a drag on your company and a constant cause of stress. Read MoreIt happens to everyone at least once and the question is “How did  this happen?” Likely a reference wasn’t willing to share the negative issues for fear of reprisal. There’s a great deal of skill involved in hearing what is NOT being said as well as what is spoken. So much can be learned from the hesitations, the tone of voice, the things not volunteered; as experienced listeners,  we dig deep and probe further. We not only talk to the ‘reference list’ but we look at the publications, we search our databases for connected individuals whom we know and trust, we go the extra yard to hear the whole truth. This requires following thread after thread of information, transforming fact finding into an art form; weaving opinion and fact together with professional intuition and finally coming up with the total picture. Imagine all this valuable information in your hands, allowing you to make the best decision! Everyone wants to hear the good, the bad and the ugly, right? Here, at Steele Executive Search that is what you will get!
  • Compensation and Benefit Analysis is at your fingertips. A quick call to SES can provide you with up to date information regarding compensation and benefits arming you to make a compelling and successful offer on your own.
  • We can help you put forward a ‘soft’ offer to your favorite candidate. You need to know which offer will most likely be accepted by your top pick, before you make that offer. We can discuss soft numbers in detail and walk through potential objections.You run the risk of losing potential candidates if you become mired in lengthy, unsuccessful negotiations. This becomes even more of a problem if you have two or three close candidates and you run less risk of losing all of them by tying yourselves up in long negotiations with the wrong first choice candidate.
  • Walk candidates through potentially difficult issues early and firmly. The unsuccessful negotiation situation mentioned above could have been smoked out early in the process. Such obstacles as counter offers, family crisis, dual careers problems, and relocation concerns are not insurmountable if discovered and addressed early on. With years of experience handling even the most bizarre issues (just ask us for some stories), we are able to talk our candidates through situations which, without being addressed, become deal killers. There’s no absolute  guarantee anywhere, but 95% of all issues simply need to be heard with empathy and addressed at an early stage.
  • Negotiations that make it work! Sometimes even with rapport building, pre-closing negotiations are necessary. You need an advocate helping you through rough spots and educating the candidate when he/she is asking for the impossible. While we have great concern for the candidates, we are the voice for you, our clients. Often negotiations mean we push back on our candidates to help them break through a difficult decision. Through it all, our intent is a successful conclusion for you!

Please call us with your ideas and allow us to design a proposal

that is in line with your needs!

Contact Us

Anyone wishing to contact Paula Kazarosian through e-mail may do so at or phone at 207-562-8578. If you wish to contact the office with general questions you may reach us at

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