Global Practice Leader and Managing Director
Nonprofit and Education
Washington, DC
Los Angeles, CA

Professional Profile

Diane Charness joined ZRG in 2017 and is known for her strategic insight and belief in the importance of leadership to guide and transform the clients she serves. With over 30 years of professional experience and more than 2,600 successful recruitments, Diane is considered a national expert in the executive search and staffing industry and has cultivated expertise in a number of industries including philanthropy, higher education, healthcare, nonprofits, membership and trade associations, arts, conservation, public-private partnerships, corporations and professional services firms.

Previous Experience

With a unique view on the search process – having worked both inside nonprofits as well as on the consulting side – Diane brings together skills in strategic talent acquisition and selection as a founder of two professional search firms, including as President of Higher Talent, Inc. and as the Director, Recruitment and Staffing Services for Georgetown University. She has served hundreds of nonprofits and universities around the United States and provided strategic advice as to organizational leadership needs.

At Georgetown, she oversaw all recruitment and staffing, resulting in hundreds of successful executive, management and administrative level searches per year on behalf of its main campus, and medical and law centers in the fields of development and fundraising, nonprofit administration, information technology, finance and accounting, human resources, operations, communications and external affairs. Prior to her career in the search industry, Diane worked in executive level strategic planning and marketing positions with Marriott and ITT.

Areas of Expertise

Considered a national expert on the subject of human capital management, Diane has been featured in the nation’s leading undergraduate college management textbook, Understanding Business. She has been interviewed by Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Time, The Washington Post, and other national publications. She is a frequent speaker and moderator of panels on the subject of recruitment best practices and consults on talent management. Diane is an active member of the Washington, DC and Los Angeles, CA communities and has been elected to leadership and Board positions for prominent nonprofit organizations in the arts and social services.


Diane holds a Bachelor of Science from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, a Master’s of Business Administration from George Washington University, and a Certificate in Talent Management from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.