About

Founded in San Francisco in 1991, Kathy Macdonald Associates, Inc. (KMA) was the first retained administrative search firm on the West Coast. KMA sets itself apart by specializing in placing only the top executive assistants and administrative management professionals in a company. Since our inception 20 years ago, the majority of our client engagements have resulted directly from client and candidate referrals – a testament to the quality of our work. We are grateful for the confidence our clients and candidates have in our services and continue to work hard to earn and keep their trust in us.


Value-Added Approach to Retained Search

Companies have long been aware of the necessity and value of conducting a retained search when the need arises to hire an executive in the C-suite. We, at Kathy Macdonald Associates, believe that the human resource supporting and facilitating the critical role of that top executive requires the same professional search approach. Perhaps even more so – since every executive’s work style and communication style is unique; finding the highest caliber assistant who “matches” and complements an executive’s style is vital to the long-term performance and effectiveness of the executive and therefore to the success of the company.

Kathy Macdonald – Founder, Managing Director

kathy_aboutKathy Macdonald had the vision for providing a superior level of service to chief executives needing an experienced, business savvy executive assistant. Her first-hand managerial experience started early in her professional career at the international management consulting firm, Booz, Allen & Hamilton. She started as an assistant to a partner of the firm and quickly grew into the role of office manager of the San Francisco office. Responsible for hiring and supervising a support staff of thirty, Kathy built critical interviewing skills that enabled her to understand the subtle differences between one candidate’s abilities, skills and temperament and the next.

Kathy later served as administrative manager at the international executive search firm of Spencer Stuart, where she gained the knowledge of executive search methodologies. It was this exposure to the highly professional level of executive recruiting that inspired Kathy to begin her own retained search firm, specializing in her unique expertise: executive assistants. Kathy has a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Colorado.

Kathy is passionate about animals and is honored to serve on the board of WildAid.

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Brynn Noel – Associate Recruiter

Brynn NoelBrynn Noel joined KMA in 2011 as the administrative / operations manager and quickly proved to have a keen sense for people and a natural talent for search and recruiting.

Prior to joining KMA, Brynn coordinated a victorious mayoral campaign in Norfolk, VA. and managed the office of a start-up company involved with alternative fuels (biodiesel) where she was involved in all administrative and accounting functions.

Brynn grew up on the east coast, and was introduced to the business world at an early age, receiving her real estate license at 16 years old. She graduated magna cum laude from Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia with a B.S. in Business Administration and concentration in Environmental Studies. She holds an M.A. in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas.


"The correct selection of an executive assistant candidate can have an enormous impact on a chief executive's life.

Kathy can discern the marginal differences between two candidates' skill levels and character traits, and select the person who can ensure the effectiveness of that executive."

Bruce Smith
Former Founder and CEO, N.E.T.