Meet Our Team

Keystone Partners

Chairman of the Board

Ralph Roberto

Ralph chairs the board of directors for Keystone Partners. Previously, he served as President and CEO of the firm; he founded the Essex Partners division in 1999. He has deep experience in the human capital aspects of organizational leadership, organizational restructuring, and executive coaching.

Recognized as a leading authority on executive career issues, he has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, and Human Resource Executive.

Ralph is the former Chairman of the Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors at Direct Federal Credit Union, where he was also a board member. Ralph has served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees at the former Deaconess-Waltham Hospital.

Ralph received his MBA from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and a BA in History from Boston College. He has completed the Consumer Marketing Program at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and the Advanced Leadership Program at the Center for Creative Leadership. He is also a Certified Executive Coach by the Center for Executive Coaching.



Mary Fay Kattman

Mary Fay oversees the daily operations of Keystone Partners, and has more than 20 years’ financial management experience.

Previously, Mary Fay co-founded Store to Door, where she served as CFO, Secretary, and Treasurer and was instrumental in determining the strategic direction of the company. She was also involved in two other start-ups, both of which were successfully sold to large public companies.

She holds an MBA from Babson College and a BS in Accounting from the University of Vermont. She is also a CPA.

Mary Fay was a founding member of the Mobile Self Storage Association and served on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for four years. She is a member of the Treasurers Club of Boston.


Managing Partner

Elaine Varelas

Elaine brings more than 20 years’ experience consulting to organizations focused on resolving complex career management issues, including workforce planning, redeployment, and multisite restructurings. She has expertise in career consulting, coaching, and leadership development and has worked with executive management teams to improve organizational effectiveness. Elaine’s experience spans a broad range of industries and businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, start-up ventures, and not-for-profit organizations.

In her role as Managing Partner, Elaine spearheads all sales and marketing activities across Keystone Partners. She currently serves as treasurer of Career Partners International, LLC, after serving as Chairman of the Board.

A graduate of the Management Development Program at Boston University, Elaine holds an MEd from the University of Vermont and a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where she also served on the Board of Trustees. She is a certified executive coach by the Center for Executive Coaching and MBTI certified.

Highly regarded for her industry experience and insights, Elaine is frequently sought after for her advice and writes regular columns for The Boston Globe’s Ask the Job Doc and Money Inc. in the Globe’s Money and Careers section.


Senior Vice President

Dave Hennessy

With 19 years experience in management, training, and sales, Dave consults on employee transitions/outplacement and advises organizations on robust leadership development and executive coaching programs.

Dave hosts “The Hennessy Report” podcast – a free flowing conversation with leaders in Human Resources talking about the industry, themselves, and their work. “The Hennessy Report” is produced by Keystone Partners in cooperation with NEHRA.

A member of NEHRA’s Board of Directors, Dave also serves as Chair of the Board of Commissioners for the Reading Municipal Light Department, a municipal utility serving 29,000 customers in four towns north of Boston. He holds an MBA from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and a BS in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Senior Vice President

Kim Littlefield

Kim has more than 20 years’ experience in business development in the human capital consulting space where she advises organizations and executives on complex workforce planning, leadership development, and career transition issues.

Kim provides a strategic approach to career management and works with global organizations to guide the development of successful programs for retention, leadership development, executive coaching, team building, and management training.

Before joining Keystone, Kim was a certified senior trainer with Dale Carnegie where she taught courses on human relations, communication, leadership, sales, and presentation skills.

Kim is a sought-after speaker on topics including networking, negotiating and personal branding. She has also written and contributed to articles on networking, resiliency, and Stay Interview programs.

Kim holds an MS in Adult and Organizational Learning from Suffolk University and a BS in Business Administration from Bryant University.


Senior Vice President

Debbie Noschese

Debbie consults with organizations and senior leaders on complex career transition and planning issues. Her areas of focus include biotech, professional services, financial services, technology, not-for-profit, and higher education. Areas of expertise include career transition, executive coaching, leadership development, and training.

Debbie has demonstrated expertise supporting organizations with Notifier Training and RIF Planning, and HR professionals with strategic networking.

Previously, Debbie worked in business development at Eastman Kodak Company, where she served as a Marketing Education Specialist at Kodak’s internationally acclaimed Marketing Education Center in Rochester, New York.

She is a member of HRLF, New Talent Management Network – Boston, and Driving HR. Recent speaking engagements include the NEHRA2018 Conference and the Bentley University MBA program.

Debbie has a BS in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and served as an officer of the Medfield School Committee for 13 years.


Vice President

Omar Saldana

Omar serves as a trusted advisor to organizations to achieve their business goals through leadership development and career management.

He joined Keystone Partners with more than 20 years’ experience in management and human resources, with expertise in performance management, leadership development, career development, and compensation. Previously, Omar worked in the biotechnology, professional services, technology, and higher education sectors for organizations including Harvard University, Genzyme, and Cubist. He is SPHR certified and is fluent in Spanish.

Omar is an active member of NEHRA and HRLF, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts as well as its Board Nominating and Development Committee, and its Membership Committee. He holds an MBA from New York University’s Stern Graduate School of Business and a BS in Consumer Economics from Cornell University.


Vice President

Brenda Stanton

Brenda consults with organizations on corporate workplace, career management, and leadership development. She advises HR leaders on complex, multi-site global restructuring and outplacement needs, C-level executive transitions, and talent and leadership development initiatives including executive coaching, team effectiveness, and management training.

Brenda has served as a career transition consultant and trainer, advising professionals at all levels to define career targets and up-level opportunities, and successfully achieve their career aspirations.  Prior to Keystone, she spent 15 years in business development and marketing roles at publishing, advertising, and technology firms.

Brenda is an active member of New England Employee Benefits Council (NEEBC) and frequently speaks to professional associations including NEHRA and DisruptHR Boston. Brenda is a certified career coach with Coach Training Alliance (CTA). She holds a BBA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Isenberg School of Management. She is also a Certified Executive Coach by the Center for Executive Coaching.


Essex Partners Leadership

Senior Partner

Jennifer Buras

Jennifer co-leads Essex Partners and oversees the “Board Essentials” program. She is a skilled Executive Coach and Career Consultant who collaborates with clients to help them achieve both professional and personal goals.

Jennifer began her career as a CPA at PwC, and then worked in banking and as an executive search professional at a global firm. She is on the Board of Directors of North Shore Bank, Chair of the Board of the YMCA of the North Shore Board of Directors, and member of The Boston Club Corporate Board Committee.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a BBA in Accounting and received an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She was awarded a “Certificate of Completion-External Coach Intensive,” from Columbia University and is MBTI and Hogan certified.

Senior Partner

Howard I Seidel, EdD, JD

Howard co-leads the Essex Partners practice and works with executive clients across a wide range of industries.

With over 25 years’ experience, Howard has guided hundreds of executives with his in-depth knowledge of the strategic and tactical elements of career coaching, career transition, and career change. Before moving to Essex, Howard was a VP at Keystone Associates.

Previously, Howard served in various roles at Electronic Data Systems (EDS), including helping build the company’s first external change management practice. Additionally, Howard spent three years as a Manager at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture).

Howard has achieved national recognition for his insights on career matters, being interviewed by various media outlets including Inc. and the Wall Street Journal. He has also appeared as a career expert for New England Cable News (NECN).

Howard holds an EdD from Harvard University and a BA and JD from The George Washington University.


Business Psychologist

Louisa Mattson, PhD

Louisa is a career consultant and licensed psychologist. She provides in-depth career/life planning assessment to Essex Partners’ executive clients. She also does specialized work with senior women executives, helping them find personal and professional fulfillment in and beyond their C-suite careers.

Louisa has extensive experience in stress management and performance enhancement techniques, and advanced training in leading-edge mind/body techniques for addressing “whole person” issues. Her background in education and healthcare includes over 20 years in a private consulting practice.

Louisa holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota. She attended Bryn Mawr College, and has a BA from the University of Michigan. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Organizational Development and Human Resource Consulting. She is a Certified HeartMath® Resilience Coach, and a Diplomate in Comprehensive Energy Psychology.


Mark CD Newall

Mark is an accomplished executive skilled in career management, executive coaching, training and development, and human resources, partnering with leaders from virtually all functions and industries.

Working with clients to acknowledge their strengths and address their shortcomings, Mark helps them figure out how to prepare for, and to succeed at, taking charge of their career aspirations and meeting their professional and personal goals.

Mark is inspired by his clients who dig deep to understand themselves, who share what they have learned, and who work with him to find satisfaction and success. He considers this to be deeply satisfying and joyful work.

Earlier, Mark was SVP of Keystone Associates, where he worked with the firm’s senior executives. Also, Mark was Head of Human Resources for an international law firm, he taught for a global tech company, and was a high school teacher earlier in his career.

Mark received a BA degree from Salem State University.

Business Psychologist

Bill Winn, EdD

Bill has more than 30 years’ experience helping executives identify their core talents and values to chart next career steps and find more rewarding opportunities. He is a highly valued advisor to a wide range of senior executive clients, combining observation and feedback with seasoned judgment and empathy.

Prior to Essex Partners, Bill was a psychologist at New Directions, a career development firm for senior-level executives where he was pivotal in creating the firm’s career assessment program. Bill has held dual faculty appointments at Boston University and the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. A graduate of Brown University, he earned an EdD in Psychology from Boston University and did his clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Bill is a member of the American Psychological Association. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and New England Psychologist.