How aligned are you? Take the KeyStone Core Values Assessment

What We Do & Why


KeyStone Search Services

CEO Search & Business Owner Succession/Transition

C-Level & VP Level Search


Employee Owned Company (ESOP) Search

Why We Do It

We passionately believe Culture, Leadership and Alignment are the biggest keys to growing a company. When leadership teams are accountable and aligned around shared core values, they are built for success.

KeyStone Search How What Why

Who We Serve


Mid-Sized & Privately Held Businesses

KeyStone has extensive experience working with privately held businesses. This includes family owned, ESOPs, partnerships, entrepreneurial companies and smaller publicly traded companies. Our clientele includes manufacturers, distributors, retailers, food producers, technology, construction, medical device and professional service firms.

KeyStone also provides specialized services for Employee Owned Companies (ESOPs) and companies operating on EOS/Traction (Entrepreneurial Operating System®).

CEO, ESOP industrial manufacturer
CEO, distributor of electrical components
COO, ESOP distributor of power backup equipment
COO, VC owned software as a service company
CFO, family owned retailer
VP & GM, privately held consumer products company
VP, Human Resources, family owned manufacturer
VP, Sales & Marketing, industrial manufacturer
VP, Operations/Manufacturing, privately held food company

Healthcare Organizations

Our clients include healthcare systems, long-term care, hospice, physician-owned specialty practices and other provider environments. In addition, we have strong experience working with payers and other ancillary businesses serving the healthcare market.

CEO, healthcare system

CEO, long term care provider

CEO, insurance payer

CEO, hospice provider

Chief of Strategy & Business Development, physician-owned specialty practice

Chief Information Officer, healthcare system

Chief Nursing Officer, healthcare system

VP, Clinic & Outpatient Services, healthcare system

VP Medical Director, Population Health Services, healthcare system

VP Strategy & Business development, healthcare system

Professional Associations

KeyStone has completed numerous engagements for professional associations, including industry, professional membership and trade associations.

CEO, national equipment dealers association
CEO, national energy industry association
CEO, state high tech association
CEO, university alumni relations association
CEO, energy consulting and management organization

President/CEO, business and economic development organization
President, community development foundation


The world’s best organizations realize aligning their culture around a shared set of core values has enormous impact to the bottom line. As Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” From our founding in 2002, KeyStone has placed particular emphasis on cultural fit and values alignment in our practice. We know from our combined 75 years of experience in executive search that when an executive is fired it is most often due to values misalignment, or cultural mismatch, versus a deficiency in skills or capabilities.


As Jim Collins stated in his seminal book, “Good to Great”, the best leaders and employees “inherently” share the core values of the company. Core values aren’t something you can change to fit the situation, they are deeply rooted in a person’s systems of beliefs and habits. The difficult part in hiring right is determining which of the many talented executives out there truly share your core values.

This is where KeyStone excels.


Through our Discovery process, and our values based cultural tools, we gain a deep understanding of your core values/culture, your growth strategy, the key deliverables of the open role and how it will interact with Board/Ownership, peers and other team members.


Utilizing this information we are able to recruit and vet exceptional candidates on your behalf, finding those executives who not only have great backgrounds and track records but also those who will fit your unique culture.


If you are interested in learning more about corporate culture, core values and its’ effect on overall company performance, please click on the following resources:


Jim Collins – Good to Great and Built to Last

Gino Wickman – Traction

Nat Stoddard – The Right Leader\


Growth oriented companies know that dynamic CEOs cannot drive a business forward alone. To create sustainable growth, companies must commit to hiring and developing talented and accountable leaders at all levels. When a business is small, it can grow to a certain level through the sheer will of the CEO/Owner and a handful of key employees. However, as the business expands and becomes more complex, the leadership team must evolve to meet the new demands.


Many times this means adding senior leaders capable of full accountability for their particular function or division. In hiring accountable leaders the CEO is then freed to spend time working on the larger growth initiatives to keep moving the company forward.


It is important these new leaders possess experience in companies at “the next level” giving them valuable insight on the systems, processes and people it will take to make the leap forward.


KeyStone has assisted hundreds of privately held businesses, healthcare organizations and professional associations in evolving their leadership teams for continued growth. Likewise, we have assisted companies who have become “stuck” because of leadership teams that have been outgrown by the company, or for whatever reason, do not have the ability to take the business to the next level.


C-Level Search

KeyStone’s C-Level Practice focuses on critical leadership positions reporting directly to the CEO. We are adept at identifying leaders who have proven abilities to take full accountability for their functional area as well as playing a key strategic role in the growth of the company. Of course, cultural/values fit is critical and all C-Level searches are conducted via the KeyStone Values Based Search Process.


KeyStone’s KeyLeader Practice assists companies in identifying and hiring management talent who can play important  roles today, but also have the capacity to be your strategic leaders for tomorrow. Cultural/values fit is equally important at this level and all searches in the KeyLeader Practice also follow the KeyStone Values Based Search Process.



Companies are never more vulnerable than when transitioning the CEO. Reputation, key relationships and even financial viability can be quickly turned upside down by a poor hire at the top.


Hiring a talented CEO is not enough!

The prospect of a CEO transition carries many inherent risks, but also promises great rewards of new growth and success, if done properly. Unfortunately, many companies jump into this transition with very little thought or preparation. The thinking seems to be if we simply land a highly talented CEO, everything else will fall into place.


Nothing could be further from the truth. Many talented executives with impressive track records in previous companies have failed when joining a new one. This happens for a variety of reasons, but most often it is because 1) the company or leadership team was not ready or equipped for the departure of the previous CEO 2) the cultural fit was not right 3) the new CEO was not on-boarded or properly assimilated into the company.


KeyStone has assisted numerous companies in healthcare, privately held business and professional association space to seamlessly transition from one CEO to the next. Through the KeyStone CEO Transition process, we help our clients through all three critical phases of the transition: 1) Assessment/Team Readiness 2) CEO Search and 3) On-Boarding/Assimilation and Structuring for Success.


If you are preparing for a CEO transition, or if you are a business owner and are considering a step back from the day to day operations of your business, please contact us for more information.

About KeyStone



Upon founding KeyStone we set a goal to create one of the best executive search firms in the nation; not the biggest, but the best.

This is why, from day one, we have been passionate about Cultural Fit and Core Values Alignment. From our many years of experience we know the success of any executive rests just as much on their “fit” with the company, as it does on their pedigree and skill set. We also know that teams aligned around a shared set of core values achieve far more than teams built purely on individual talent.

We have built a robust practice working primarily with privately held businesses, ESOPs, EOS/Traction companies, mid-market companies, healthcare organizations and professional associations, all of whom share our passion for culture/alignment and understand the critical role it plays in their success. We are privileged to have become trusted advisers to the owners, CEOs, and Board of Directors of these great organizations.

We invite you to reach out any time and let us know how we can assist you.

Our core values

They represent what we stand for at KeyStone. They guide our day-to-day decision making and provide a guidepost for our behaviors, both at work and at home.

Concern for others

We have a strong concern for others in all that we do. This relates to how we work with our clients, how we treat our co-workers and how we give back to the community.


We strive to maintain a healthy balance between our work lives, family lives and personal interests.


We all achieve more by combining our talents to work in the best interest of our clients and each other.

Forward thinking

We have a constant eye on the future, looking for ways to improve ourselves, our services and our company as a whole.

Strategic Partners


“Right People, Right Seats”

KeyStone Search and CorTalent partner in offering top to bottom talent solutions for small to mid-sized companies.


Business/CEO Succession

KeyStone Search and The Bailey Group partner to provide newly placed CEOs with onboarding and coaching to ensure a smooth transition.

Meet the Team


Bob Schoenbaum KeyStone Search

Bob Schoenbaum

Principal and Co-Founder

Mary Peterson KeyStone Search

Mary Peterson

Vice President

Mike Frommelt KeyStone Search

Mike Frommelt

Principal and Co-Founder

Joe Hysell KeyStone Search

Joe Hysell

Vice President

Bruce Cooey KeyStone Search

Bruce Cooey


Sarah Thell KeyStone Search

Sarah Thell

Marketing Coordinator


Jerry Rick

EOS® Practice Director

Byrd KeyStone Search

Jacqueline Byrd

Executive On-Boarding Coach

Our Perspectives


Reading List


Subject Matter Experts

Our beliefs around Culture, Leadership and Alignment are built upon the thinking of some of the world’s foremost business authors.


On the Road


Conferences and Speaking Engagements

  • ESOP Association National Conference, November 10-11, Las Vegas, NV
    • Conference Sponsor and Attendee
  • National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), The ESOP Symposium: Ownership Solutions for Established ESOPs, September 13-14, Austin, TX
    • Mike Frommelt will present “Leadership Succession in ESOPs”
  • ESOP Association Midwest Conference, September 8-9, Milwaukee, WI
    • Mike Frommelt will present “Interviewing and Evaluating Leadership Candidates” with KeyStone placement Terry Leahy, COO of Oconomowoc Residential Programs
  • Minnesota Business Ethics Awards Luncheon, May 11
    • KeyStone Search, 2009 Recipient
  • ESOP Association National Conference, ESOP Ownership Moves America, May 18-20, Washington, DC.
    • Conference Sponsor and Attendee
  • Performance Excellence Network Fall Conference, Thriving in Times of Change; Harnessing the Power of Culture, November 10-11, Minneapolis, MN
    • Mike Frommelt presented “Hiring the ‘Right’ Leaders for a Rapidly Changing World”
  • National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) Annual Conference, April 12-13, Minneapolis, MN
    • Conference Sponsor and Attendee

Giving Back


We believe in giving back to the community that gives us so much.

KeyStone continues to give a percentage of partner income to charity on a yearly basis. We give time to the community in addition to our donations. Each principal at KeyStone serves on at least one non-profit board of directors. We proudly support the following organizations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

fraserlogo hopelogo redeemerlogo greatriverlogologo_CCRF  AA     Make-A-Wish_logo