Connecting Businesses to People

Trusted People Partner for growth businesses across Manufacturing, Mining, Defence and Technology.

Connecting Businesses to People

Trusted People Partner for growth businesses across Manufacturing, Mining, Defence and Technology.

About TESS.

The Executive Search Specialists support growth businesses in Australia across Technology, Defence, Manufacturing and Mining industries. Our Value Proposition to you, is our commitment and genuine curiosity to understand business critical issues and effectively leverage our targeted search knowledge and authentic approach to attract and retain ‘hard to find’ talent within disruptive industries.

Meet Our Founder.

Bringing more than 15 years of experience, connecting talent with visionary business leaders globally, Donna collaborates with executive leadership teams to develop and implement roadmaps for success, leveraging her industry knowledge and valuable network of trusted advisors. Bridging the gap between transactional hiring and executive search campaigns, Donna is focused on partnering with likeminded people, who share core values of integrity, commitment, authenticity and well-being. Donna is committed to delivering ethically and she is known for her resilience, honesty and determination by industry leaders across the globe.


Our Services.


Understanding market trends and strategic hiring needs, allow us to effectively navigate industry-specific challenges so that we can provide value to growth businesses in manufacturing, mining, defence, and technology industries. Our executive search practice focuses on senior executive, board and c-suite appointments, collaborating with senior leaders and board directors to appoint executives who have the skills and mindset to enhance company culture and performance. More broadly, we consider factors such as cultural fit, diversity and inclusion, and leadership development to attract and retain the best in class across the globe.


Going beyond the traditional search process, TESS Search Partners are committed to understanding the unique challenges for our clients and we work collaboratively with leaders and stakeholders to ensure talent acquisition strategies are aligned to overall business objectives. By investing time in a needs analysis, researching the market and developing business leaders, we become a trusted partner and ensure our clients strategically build and maintain high-performing leadership teams that contribute to overall business success.


Professional coaching for one-on-one or group sessions where you can discover how to be the best version of yourself… a more intuitive and empowered leader. Helping you to achieve performance and wellbeing by breaking through the hidden barriers to your success! Our approach is values-based, pragmatic and tailored to your specific aspirations and needs. Our leadership programs include Thinking styles for Leaders and Teams, Leading with Influence and Impact, Compelling Communication, Resilience for Change Leadership and New approaches to Leadership Wellbeing and Emotional Resilience.  

Our Expertise.

C-Suite & Senior Appointments

Software Development

Cloud DevOps & Automation

Projects & Transformation

Data & Analytics

Product & UX/UI Design

Infrastructure & Network Support

Cyber Security

Sales, Marketing & Communications

Why We Are Different.

We are thought leaders using modern technology platforms to identify and engage with technical and executive talent for emerging markets globally.

We are not transactional. We strive for long-term meaningful relationships through the development of strategic retention strategies to ensure high performing talent is retained.

Our goal is to improve positivity and productivity in the workplace, working collaboratively with likeminded people who share our core values of integrity, commitment, authenticity and wellbeing.

Some of Our Partners.


Donna is a very talented professional who delivers great outcomes. She has a fabulous relatable nature which enables her to deeply understand her clients needs. Her network and ability to form relationships ensures that she connects the right people with the right roles. She is very responsive, flexible and committed to excellence. Thank you Donna for all your support and hard work.

Kimberly Boland, Chief People Officer, Chrysos Corporation

Donna matched my skills to a senior position in the healthcare IT sector and pulled me into the recruitment process with full engagement from day one. By staying on top throughout, Donna got me into my perfect job making a difference to me and my family and I'll always be grateful!

Dr Patrick Lester, Clinical Safety Manager, LumiraDx

We've been working with Donna almost since Trail began. She's placed some of our most trusted team members. It's rare to meet a consultant who can understand nuanced transferable skills whilst appreciating cultural fit - Donna is just brilliant at finding the right person for the job. She is now the only recruiter we use and I recommend her freely to other startups on a weekly basis!

Joe Cripps, MD, Trail

Donna is a smart and operative recruiter. She can spot talented people no matter the professional background or experience. This is what most IT recruiters lack of. She knows how to properly describe and defend your project in order to accomplish a needed hire, no matter field (design, systems, development).

Javier Mellado, Software Engineer, FanDuel

Donna rang me 3 minutes after I sent my application and she followed me through the whole process, I got the job and still she kept in touch asking how was the job going. She takes so much pride in what she does so obviously the results are excellent! She also makes me laugh, it's a pleasure to even just chat to her.

Annalisa Bazzi, DevOps Team Lead, Inivata

Donna helped me secure a new role, throughout the recruitment process I found Donna to be open, honest, and responsive providing constant feedback on progress. Most importantly Donna took the time to get to know me, my aspirations and thus ensure I was the right candidate in the right organisation prompting a win-win for both. Recommend Donna 100%.

Lincoln West, CISO, Bridgestone

Highly recommend Donna. Found her to be honest, respectful and very proactive in keeping me in the loop. She continued to and stay in touch after placement, which is not a common quality and was very much appreciated.

Glen Blundell, CIO, Workskil

Donna is a trusted partner who loves a challenge. A recent “unicorn” STEM assignment saw two top notch candidates unearthed within 48 hours. She shows genuine care for both the employer and the candidate and is a pleasure to work with, which is evidenced by the number of her placements who use her services once in their new roles.

Andrew Kay, CEO, Business SA

Donna has been a pleasure to work with providing a great service and exceptional candidates. She has gone above and beyond thinking about more than just skills but culture fit too, so that any hire we make does more than just meet the job spec. I would highly recommend Donna for anyone seeking to grow their team or seek out a hidden talent that can take their business to the next level.

Kelly Connor, CEO, Cashflow Manager

I found Donna to be very professional, efficient and responsive in my dealings with her particularly as I was overseas for part of the time with significant time zone differences. Very good knowledge of the business and clients' needs.

Rod Hyslop, CFO, Adrad Holdings

Donna is amazing at understanding the needs of her clients and candidates to find a great match. She invests time and effort to really understand what drives candidates and ensures they have all the information needed to make the right decision which, in turn, means that her clients get the best people.Donna is amazing at understanding the needs of her clients and candidates to find a great match. She invests time and effort to really understand what drives candidates and ensures they have all the information needed to make the right decision which, in turn, means that her clients get the best people.

Gareth Thompson, Finance Director, MTE

Donna assisted me in securing my current role, during the recruitment process I found Donna to be engaging, sincere, and responsive in providing feedback during the entire progress. Donna took the time to get to know me and my goals which ensured all parties could make an informed decision during the process. I can recommend Donna's professionalism and will be using her services going forward.

Tony Sylvester, Director, Operations, MTE

I engaged Donna to support some of our IT leadership team in building their recruitment capability. This also included supporting them through the recruitment of some IT project roles. From the first time I met Donna, I quickly understood that Donna was a very open, honest, empathetic, and direct communicator. This is something that I have valued throughout all my engagements with Donna, as her approach helps accelerate the ability to identify where she can add value to what we are looking to achieve. And quickly built a high level of trust between us. Donna has a wealth of experience, and she brought this to engagement. From the work Donna has completed with the team, we now have a more structured and robust recruitment process (for the items we are responsible for in IT).

Luke Havelberg, CIO, Flinders University

Donna and the team at TESS Search Partners led a recruitment process for a newly-created senior role. In an incredibly tight market, Donna worked tirelessly to develop a pipeline of potential candidates including a number of outside the box considerations. Her diligence in assessing each candidate's technical and cultural fit was targeted, and our short-list yield a number of outstanding candidates for interviews. Her office, supported by Mina Jafari, ensured the interview schedule was managed professionally. Donna's ongoing facilitation with our preferred candidate ensured a seamless contract negotiation process. I look forward to working with Donna again in the future.

Allan Kane, General Manager Sustainability, Magnetite Mines

Some FAQs.

1. What is executive search?

Executive search is a specialised recruitment service that recruits highly qualified candidates at executive and senior levels across a variety of sectors. An executive search provider also seeks out highly skilled roles, typically for those that are very competitive in the job market. Acting as an extension to the company’s HR/Recruiting function, providing a holistic hiring solution

2. What are the differences between executive search and headhunting?

Executive search and headhunting are both the same types of professional recruitment service providers that help companies find the right candidates for a high-level position. Similarly, they are paid by the hiring company, not by the candidate. Both types of firms typically specialise in recruiting for a particular industry or function and use a similar process to identify candidates.

3. What are retained search services?

The difference between contingency and retained search is in the pricing model and the service level agreement. In a retained search the recruiter is paid an upfront or scheduled fee and works on an exclusive basis, meaning they, and only they, will be working on the search. In contrast, contingency recruitment works on what would be best described as a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

4. What is the executive search process?

An executive search process may vary depending on what role you are looking to fill. A typical executive search process timeline keeps your recruiting efforts on track and on schedule. It outlines the major milestones you need to hit when searching for someone to fill a senior leadership position and how long each step should take.

5. What are the advantages of executive search?

Executive search is much more than providing candidates. It is about filling talent gaps that will in turn immensely benefit your company. It is crucial to us to not only provide a candidate that is qualified but also a candidate that will seamlessly fit into the business’ culture. Here are some of the key benefits of executive search:

  • Cost-effective
  • Decrease time to appoint
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • Access to an extensive database of candidates
  • Time-efficient
  • Recruit passive candidates
  • Confidentiality

If you want to find the best possible candidate during your executive search efforts, you will not discover them on the job market. Often, your top talent candidates are currently working for your competitor. Executive search recruiter knows how to tap into these passive talent pool and provide an exceptional sales pitch—one that conveys the strength of your employer brand to potential candidates. 

6. How to select an executive search firm?

It is vital to spend time researching the options available to you when selecting your Executive Search company. It is crucial that you choose the Executive Search company that best match your hiring needs. Below are some general guidelines that will help you to reach the right decision. Look for an executive search firm that specialises in your industry or area of work. Now, many agencies do a little bit of everything, and you need to find an executive search and recruitment firm that is an expert in your field. You can also consult your friends or colleagues in similar fields. Ask whom they have used in the past, and for some recommendations. A reputable Executive Search company will source at least a third of its new clients/candidates via word of mouth from satisfied customers, so this is one of the quickest and most effective ways of finding an excellent executive search company.​​​​​​

Want to know more?

To find out how TESS Search Partners can help you attract and retain ‘hard to find’ talent, book your free discovery call below.

Supporting growth businesses with sourcing and retention of their most valuable assets.

To book a free discovery call, please click here.

Get in Touch

Suite 3027, Level 30, Westpac House,
91 King William St, Adelaide SA 5000

P +61 8 7129 8156


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