Underwood Executive was founded by Nicole Underwood in August 2011. A burning desire to do things differently and better, Underwood Executive was born out of the vision of working with like-minded people who are driven to succeed through finding and developing the highest performing executive talent in the market.

As our brand has evolved and developed over the past 10 years, we are clear and consistent in being authentic, relationship focused, bold and progressive. We care about who we work with, the type of clients we attract, the decisions we make and the behaviours that we demonstrate.

Underwood Executive is now an award-wining executive search and talent management consultancy.  The firm has established an enviable reputation for building long standing and highly trustworthy relationships, with strong expertise to identify, entice,  place, and develop executive talent. We have an extensive understanding of both the South Australian and national market, business community and sectors, covering the state government, local government and private sectors.

In 2019, Underwood Executive became the first and only South Australian owned executive search firm to be accredited with AESC membership. AESC is a global organisation that has set the quality standard for the executive search and leadership consulting profession. The organisation and its members share a deep commitment to the highest quality standards for the benefit of clients and the profession. This membership is exclusive, with only a small percentage of firms that apply to the AESC meeting the rigorous requirements of AESC membership. AESC members are expert advisors at the top of their profession, adhering to the AESC Code of Professional Practice.

Our vision remains consistent as we take pride in our ability to build professional, ongoing and effective relationships with our highly valued clients. We value this business partnership approach where we have an absolute commitment to taking talent further.

Meet our Founder and Managing Director, Nicole Underwood –

Nicole Underwood

Nicole Underwood knows what it takes to create, build and grow a successful consulting firm. She has worked with hundreds of clients, coached her fair share of Consultants and placed hundreds of professionals into their dream job. Her desire to achieve and drive herself and others to greater levels of success just seems to be part of her DNA.

Nicole’s work ethic was instilled in her from an early age from her parents, both school teachers in the Barossa Valley. At age 15, Nicole was “encouraged” to get a part-time job at the local department store and earn her own way. This journey continued throughout high school and her university years with Nicole independently purchasing her first property in Norwood at age 19.

After graduating from the University of South Australia with a Degree in Management (Marketing & HR), Nicole launched her recruitment career in Adelaide with a small local agency as an Account Manager. It wasn’t until she was hired by Greg Savage and Ross Clennett to establish the Adelaide office of the highly successful firm Recruitment Solutions that she knew she had found her true calling. It was this experience that inspired her love for building a business, leading high performance teams and consulting with organisations to find them the best talent in the market.

In 2001, Nicole was headhunted to set up a new business in the Adelaide market at age 23. Nicole founded Entrée Recruitment in 2001 and rapidly built the company to achieve sales in excess of $3million in its first year of operation. This opportunity proved Nicole had what it took to build and grow a highly successful recruitment firm.

In 2002 and again in 2008, Nicole’s business and leadership achievements were formally recognised by the Telstra Business Women Awards. As a dual Finalist in the Young Business Women of the Year and the Private and Corporate Sector Award, Nicole lists these awards as a strong highlight of her corporate career.

In 2005, Nicole was asked to deliver a keynote presentation by CPA Australia for their Women’s Committee on her story of success. This sell-out event at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, spurred Nicole’s passion for public speaking and she has since spoken at a range of events for the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), The Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAA), The University of South Australia and The Australian Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC).

In 2007, Nicole had her first child, a daughter Charlie. She was determined to lead from the front and demonstrate to other females that family and business success can co-exist, especially at an executive level. This journey proved successful with her second child arriving in 2009 and Nicole supporting a large number of women in her business to achieve the same balance

Nicole launched her blog “recruitment retention results” in 2010 incorporating her views on all things people, leadership and performance. Her blog is regularly published, read, re-tweeted and commented on nationally by industry and business leaders across the HR and recruitment community. It was through this outlet that Nicole discovered she had a calling to embrace her ambitions of owning her own business.

17 years since establishing that start-up, Nicole has harnessed her entrepreneurial spirit in the creation of an innovative business model with a holistic approach to executive search and talent management. Her view of the business world is centered on her people first philosophy. The creation of values that guide behaviors and high performance is at the core of establishing a sustainable and profitable business. Look after your people first, the clients will love the service and the numbers will look after themselves.

Nicole is a Fellow (FRCSA) and member for the RCSA (Recruitment Consultant Services Association) in South Australia. The RCSA is the leading industry and professional body for the recruitment and human resources services sector, with over 3,800 members.

Nicole’s love for business is balanced with her first love – family. She lives in Adelaide with her two children Charlie and William.

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