Vanessa Ruda

Senior Partner, Regional Leader—U.S. Central Region


Dr. Vanessa Ruda is a senior partner in the Chicago office with responsibility for the firm’s United States Central Region. In this role, she leads RHR International’s consulting team and business presence in Chicago and throughout the rest of the region. Vanessa has deep experience in the areas of C-level succession planning, executive selection and development, building high-performing senior teams, and strategic change leadership. She has worked with clients across a variety of industries and throughout the world ranging from small family-run businesses to Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to joining RHR, Vanessa worked for Ruda Cohen & Associates, a Chicago-based executive management and communications consulting firm established in 1979. She began her career with Ruda Cohen in 1997 and began running the business herself in 2010. Vanessa is also a faculty member of Northwestern University, where she teaches strategic change management in the Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change program. She also serves as a thesis advisor to graduate students, overseeing their coaching fieldwork with a particular focus on the use of Hogan assessment tools.

Vanessa holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Northwestern University, and a PhD in organizational psychology from the Kellogg School of Management.