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Meet the Team

We are a generational family business.

John Birch

John W. Birch

Senior Partner

John was part of the 1993 startup that became Thomas Brooke International. He manages the firm’s private equity and investment relationships. John has extensive experience in executive search and process improvement, with the vital attribute of keeping activity focused on the right goals and minimizing wasted effort. His ability to see patterns and draw insights others miss has been a large part of the firm’s ability to identify the path to success in the most challenging assignments.

Previously, John was Managing Partner with Tully and Hobart in Chicago, where he was responsible for all facets of client work including relationship development and internal resources. He also held the roles of Group Vice President with Roth Young, and Search Director for Robert Half International Chicago. John holds a BS in Management with a dual concentration in Manufacturing Management and Information Systems from Northern Illinois University.

Outside work, John enjoys remodeling his Victorian farmhouse and working on his World Classics stamp collection.

Nicola Birch

Nicola James

Managing Partner

Nicola founded Thomas Brooke International with John Birch in 1993. She manages the firm’s executive search division, as well as providing support for the recruiting division. She directs organizational consulting for companies, working with the C-suite to spearhead structural shifts to optimize performance and talent. Nicola is a highly creative and unorthodox thinker, who excels at finding the “needle in the haystack” with specialized talent, and building enduring relationships with clients and candidates, often over many years.

Nicola leveraged her Cambridge University Chemistry & Materials Science education to drive Thomas Brooke’s focus within the paints, coatings, polymers, and specialized materials space. Her scientific and analytical training has also been applied in developing the firm’s processes to deliver effective and reliable solutions to the most complex sourcing and hiring challenges.

Besides her work at Thomas Brooke, Nicola is a nationally and internationally awarded fine art photographer, and an expert on the history and cultivation of tulips and dahlias.

Renner Winston

Renner Winston

Engagement Manager

Renner is a member of the Thomas Brooke management team and leads the recruiting division of the firm. As an Engineering and Organizational Leadership graduate from Purdue University, his combination of technical, process and business skills translate well to the complex processes of recruiting talent in a technical marketplace.

Renner has a foundational understanding of the need for quality talent when growing a technical team. Prior to joining Thomas Brooke, Renner sold factory automation equipment for Keyence Corporation, and co-founded a solar consulting company, giving him exposure to both corporate life and small business.

In his spare time, Renner is a disciplined runner, having completed a number of marathons, and brings that discipline to work every day.


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