helping you drive growth

Since 2001, entreQuest (eQ) has been in the business of helping organizations drive growth regardless of their size, their industry or the economy.

eQ’s mission is to drive growth with entrepreneurs, executives, and organizations. Our Management Consulting and Talent Acquisition practices focus on culture and talent, with expertise in creating and driving high-performing, mission-driven cultures and building elite teams to facilitate organizational health.

Our successes, story, and methodologies were forged in the beautiful struggle of growing over 500 businesses of varying sizes and in the effort, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with all levels of the organization.

The eQ Growth Methodology™ was born from these inspirational experiences and is a philosophy backed by sensible processes and practical tactics that bring positive change and spur progress for our clients. Leading with this philosophy, we wrote the book on what it takes to achieve growth in today’s ever-changing business landscape; a New York Times Bestseller: Grow Regardless.

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our team

Joe Mechlinski

CEO & Co-Founder

Joe Mechlinski
“I am grateful and humbled by the opportunity to build world class cultures designed to attract, engage, retain and develop top talent to transform the organizations into performance-based growth machines!”
Joe Mechlinski
CEO & Co-Founder

Not many people have founded four companies before graduating college. This is just one thing that sets Joe Mechlinski apart from a typical CEO. While earning his degree from the Johns Hopkins University, Joe founded four ventures—with varying degrees of success, and failure – to pay his way through college. At 23, he co-founded his fifth company, entreQuest (eQ), a management-consulting firm the Baltimore Business Journal has named one of the “Best Places to Work” for five consecutive years.

Since founding the business, Joe and eQ have been featured on Bloomberg Radio, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and The Wall Street Journal Online. And in 2014, Joe was invited to sit on the White House Small Business Council. A decade after eQ’s inception, Joe compiled the lessons he learned from his early life experiences, and his work with more than 500 organizations across the country, into the 2013 New York Times bestseller: “Grow Regardless.”

One of his biggest passions remains giving back—especially within communities like the heart of Baltimore, the one where he got his start.

He co-founded the B4Students Foundation, which linked corporate mentors and at-risk Baltimore students for their entire high school careers. He has served on the board of NextGen Angels, Betamore, Conscious Venture Labs, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, and the Community-University Collaboration Committee (CUCC). Outside of Baltimore, he’s worked with Opportunity Village in Las Vegas, Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, Virgin Unite in the United Kingdom, and the Ford Foundation headquartered in New York.

In 2016, Joe founded SHIFT—a localized network of executives and entrepreneurs creating a new standard for business. The group focuses on innovation and impact to transform city ills for good.

Misti Aaronson

COO

Misti Aaronson
COO

Misti has been part of the bedrock of eQ for more than 10 years and has been instrumental in the growth and success of the company. She has played a pivotal role in building eQ into a company known for having a remarkable impact on the lives of countless people, organizations, and communities. Her passion for helping others and building relationships only burns brighter now as she looks to continue to grow the eQ family and have a greater effect on the lives of others.

Misti was welcomed to the company in 2005, and has since been the architect of eQ’s delivery model, bringing to life the study & roadmap process. She was invaluable in the restructuring of the company in 2009, and was even named partner before the age of 30. Her super power is her unique ability to take a vision, design a strategy around the vision, and then make it happen. Often described as tenacious and gritty, two qualities that have allowed her to continue pushing the company forward, she finds developing employees and watching people grow personally and professionally is the most rewarding part of what she does every day.

 A 2012 graduate of GBC Leadership Program, the recipient of SmartCEO’s 2014 Brava Award, and Baltimore’s Daily Record 40 under 40Award, Misti is really a yogi at heart and has completed her 200 hours of yoga training. She is into anything that makes her feel alive – reading about stuff that amazes her, meditation, acupuncture, healthy eating, and of course yoga. Her daily source of inspiration is her daughter, Mattea. As a lifelong learner, Misti dreams of a day where she can study yoga all over the world, immersing herself in the different cultures, and one day teach again.

Andrew Freedman

Managing Partner

Andrew Freedman
Managing Partner

Andrew wakes up every day with a singular mission: to make a positive difference in the lives of every person with whom he comes in contact. He thrives when helping others be more, do more, and give more. As the Managing Partner of the consulting business, Andrew drives the strategy development and execution for this area of eQ, while also playing a key role in service delivery in key client relationships.

Andrew specializes in helping eQ's clients grow by creating vibrant company cultures where remarkable client and employee experiences are the norm. He has an insatiable passion for human performance, and so, much of the work he does with eQ clients centers on change management and organizational development—helping individuals, teams, and organizations bridge the gap between strategy and execution.

When he is not helping his clients Grow Regardless, Andrew is currently an Affiliate Professor for both University of Baltimore and Loyola University of Maryland, teaching both undergraduate and graduate students the core elements of business strategy, organizational development, and company culture. Serving as a “Big” in the Big Brothers of Central Maryland program for more than 10 years, Andrew also received the Rising Star award from Living Classrooms in 2015. Andrew and his wife live in Baltimore, and are the proud owners of two loving mix breed pit bulls.

Chris Steer

Partner & Managing Director

Chris Steer
Partner & Managing Director
As Partner & Managing Director, Steer works to develop and execute on eQ’s strategic vision to expand and position eQ as a leader in growth and engagement consulting, talent acquisition, and entrepreneurial services. His responsibilities at eQ include leadership in business development and marketing, innovation, and strategic planning. 
 
Steer joined the eQ team in 2014 as Vice President of Business Development. He is a seasoned entrepreneur, business advisor, and attorney, with extensive experience leading and developing teams across many different industries. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland School of Law, Steer is a longtime adviser to entrepreneurs and to established businesses. Chris is passionate about people, teams, and helping companies grow. Chris is leading the charge for eQ to create a monumental shift in how organizations build, develop, and grow teams. His genuine passions for building teams and in depth collaboration have produced a remarkable team at eQ. 
 
He is heavily involved in community impact and social innovation. But at the end of the day, he draws inspiration from his amazing family. 
Eliza Graham

Chief Impact Officer

Eliza Graham
Chief Impact Officer

As the Chief Impact Officer of eQ, Eliza is responsible for playing an integral part in the growth and development of SHIFT. Eliza is essential to the realization of eQ’s vision to have a global level of impact. She is dedicated to helping individuals, teams, and organizations focus their intentions on creating positive impact, whether within their communities, their businesses, or within themselves.

Eliza is eQ’s conduit for leading change in businesses and the community. While her career has been predominately in marketing, her work in community outreach has contributed to truly lasting change in the Baltimore area and beyond. She helped start the mentoring program that eventually became the b4 Students Foundation, and in 2006, developed a mentoring program in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. She is the alumni association president for the GBC LEADERShip program and serves on the Board of Directors for Civic Works. The Daily Record recognized Eliza as a 2016 Top 100 Woman In Maryland.

Eliza is also the creator and owner of the unique and fashionable Glam Globes, a company that makes customizable accessories and jewelry for the free spirited individual. She is a collector of rare Halloween décor, and owns a Honda Rebel 250 motorcycle, where on rare occasions you will see her riding slowly and cautiously through her neighborhood … it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Tara Fox

Business Manager

Tara Fox
Business Manager

As Business Manager, Tara is critical to the growth and development of eQ, and plays a key role as the strategic liaison between the Leadership Team and eQ’s unique divisions. She helps oversee the activities of the organization from sales and marketing to business development, to ensure all we do as a team is aligned with our vision, values, and goals.

With a background in education and esthetics, Tara brings a rare dynamic to the company that complements her flair for creativity in designing and executing brand development and product initiatives.

Tara is an adventurer at heart and embraces an active lifestyle that includes yoga, rock climbing, ice climbing, and traveling. She worked in, and managed, spas for 10 years, and still offers professional makeup artistry to local brides. Tara lives in the heart of Fells Point and regularly enjoys all that Charm City has to offer locals and the community.

Rita McDearman

Finance & Operations Manager

Rita McDearman
Finance & Operations Manager
Rita works behind the scenes at eQ to ensure our vision and mission are upheld, and all of our goals are met. She oversees finance, HR, IT and operations and is a vital piece to the growth and development of eQ.
 
An MBA recipient from Loyola University of Maryland Sellinger School of Business, Rita has nearly 20 years of professional experience. In past roles she has guided struggling organizations and led major company overhauls, helping to turn them away from dire straights. Rita enjoys providing structure, improving efficiency, and streamlining operations to make it possible for team members to focus on what they are best at.
 
In the past, Rita has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and Project Clean Stream. A native of Budapest, Hungary, Rita has traveled to every continent but two, and speaks four languages. She is raising two fascinating teenagers, lives for unplanned road trips and hikes in the woods with her dog, and a good book at the end of a long day.
Jeff Lesher

Principal

Jeff Lesher
Principal

Jeff is guided by his belief in the possibility of “even better” for organizations, their leaders, and – for that matter – each of us. Jeff invites leaders and emerging leaders to fully participate in their evolution into people who facilitate more significant contributions from others. He shepherds executives, business owners, and their leadership teams to a place where they are best able to leverage their vision, values, and the story of their organization to unleash the fullest potential of each and every employee in ways that do good and feel good.

A driving force in multiple successful organizations – in founding and leadership roles – Jeff’s combination of knowledge, skill, and perspective helps companies grow and thrive. His business experience and acumen is complemented by his sought after executive coaching services. Certified as a Master Coach in Behavioral Coaching and in Advanced NeuroCoaching, it’s Jeff’s Krazy Glue-like bond with the people he works with that reflects his passion for creating meaningful and lasting change for organizations of all kinds.

Jeff reads in the Everybody Wins! DC Power Lunch program and was named the organization’s “mentor of the year” in 2013. His greatest not-so-guilty pleasure is watching good TV, which he defines as entertainment that makes you think, can surprise you, and leaves you a little melancholy when it ends. Jeff is a story-teller and a bit of a singer, sometimes combining the two by writing new lyrics to well-known melodies for family and business events. He finds them amusing; you’ll have to judge for yourself!

Abby Bradfield

Consultant

Abby Bradfield
Consultant

With nearly 15 years experience in helping companies and people grow, Abby is an expert in creating positive change and achieving big dreams. She helps clients gain clarity on what they want to achieve and why they want to achieve it – and facilitates the mindset and behavior shifts that are necessary to reach their goals. Abby believes the right mindset is the foundation of success and the key to overcoming any challenge.

With an executive MBA from the University of Maryland and a strong background in sales, marketing, and business development, her background supports clients as they craft visions, strategies, and plans for business growth. She has previously launched exceptionally successful branding and marketing campaigns, and business development programs. As a Consultant, Abby draws on a wide range of experiences and her passion for the people side of business.

Abby is a past chair of the development committee for the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE), and is a current Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer. When she’s not creating an exceptional impact for eQ, Abby is always looking for her next adventure. She’s playing football for the first time in her life, ran her first half marathon last year, and is a proud dog mom to her baby Winston. 

Liz Eskenazi

Consultant

Liz Eskenazi
Consultant

With more than a decade of consulting experience, Liz is an expert in leadership coaching and business transformation.

Liz partners with her clients as an agent of change, connector of ideas and people, and fellow explorer of their journey. She brings curiosity, insight, and an ever-present mission to help individuals and organizations unleash potential. Often credited with her ability to be a facilitator and holder of both the conceptual big picture and strategic details, she bridges the questions of "Why" and "What" to "How." Wherever Liz goes, possibilities will be stirred and strategic action will undoubtedly follow.

Boundless in her commitment to her clients, Liz enjoys building strong relationships and making real impact alongside leaders for them, their team, organizations, and ultimately, their communities.

Prior to entreQuest, Liz worked in non-profit and for profit spaces. Most recently, Liz played a critical role on the Management Team at Linkage, Inc. where she lead their internal organizational change and global growth spanning more than 20 countries. Outside of her professional role Liz is also on the board for YMCA Camp Huckins, an all-girls camp in New Hampshire. A lifelong resident of New England, Liz is an avid skier, former ski instructor, and a lover of all things outdoors.

Paul Elliott

Consultant

Paul Elliott
Consultant

Paul’s expertise is in the analysis of human performance and the design of interventions that optimize human performance in support of strategy. He is passionate about assisting organizations in performance analysis, product and process launch support, and the design and implementation of integrated performance systems. Paul has extensive experience with enterprise clients in the areas of strategy deployment and execution, human capital strategy in support of enterprise-wide business initiatives and optimization of talent to drive business results. He has worked with a number of well-known companies to have included Microsoft, BP, ExxonMobil, Agilent, FedEx, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, AstraZeneca and other global companies.

In fact, Paul co-authored a book on human capital strategy entitled Exemplary Performance: Driving Business Results by Benchmarking Your Star Performers, published by Jossey-Bass in 2013. This publication was awarded the International Society of Performance Improvement’s 2014 Award of Excellence for Outstanding Performance Improvement Publication.

Paul lives in Annapolis with his wife, they are proud parents to three sons and two daughters in-law. On October 3rd, Paul and his wife became new grandparents!

Whitney Sibol

Associate

Whitney Sibol
Associate

Whitney is her best self when she is fulfilling her passion of helping others. As an Associate for eQ, she puts her skills to work by supporting our consulting team, intuitively communicating and supporting our clients, and facilitating organizational learning and strategic development. She has helped build annual operating plans, shaped role alignment, and organized executive retreats for eQ’s clients. With a great attitude and a strikingly positive mindset, Whitney is in her element when she is able to make meaningful impact.

With a background in community outreach and project management, she has been leading impactful initiatives for more than five years. Whitney is known throughout the Baltimore area for her powerful and passionate TEDx talk about the importance of perspective.

Whitney is incredibly adventurous and active. She has run triathlons and half-marathons, and is looking to skydiving and explore the rainforest by zipline soon. According to Whitney, there’s no problem that can’t be fixed with the right amount of sunshine and a little Whitney Houston. 

Alexandra Wieland

Associate

Alexandra Wieland
Associate

The chief support for eQ’s principals and consultants, Alexandra assists with the strategic direction, coordination, and implementation of special projects. She has done tremendous work for our clients by leading work groups and engagements.

Alexandra joined eQ with a background in education and publishing and relishes the opportunity she has to affect and impact more lives in a more dynamic way than ever before. She believes in the importance of making small-scale changes for the client, and sees every step forward as a remarkable experience.

Alexandra has dedicated service to the Box of Rain foundation where she helped children build boats and experience the wonders of the Chesapeake Bay. A fitness guru, Alex loves running and practicing yoga, but this hasn’t stopped her from being a foodie. She believes meals are a chance for celebration three times a day. Her French grandmother and time spent living in Paris only expanded her love of food, but despite her French roots, there’s no place quite like Annapolis.

Ellen Lovelidge

Associate

Ellen Lovelidge
Associate

Ellen’s uniquely creative talents are limitless, and her role as an associate allows her to demonstrate these talents in every facet of her work. She excels greatly at creating visual representations for all of eQ’s clients. Whether it’s working on the development of corporate visions, values, or stories, she brings them to life in magical fashion.

Her background is as diverse as they come, having worked on special projects with the Army Surgeon General on brain health initiatives, and with the United Nations at the Nexus Youth Summit. Ellen draws on her passion for diversity to translate words into images through visual messaging.

Ellen has spent the last eight years working as a DJ in her free time, working everything from corporate events to night clubs. She finds immeasurable happiness from being surrounded by wonderful people. Ellen’s herb garden is sacred. In her travels she has collected herbs from all over the country.

Stephanie Ranno

Managing Director

Stephanie Ranno
Managing Director

As the managing director of eQ’s Talent Team, Stephanie develops and delivers strategy to support our clients' talent acquisition needs. With more than a decade in recruiting and staffing, Stephanie has worked closely with enterprise-level and mid-size clients in industries including: financial services, education, professional services, healthcare, technology, retail, and hospitality.

Stephanie’s doing her best work when helping build talented and engaged teams for our clients, and helping talent think through the major life decisions related to career growth or change. There is nothing she won’t do to make our team, or your team, more successful.

Stephanie uses her passion for career mentoring and coaching by volunteering with Maryland New Direction to help Baltimore residents in their job search.

When she’s not helping others grow their career she loves spending time with her family, including her three intensely fun children. Stephanie is truly in her element when exploring the great outdoors but also on stage. She is a theatre veteran and has performed in numerous shows, including The Tempest, 42nd Street, and Harvey just to name a few.

Emily Plahanski

Business Development Manager

Emily Plahanski
Business Development Manager

An upstate New Yorker at heart, Emily quickly finds her feet wherever she lands because of her passion for building new relationships. Whether with candidates or clients, her true calling is creating trust with everyone she meets and working tirelessly to help people grow personally and professionally.

As eQ’s Business Development Manager, Emily is the front-line influencer for attaining and growing business. As the voice and presence of eQ in and out of the business community, she can tell the eQ story with absolute authenticity and passion. A recipient of Howard County’s Finest 39 under 39, her commitment is to make an impact on a disengaged culture, and believes a great culture and great people are the real keys to success.

Emily is a member of the Howard County Tech Council, a former board member of the Howard County Young Professional’s Network, and is a strong advocate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. An avid boater and lover of all things Annapolis, Emily often says if there were more hours in the day she would operate a dog walking business.

Daley Navalkowsky

Talent Consultant

Daley Navalkowsky
Talent Consultant

What do you do when you have southern hospitality engrained into your DNA? You become a talent consultant … at least that’s how the story went for Daley, who spends every day helping improve the lives of people. She has found it incredibly rewarding to help people find the career they’ve always wanted, and to watch the profound impact it has on their lives, and the lives of their families.

Daley is a Talent Consultant for eQ and has spent more than 10 years in recruiting with some of the largest names in the industry. She is one of the best in the business, and was the #2 recruiter in the country for direct hire placements with her previous agency. Her passions run deep; she believes in the power of connecting people and the influence that can have on our communities.

Daley has sat on boards for both Notre Dame Preparatory School and Washington and Lee University, her alma maters. She has thrown in the towel on lacrosse after two ACL repairs, but her favorite extracurricular activity these days is watching her son James grow up right before her eyes. She’s a resident of Annapolis, and is married to a diehard Philadelphia sports fan, but she was born into an Auburn University family and loved growing up in and around Southern culture.     

Jonna Faulise

Talent Consultant

Jonna Faulise
Talent Consultant

A southern transplant, like several eQers, Jonna truly embodies what it means to be a talent consultant. Unlike a traditional recruiter, Jonna uses her expertise to consult candidates and clients alike on making the right, and the best hiring decisions. She finds immense joy in being able to sincerely impact the lives of those she helps. For her, the impact she makes is not just transactional it’s transformational.

Jonna is adamant about ensuring everyone she works with gets the same exceptional level of care and consideration. She believes openness and trust are vital when it comes to helping people find their dream job. She is an onboarding expert, and excels at ensuring an employee’s first few days on the job are beyond exceptional.

Although Jonna was raised in North Carolina, her time in Baltimore has made her a quick convert to Orioles baseball and all things Charm City. She’s always looking for a good tasting gluten free beer, and has a real soft spot for animals, especially mini-pigs.

Jessica Drew

Talent Consultant

Jessica Drew
Talent Consultant

A remarkable member of eQ’s Talent Group, Jess believes in the power of impacting people’s lives through everything she does. For her, being able to help shape someone’s career and watch how it affects their life is truly rewarding.

Jess has found it’s not about finding the right candidate for the right job, but finding the right candidate for the right company. She has an exceptional understanding of an organization’s culture and how an individual can and will fit seamlessly into that culture. With more than eight years in the recruiting industry, Jess brings a tremendous amount of experience and expertise to any client in need.

Jess has spent time volunteering with the Living Classrooms Mentoring Program, and also plays an active role in her family’s non-profit organization, Catch A Lift, which provides services for wounded veterans. Jess is loving life as a new mom, and does everything she can to help children in need; including traveling to orphanages in Guatemala and Honduras.

Eric Stewart

Writing Specialist

Eric Stewart
Writing Specialist

The writing specialist of eQ, Eric is charged with supporting the company’s content initiative. He is responsible for brainstorming, creating, and transforming ideas into words for articles, blogs, white papers, and any other written content or digital communications.

 With a background in historical research and copywriting, Eric loves the ability to spread eQ’s vision to the world through the written word. For him, there’s nothing more enjoyable than to see eQ impact lives – one person at a time. Eric supports this by taking complex methodologies and information and making them straightforward and digestible.

 An alumni of the University of Maryland, and a former member of the university’s rowing team, Eric loves being around the water. When he’s not writing or editing, Eric enjoys a fine cup of coffee, a good book, and spending time around the ocean.

Sherine High

Consultant

Sherine High
Consultant

Sherine is a forward thinking, dynamic, and versatile senior HR professional and certified mediator, who possesses a consistent track record spanning over 20 years of success deploying expertise moving visionary initiatives from strategy to effective implementation yielding measurable Human Capital results. She’s recognized as being an innovative thinker with broad business perspective and knowledge who is a key contributor to organizational wide strategy development, execution planning, and decision-making.

Her solution-focused, business acumen application of HR practices has made her a valued advisor and requested consultant to board members, C-Suite partners, front line management, and staff level employees providing common sense approaches in a thoughtful and engaging manner. She has extensive experience in various business sectors including Professional Services, Healthcare, Academic, & Global Industry in both union and non-union organizations. Organizational development and various subject matter related development sessions as well as operational human resource assessments and process improvement initiative efforts are just a few of the key areas of focus she is engaged in.

Sherine also serves as a board member for the Chesapeake Human Resource Foundation and is passionate about imparting HR knowledge to upcoming professionals. She enjoys traveling to visit her son’s and their families where she’s an expert at breaking out the play dough or cuddling to read stories. Sherine is also an enthusiastic Baltimore Ravens fan.

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