Meet the Team

Maureen Wilner
Founder & CEO
For more than 12 years, Maureen has been helping forward-thinking professionals and business leaders solve their toughest issue: identifying the right talent for their business. She leverages her seasoned expertise, keen insights and up-to-the-minute market intelligence to guide clients to make educated decisions.
Maureen’s talent and enthusiasm for helping clients find the right fit is evident in every aspect of her dealings. She has a knack for distilling the various facets of a business, from a company’s overall culture to the minute details of a specific job’s requirements, to identify the best candidates. Maureen’s collaborative approach in working with decision-makers for their executive search, contingent, or long-term special projects is appreciated throughout the industry. Her clients admire her level of engagement and attention to detail, and they know they can rely on her with confidence. The high value she places on her business relationships, along with her business acumen, makes Maureen an ideal partner in pinpointing and fulfilling any business’ needs.
Drawing on her decades of experience in the business world, Maureen founded The Wilner Group in 2016 and is proud to have built a stellar team of employees who are smart, responsive, and highly accountable. Each team member’s mission is the same as her own: to ensure every client has the best possible experience working with The Wilner Group.
Before launching her firm, Maureen spent more than six years as a top producer at a global staffing agency, where she focused on the consulting arm of the practice and placed high-level finance and accounting professionals. Earlier in her career, she was a key member of the internal audit function of a multi-national company supporting operational audits from Canada to Argentina.
In 2020, The Wilner Group became a WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council). Maureen is proud to be a part of this national council, which validates that her business is owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from The Berkeley School. In addition to her business acumen and expertise, Maureen is a consummate hostess and loves to throw parties with her husband at their home, showcasing her masterful cooking skills. Her inventive dishes often feature homegrown vegetables and flowers from her garden. She also enjoys spending time with her two adult sons and their partners and her new grandson. Maureen loves the physical and mental energy she gets from exercising and continues to master her skills on the links. She also has an enormous amount of passion around personal growth and self-discovery and has been known to have two or three books on her nightstand at any given time.
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Kim Proeto
Director of Executive Search
It was a stroke of luck that propelled Kim’s career into the staffing industry: In 2005, after working as an accountant for a retail company in upstate New York, she decided it was time for a change and registered with a global staffing firm to assist her in her search.
A few weeks later, the firm contacted her to see if she would be interested in becoming a recruiter there. Her initial thought? “I figured if I hated it, hopefully I’d at least meet my next employer by working with the firm.” But Kim soon discovered recruiting was her true passion and has since served in numerous roles and territories within the industry.
She joined The Wilner Group in 2019 and is known for her infectious enthusiasm and her meticulous approach to help both candidates and clients find the best match. She receives heavy praise for her response and follow-up, whether the news is good or bad. Kim truly values each contact she’s made throughout her career.
When she’s not helping clients reach their career goals or find top talent, she is busy raising two active girls. She spends her free time cheering on the sidelines of soccer games and chauffeuring her oldest daughter to dance class each week. She loves to cook and entertain, but don’t ask her to share any recipes: Kim likes to come up with new creations spontaneously, comprised of “a little of this and a lot of that.”
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Amanda Larsen
Manager of Operations & Recruitment
Amanda began her career with The Wilner Group as an administrator, collecting and entering data into the company’s system. During her tenure, she quickly gained new knowledge and expertise to share with her team. In her current role as manager of operations, Amanda helps educate clients about The Wilner Group’s services and ensures a smooth recruiting process.
She works closely with the social media team and helps them find innovative ways to share information about our services.
Amanda started her career in the education field, working with special needs children and adolescents to help them overcome various learning challenges. Her time spent with parents, teachers, caregivers, and faculty has shaped her belief that there is no one way to communicate with everyone; each person has their own way of learning and understanding. She has brought that awareness to the recruiting industry, where she’s adept at uncovering her clients’ and candidates’ goals.
When she’s not at work, Amanda can often be found spending time at the park and embarking on new adventures with her husband and two children. She also enjoys entertaining friends and family and feels at home in her kitchen, cooking up creative new recipes.
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Ken Mertz
Senior Manager, Technical Recruiting
Ken is a highly seasoned sales professional who recently discovered a passion for recruiting. He has been with The Wilner Group for 2+ years and found immediate success in helping candidates find the perfect role.
Ken has a bachelor’s degree in information technology and worked for one of the nation’s leading wireless carriers for eight years. While there, he utilized his technical knowledge to sell high-technology products and services to consumers. Ken’s IT background truly allows him to “talk the talk” with candidates who are seeking technical roles. He is also a creative, “out of the box” problem-solver with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
On a personal note, Ken recently became a father and purchased a new home for his family. Outside of recruiting, he has taken a keen interest in real estate and investing for his future. He is also a die-hard NHL fan and loves to cook.
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Emil Varelli
Senior Recruiting Manager
As a senior recruitment manager, Emil brings 9+ years of recruiting experience to The Wilner Group. He has deep roots and experience within the healthcare vertical, focusing on all types of roles and positions, from entry-level roles to C-suite candidates.
Through his years of experience, Emil has learned to trust the process and use his knowledge to provide his candidates with a competitive advantage. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University.
Emil is also proud dad to an amazing son who graduated cum laude from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Most nights after work, you can find him in the gym or in deep conversation with friends or family. During the warmer months, Emil can often be found on the golf course perfecting his long game and replacing his divots.
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Kristen Kappock
Recruiting Manager
Kristen’s previous employment as a transaction coordinator in real estate has set her up for success as a recruiting manager. In that position, she contributed to the success of a top-producing real estate team that accomplished more than $50 million in sales in one year alone.
She provided around-the-clock support to buyers and sellers, ensuring each task was completed within the due diligence periods per their contracts. Her exceptional customer service allowed each client to feel like the top priority that they were.
Kristen brings that same customer service mentality and meticulous attention to detail to The Wilner Group. She has a sincere interest in ensuring our clients are connected with high-quality candidates, and vice versa, and prides herself on being proactive, organized and an exceptional communicator.
Outside of The Wilner Group, Kristen can be found soaking up the sun at the beach or in her pool and dining at local restaurants. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two dogs, family, and friends. Kristen also loves any opportunity to entertain as she enjoys showing off her hidden culinary skills.
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Kaylee Ferrell
Recruiting Manager
With over 10 years in the Hospitality industry, Kaylee's experience is a great asset to her role as a recruiter. Her interpersonal skills, adaptability, problem-solving skills, and teamwork experience helps her excel in this role and provide exceptional service to both hiring managers and job candidates.
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