It is with a heavy heart that we report that our friend and colleague, Vanessa Bailey, passed away on August 16, 2017 after a tenacious, courageous and private battle with cancer. A leading executive recruiter in the private equity space, Vanessa founded Cressida Partners in 1999 and became a senior advisor to David Barrett Partners in January 2017, formalizing a long collaborative relationship between our two firms.
The news came as a shock to many. In a letter to the members of the firm, David Barrett recalled first getting to know Vanessa early in their careers when they worked together at Russell Reynolds Associates and he had joked that she was "way too smart to be in search" but her "direct approach and commitment to excellence allowed [him] to learn so much from her." He emphasized Vanessa's "unparalleled professionalism, incredible client and candidate focus, attention to detail, sense of urgency, candor, and commitment to excellence." It was Vanessa's self-reliance and classic British stoicism in the face of adversity, never wanting to draw attention or sympathy, and always downplaying her condition, that may explain her quiet battle against the illness that overcame her. Most of all, as colleagues and associates, we will remember Vanessa for the qualities that touched us personally and that we so admired and loved: her "irrepressible sense of humor, boundless enthusiasm and optimism, sensitivity to others, and genuine modesty and humility."
Vanessa had over twenty-five years of private equity recruitment experience at senior levels. She began her career at Russell Reynolds Associates where she worked in New York, London, and Tokyo. In 1999, she founded Cressida Partners as a New York boutique search firm focused exclusively on private equity firms and family offices. Throughout her career, Vanessa represented a broad array of top tier private equity firms and maintained a concentrated portfolio of long-standing clients for whom she was both recruiter and advisor.
A British national, she graduated from Oriel College, Oxford University with an M.A. (Honors) in Modern Languages. Vanessa enjoyed traveling overseas, visiting with her father, mother and aunt, and spending time with her beloved dog, Henry. She was a marathon runner, a certified milliner, as well as an advocate for a number of animal rescue organizations.
Several who have heard the news through the industry have asked how they might honor Vanessa. Vanessa did not wish to be the center of attention in a memorial service. Instead, she invited friends to contribute in her name to the ASPCA or any other animal organization of choice.
Vanessa was a wonderful friend who left us far too soon. We miss her dearly.