Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.



Ponneh Varho


Ponneh is a member of the Executive Committee at Isaacson, Miller and the leader of the firm’s Washington, DC office. Since joining the firm in 2007, Ponneh has built a strong higher education practice, having completed more than 100 searches for presidents, provosts, deans, and a broad range of functional leaders. Her searches often result in strong client affinity relationships and she frequently works with her presidential placements to build out their leadership teams. Ponneh has conducted presidential searches for institutions including Bowdoin College; Spelman College; Vassar College; Wellesley College; and her alma mater, the University of Virginia. Her service as a student trustee and member of the honor counsel at UVA helps to inform the perspective Ponneh brings to her clients in higher education. Earlier in her career, Ponneh practiced law for five years. That experience provided the underpinning of her focus on client service—a hallmark of her work approach. She has long been a champion of diversity and inclusion and, in addition to her client work in this area, Ponneh co-chairs the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiative. Ponneh continues to refine her craft through a commitment to excellence and continuous learning, bringing a level of intellectual rigor that allows her search engagements to develop into true partnerships. She enjoys sharing her insights with emerging leaders and has participated in a number of speaking engagements on preparing for presidencies in higher education.


Washington, DC


  • BA, University of Virginia
  • JD, University of Virginia
  • EdM, Harvard University

Focus Areas

  • Liberal Arts Colleges
  • University Presidencies