After Frustrating 3-Year Search, JVS Career Services Helps Cancer Research Institute Find ‘Perfect Match’ Within Months

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Three years into her search for a Senior Staff Scientist at Wood Hudson Cancer Research Laboratory, Dr. Julia Carter, Ph.D., received a letter in the mail from JVS Career Services. That was in July 2017. She put the letter on the shelf, thinking she was already in the middle of trying to find someone qualified. In November though, Dr. Carter opened the letter, and within six months, she hired a smart, skilled, enthusiastic new scientist who began writing grants, mentoring college students, and reorganizing an underutilized lab at Wood Hudson.

“Once I talked with JVS Career Services, it was a clear path forward,” Dr. Carter said. “I had every confidence JVS Career Services could do the job, and they did.”

Wood Hudson is a not-for-profit research institute housed inside a former Catholic school building in Newport, Kentucky, a move from Covington made necessary as a result of the increased size of the institute’s research and education programs. Inside is a world-class biospecimen repository, containing more than two million tissues from 65,000 cancer patients, donated by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Scientists at Wood Hudson study human cancers for new methods of cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. They study the environmental causes of cancer, particularly food and drinking water chemicals; and train undergraduate STEM majors, the next generation of scientists and physicians. Its scientists use equipment and techniques on the cutting edge of cancer research nationwide.

Before turning to JVS Career Services, Dr. Carter, who is the President and Founding Trustee of Wood Hudson, posted the opening in listings through professional societies—a seemingly well-focused search that did not yield the candidates she needed.

“Being a small, independent cancer research institute in Northern Kentucky isn’t your usual niche,” she said.

It was also difficult and time-consuming for her to review candidates. The process was stressful, said Dr. Carter, and took her away from her research.

JVS Career Services took a different approach. They cast a very wide net and got a diverse group of applicants from across the country—138 applicants, in fact. JVSCS selected just nine people for Dr. Carter to interview.

“Can you imagine if I had to deal with 138 people?” she said. “They knew what we were looking for and found people that matched it. I can’t tell you how much they relieved me of the angst of interviewing people that were not qualified.”

Dr. Carter relied on JVCCS’s judgement, efficiency, and expertise to narrow the candidate pool. To further narrow the list, JVS Career Services suggested asking candidates to write a one-page proposal of what they would do if they were hired.

“That separated the sheep from the goats,” Dr. Carter said. “When I saw Leila’s proposal, I knew she was the one.”

Dr. Leila Valanejad, Ph.D., who saw the posting on LinkedIn, had just the research and grant-writing expertise Dr. Carter was looking for, including 16 peer-reviewed publications in major scientific journals. And she has made an immediate impact on the institute. In addition to leading research and writing grant proposals, Dr. Valanejad oversees the Undergraduate Research Education Program, which employs students from universities around the country, giving them hands-on res

earch experience in a laboratory setting.

“She’s wonderful with students, enthusiastic, very bright, and very hard-working. And she loves science,” Dr. Carter said. “She is dedicated to getting to know other aspects of cancer research. In many ways, it was a perfect match.”

Learn how JVS Career Services can help your organization attract talent with our recruiting  services by contacting Peter Landesman by phone at (513) 745-2905 or by email


Peter Landesman, Senior Business Development Manager and Career Coach, comes to JVS Career Services after 40 years as a marketing and marketing communications professional. Peter has worked in a wide variety of industries that include consumer packaged goods, retail, publishing, healthcare, information technology, private aviation, professional services, and employee benefits. He has worked for well-known companies such as World Book Encyclopedia, JCPenney, American Heart Association, NCR, and NetJets.

Peter has passionately pursued and welcomed opportunities to assist individuals with their careers and share connections that lead to the next step in their journey.  In addition to fulfilling a volunteer role with many JVS Career Services clients, Peter co-facilitates the American Marketing Association’s Career Transition Group. Among his other non-profit activities, Peter served on the Governing Board of the WE Lead Athena Program and continues to serve on the Steering Committee of the Greater Cincinnati HR Collaborative.

He and his wife, Linda are members of Rockdale Temple and Peter is proud to volunteer with the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.