Engaging in an executive search process to recruit new leadership is a daunting task. Suddenly, the members of a Board of Directors find themselves responsible for shaping their organization’s future through their selection of a new leader—a decision that can have an impact for the next decade or more. Making the best decision requires the Board to fully understand the day-to-day responsibilities of the CEO/Director position. The Board must also find a new chief with the skills necessary for the strategic leadership of the organization and the foresight to navigate changes within the industry.
Schultz & Williams (S&W) has worked with zoos, aquariums and other cultural organizations, supporting their efforts to hire new, dynamic leadership, whether a new CEO/Director or a new member of the C-suite staff. This year, we worked with the leadership of three zoos—the Minnesota Zoo, the Zoological Society of Milwaukee and Niabi Zoo (Illinois)—supporting them as they recruited their next generation of leaders.
During each of these searches, S&W worked with the Boards and other volunteer leadership of these organizations to help them understand what qualities and skills are required in a leader and to define what they’re looking for in that individual. In some cases, we partnered with a local search firm to provide the “zoo lens,” ensuring that the process took into account the unique skills and nuances of the zoo and aquarium industry. We used our first-hand knowledge of the pool of qualified C-suite candidates to ensure that our clients’ needs aligned with the skill set and passion of the potential candidates, helping to secure highly qualified candidates who exceeded the expectations of our clients.
Although Schultz & Williams is not a search firm, we’re dedicated to leveraging our long-term experience to support, in these cases, the zoo and aquarium industry’s shift to a new generation of leadership. Our relationships with Boards is instrumental in helping organizations evaluate when and whether to engage a search firm and whether the search process would be best served by a local or national firm.
Working in close partnership with our clients, we’re also able to instill in them the confidence they need to engage in a thorough and thoughtful search process. Together we’re able to identify a robust pool of qualified candidates with the knowledge, leadership, passion and vision to exceed industry standards and effectively address the evolving needs of today’s nonprofits.