Acquiring Leaders for Change


After 15 successful years at the helm of a leading not-for-profit developmental services agency, its CEO announced to the board that he would be retiring later that year. With a 45-year history of providing leading edge supports and clinical services to hard to serve youth and adults with complex mental health needs, the agency was faced with finding its next leader. One who could build upon the successful track record of the incumbent CEO and board. Added to this challenge was the fact that many agency leaders within the sector were facing retirement over the next 3-5 years, which significantly impacted the talent pool within the sector. Though the senior leadership team was quite strong no internal candidates were being considered for the role.


We geared our approach to meet this uniqueness by searching for a leader with not just industry exposure, but a demonstrated knowledge of clinical practices. As such, we decided to consider leaders from both for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. And though specific industry knowledge was not a prerequisite, we felt it was important to seek out professionals with industry backgrounds that had some synergies to the sector, e.g. mental health, hospitals, addictions, aside from developmental services. Our approach eliminated the need to seek out leaders from most competing agencies as they did not have hands-on clinical knowledge… instead we decided to identify and engage qualified individuals with a clinical focused background who had the vision to take the agency to its next iteration. We ended up being anything but standardized. With an unconventional search strategy that was national in both scope and scale, our goal was to identify influential leaders who, aside from having a natural fit to the role, would also be key influencers in the broader healthcare market. Our sleuthing resulted in discussions with candidates who were below the radar… they looked at the challenges in the DS sector through a unique lens but were well-suited to the challenges and complexities of the role and the ever-changing sector pressures and marketplace.


The successful candidate hails from the hospital sector, possesses executive leadership experience, has created and grown business initiatives through developing high performing teams in the hospital sector, and has a career focus on clinical applications to individuals with complex needs.