Phillips Oppenheim Leading CEO Search for YouthBuild USA

June 13, 2016 – Phillips Oppenheim, an executive search firm dedicated to the non-profit sector, has been retained by YouthBuild USA to lead its search for a new chief executive officer. Paul Spivey is leading the search.

YouthBuild is a non-profit organization which provides education, counseling and job skills to unemployed young adults (between ages 16 and 24), generally high school dropouts. There are 273 YouthBuild programs in the U.S., with a total capacity of about 10,000 students yearly, and there are similar programs underway in over 15 countries.

According to YouthBuild, the incoming CEO will provide the vision and leadership to set a path for organizational growth and impact, building upon YouthBuild’s track record of cultivating and promoting community leadership.

The executive will oversee day-to-day operations and programs and implement the mission and goals as set forth by YouthBuild’s board of directors. The incumbent will work with the senior management team and board to provide the strategy and direction to ensure that YouthBuild’s programs and services are delivered cost-effectively while maintaining the highest level of quality, and that YouthBuild’s role and visibility in influencing the systems affecting low income young people are expanded.

Ideal Experience and Characteristics

The CEO will have or be:

  • Unwavering determination to eradicate poverty and a steadfast commitment to building upon the assets of youth to become positive leaders and transformational change agents in their communities. A superb role model for youth who can empathize with the struggles and celebrate the triumphs of low-income young people;
  • Proven managerial, problem-solving and strategic-planning skills and commensurate fiscal responsibilities as a senior executive with a non-profit organization or a government agency, preferably in the field of human services, youth development and poverty alleviation;
  • Demonstrated ability to balance long term strategic vision with daily operational issues. A collaborative manager with the ability to attract and nurture high performing talent;
  • Deep experience working effectively and in partnership with a board of directors;
  • Sensitivity, appreciation, and skill in promoting and achieving cultural and racial diversity at all levels of the organization;
  • A gifted and talented fundraiser who unequivocally enjoys and relishes the opportunity to secure resources from private and public funders. A demonstrated ability to capitalize public relations opportunities as they arise;
  • Knowledge of how best to partner with government. The political sophistication to navigate the legislative process and secure support of Congress and federal departments within the executive branch.

Phillips Oppenheim’s arts search practice group has worked with a number of prominent performing arts institutions, including Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Metropolitan Opera, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, and the Music Center in Los Angeles.


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The firm has recently recruited senior leaders for other non-profit organizations, including Matthew Teitelbaum as executive director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Salvador Salort-Pons as director, president and CEO of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA); Linda McNeil Tantawi as CEO for the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; and Judge Judy Harris Kluger as executive director of Sanctuary for Families. The firm was recently selected by the Apollo Theater to lead its search for a new executive producer. Executive search consultant Sandi Haynes is leading that search.

As the economy continues to strengthen, hiring in the non-profit sector has been gaining momentum. In the past decade, employment in the sector grew by 17 percent. It has also become a hot area for corporate executives looking to switch careers. A recent article, ‘Profiting From Nonprofits,’ in United Airlines Hemisphere’s Magazine, said business managers and executives are turning to the non-profit world for employment in record numbers. The sector is now the third largest employer in the U.S. Nearly two million non-profit organizations employ 10.7 million people and produce revenue in excess of $1.9 trillion.

Other reports have pointed out that Baby Boomers who spent the majority of their working lives in the private sector are looking to round out their working years serving a mission. Called the ‘encore career phenomenon,’ this often means switching to a non-profit organization or institution as a means of starting a second career.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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