Phillips Oppenheim Leading Director Search for Yale’s Schwarzman Center

June 20, 2017 – Yale University’s Schwarzman Center has retained the services of Phillips Oppenheim to find an executive director. Principal Sarah James and partner Becky Klein are leading the search.

Schwarzman Center, which is expected to be completed in 2020, will be the new student center and is much anticipated as the hub of campus life for the New Haven, CT school.

The executive director sets the standard for engagement across the entire Yale community and drives programming that incorporates guest artists and thought leaders, as well as the student activities, according to Yale. The individual also provides strategic vision for both programming and operations.

The person in the role serves as the Schwarzman Center’s public voice, articulating its contributions internally and externally, managing the center’s resources, including staff and facilities. He or she is also the primary point of contact with Stephen A. Schwarzman, the donor, and his staff, providing regular reports on plans, challenges, and accomplishments. During construction and final phases of renovation, the executive director will be a key contributor to the final planning and overall success of the building project, working closely with Robert A.M. Stern architects and Yale Facilities team.

The Right Fit

The ideal candidate will have the leadership skills and the capacity to implement and advance a major new programmatic and physical resource to sophisticated standard. That person must have demonstrated operational management skills, including budget management, allocation of resources, supervision of staff, and organizational development in a complex institutional environment with a unionized staff.

The Schwarzman Center will be a unique resource at Yale, providing a vibrant social and intellectual hub with daily activities that are a magnet for students and others from around the university and major, periodic events that will unite the entire community. The center is the only space on campus of its size and scale and will be renovated and expanded over the next few years. When it reopens in 2020, the Schwarzman Center is expected to be a welcoming place to more than 13,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, and will speak to the particular culture of the institution.


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Phillips Oppenheim, founded in 1991, provides mission-driven organizations with senior leaders from the business, public, and non-profit sectors. It sponsors roundtable discussions, participates in workshops and conferences, and acts as informal counsel to non-profit organizations and their boards.

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; 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 also recently picked by the Apollo Theater to lead its search for a new executive producer. Executive search consultant Sandi Haynes led that search. Just recently, Phillips Oppenheim was given the honor of leading the prestigious director search for the Barack Obama Presidential Museum in Chicago.

Ms. James has been recruiting for local, national and international non-profit institutions and corporations since 1996. She has recruited executives for leading aid, advocacy, cultural, education, environmental, faith-based, healthcare, philanthropic and social service institutions.

Ms. Klein has combined search experience with the arts during her professional career. She has conducted searches for the Metropolitan Opera, the Animal Medical Center, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Lincoln Center, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Non-Profit Third Largest Employer In the U.S.

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. As a result, 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.

Recruiters 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 Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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