Air Force Association Taps BoardWalk Consulting to Find Chief Development Officer

August 17, 2021 – Executive recruitment firm BoardWalk Consulting has been called in by the Air Force Association (AFA) to lead its search for a new chief development officer. Sam Pettway and Diane Westmore are heading the assignment. To succeed in this “hands-on, can-do environment,” the chief development officer must be both strategist and project manager, proactively aligning AFA’s needs with the needs of donors and program partners, said the search firm. Accordingly, the chief development officer must be prepared to partner with other members of the senior team and the board in collaborative pursuit of strategic goals, especially those requiring outside financial support. They will ensure the processes and activities of the development office support achievement of long-term development goals while meeting short-term priorities.

The incoming executive will be expected to reinforce a philanthropic culture across the organization and its supporters to ensure the sustainability of AFA’s special brand of education and advocacy. He or she must develop a network of relationships that complement and support those already in place, the capability, capacity and credibility to initiate and sustain many.

The ideal candidate will offer a record of clear success in strengthening and leading a comprehensive development strategy in an aspirational context, ideally with the level of complexity inherent at AFA, said BoardWalk Consulting. Prospects should have a facility for balancing projects and priorities within a strategic framework as well as demonstrated respect for the difference an energized development function can make in an otherwise mature institution. Experience working with boards, especially with boards relatively new to fundraising is desired.

The Air Force Association is a volunteer-led, professionally managed non-profit with over 97,000 members and some 200 local and regional chapters across the country. For 75 years, the Air Force Association has been the nation’s premier independent civilian organization championing the world’s finest Air Force. Incorporated in 1946 and initially led by noted aviation pioneer and Medal of Honor recipient Gen. Jimmy Doolittle, AFA quickly became a leading voice and critical resource for an extensive array of stakeholders.

Non-Profit Focused Recruiters

BoardWalk Consulting, based in Atlanta, is a national executive search firm that recruits CEOs and senior leadership for mission-driven non-profit organizations. Founded in 2002, the firm leads executive searches for clients from across the non-profit sector with global, national, regional and local missions. Many of the firm’s team members have previously served as non-profit executives, grant makers and board leaders. BoardWalk Consulting is also an active partner in Panorama, the global network of independent executive search firms.

Mr. Pettway is the founding director of BoardWalk Consulting. Over his career in executive search, he has worked with hundreds of board members and leadership teams with entities ranging from start-ups to mature multinationals in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. Since founding BoardWalk in 2002, he has served clients as varied as international relief agencies, national foundations, regional trade associations and local agencies in dozens of markets.

Ms. Westmore, senior associate, offers our clients over 30 years of search experience recruiting president/CEO, vice president and senior-level executives spanning all functional areas. She joined BoardWalk after 12 years at Spencer Stuart.

Related: Boardwalk Consulting Recruits Chief People Officer for the Union of Concerned Scientists 

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

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