Aspen Leadership Group Leading Chief Development Officer Search for the Pittsburgh Public Theater

April 24, 2024 – Aspen Leadership Group, an executive search firm that specializes in recruiting top talent for philanthropic organizations, has been called in by the Pittsburgh Public Theater to lead in its search for a new chief development officer. Jeanette Rivera-Watts is leading the assignment. Reporting to the managing director and partnering closely with the artistic director, the chief development officer will oversee all fundraising activities for Pittsburgh Public Theater. They will partner with the managing director and artistic director as well as the board of trustees to develop and achieve ambitious fundraising goals that meet and exceed the theater’s current contributed revenue targets while building, leading, and inspiring a talented team of development professionals.

“Our first chief development officer will understand the importance of values-based leadership and seek to positively influence organizational culture while achieving strategic goals,” said Shaunda McDill, managing director at Pittsburgh Public Theater. “At the Pittsburgh Public Theater, time, treasure, and talent help illuminate a loyalty path that determines how we prioritize and with whom we are in meaningful relationship with. I am seeking a partner who will help bolster the development work of our organization, encourage the next leaders in the field, and eagerly accept the challenge to steward only the second capital campaign since its founding.”

A bachelor’s degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience is preferred for this position as is at least five years of leadership and fundraising experience at an organization of similar, or larger, size and scope. Experience in a performing arts environment is preferred. Pittsburgh Public Theater will consider candidates with a broad range of backgrounds. “If you are excited about this role and feel that you can contribute to the Pittsburgh Public Theater, but your experience does not exactly align with every qualification listed above, we encourage you to apply,” the organization said.

Pittsburgh Public Theater provides artistically diverse theatrical experiences and strives to serve, challenge, stimulate, and entertain while operating in a fiscally responsible manner.

Aspen Leadership Group, established in 2013, conducts searches for board members, presidents, executive directors, chief development and advancement officers, and development and advancement professionals. It clients include Brown University, PBS, the Humane Society of the United States, the Leakey Foundation, and the Denver Zoological Foundation, among others.

Ms. Rivera-Watts serves as a director for search management and search consultant with Aspen Leadership Group, where she develops outreach strategies to build and refine candidate pools and establishes enduring relationships with candidates in the process. She has served Aspen Leadership Group since 2020 and is an AIRS-certified diversity and inclusion recruiter. Ms. Rivera-Watts  is also a member of the firm’s inclusion council. She has 13 years of experience in the non-profit sector, including 11 years in the field of advancement.

Recent Searches for Development Officers

A number of search firms have been called in to lead development officer searches for various organizations in recent months, here is a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:

Greenbrae, CA-based Cook Silverman Search has been selected by Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative in San Francisco to lead its search for a chief development officer. The organization is seeking an experienced chief development officer, who will be responsible for planning, executing and evaluating all fundraising and development initiatives. The CDO will establish fundraising priorities and objectives; create fundraising strategies to meet specific program goals; identify and profile current and prospective individual, business, and foundation prospects; develop and cultivate positive relationships with donors and prospects; and solicit and steward major donors.

Boston-based Pearl Street Collective has assisted in the recruitment of Laura Perez Hamilton as chief development officer of Treehouse, a Seattle, WA-based non-profit focused on the specific educational needs of youth in foster care. Ms. Perez Hamilton brings over 20 years of advancement and development leadership including major gift fundraising experience to her new role. She most recently served as the chief advancement officer for Northwest Harvest where she led a 20+ person team focused on philanthropy, community engagement, communications, and volunteer management. In her new position with Treehouse, Ms. Perez Hamilton will primarily be responsible for directing a growing development program that ensures that the organization meets its strategic and financial goals through philanthropy and communications, and for working intentionally with the team to lead all engagement relationships through an equity lens, utilizing the principles of community-centric fundraising.

Following a national search Dallas-based executive search and talent development firm Bryant Group has assisted in the recruitment of Jessica Chapman as chief development officer at Target ALS. Sarah Hempen, vice president, led the assignment. “We are thrilled to welcome Jessica Chapman to Target ALS as our chief development officer,” said Manish Raisinghani, CEO of Target ALS. “Her distinguished expertise in leading development initiatives for research-focused missions along with her profound commitment to the ALS community make her an excellent addition to our team. Together, we will enable innovation in ALS research, advancing effective treatments to realize a world where everyone lives.” An experienced fundraiser in development and charitable gift-giving, Ms. Chapman brings a wealth of knowledge to the position. She spent seven years with The ALS Association, serving as their director of planned giving, senior director of individual giving, vice president of development and most recently as their vice president of mission equalities.

Related: Pearl Street Collective Seeks Two CDOs for University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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