May 22, 2018 – Aspen, CO-based search firm Aspen Leadership Group has placed Madonna Cacciatore as the new executive director of Christopher Street West (CSW), the non-profit that organizes the gay rights LA Pride Festival and Parade. Senior consultant Tim Child led the assignment.
The recruitment firm conducted the search on behalf of the CSW board of directors and the organization’s extended executive director search committee, made up of local leaders who are devoted to serving the Los Angeles LGBTQ+ community.
“This is an exciting moment in CSW’s storied history,” said Chris Classen, CSW board president. “I’m confident that Madonna will help propel this amazing organization forward in a big way.”
CSW was looking for what it described as a risk taker who was ready and capable of leading the organization in this newly created role. “As we look toward the future and set our sights on making LA Pride a must-experience pride destination for the global LGBTQ+ community and our allies, there is no better time than now to recruit a forward-thinking leader who will be at the very heart and soul of making this vision a reality,” said Estevan Montemayor, CSW board member and search committee chair.
The Right Leader
Ms. Cacciatore had the right mix of leadership, development, fundraising, community affairs and event production expertise – coupled with a life-long passion for activism and an unwavering dedication to the welfare of LA’s LGBTQ+ community – to lead CSW, especially as it prepares for its historic 50th-anniversary celebrations in 2020, said Aspen Leadership Group.
Having held a number of high-profile roles at two of the largest LGBTQ+ service organizations in the world – the Los Angeles LGBT Center and AIDS Project Los Angeles – Ms. Cacciatore is attuned to the issues facing LA’s diverse LGBTQ+ community. “However, what makes Cacciatore stand out, which anyone who knows her can attest to, is her truly compassionate spirit,” the organization said.
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“The response we received to this search was absolutely incredible,” said Mr. Montemayor. “It was moving to see so many talented people raise their hands to lead this organization – and I’m thrilled that, in the end, the CSW board of directors has chosen a leader who so beautifully reflects our mission and core values. I can’t wait to see what amazing things we all accomplish together.”
Ms. Cacciatore said she feels well-suited for her new role. “As a leader, I know it’s vital for me to listen, care, and have compassion,” she said. “One of my most treasured skills is something that has been part of me since I was young: being able to work with people and making them feel vital in the moment. I have been an LGBTQ+ activist all my life and have built amazing relationships in the community and with allies. I work hard and give it my all to find creative solutions.”
Christopher Street West organized the world’s first permitted parade advocating for gay rights in 1970. Since then, it has been an active voice for the LGBTQ+ community across Greater Los Angeles. It produces the LA Pride Parade and Festival every June in West Hollywood. It also organizes events throughout the year with its non-profit, philanthropic, community and corporate partners. CSW has a budget of over $2 million.
Aspen Leadership Group, which was established five years ago, conducts searches for board members, presidents, executive directors, chief development and advancement officers, and development and advancement professionals. Founder Ronald Schiller has 26 years of experience in executive search, fundraising and administration of non-profit institutions.
Mr. Child is a seasoned advancement executive who most recently served as vice president of institutional advancement for the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles. He has led alumni engagement, fundraising and organizational development in world-class organizations.
Advancement talent that understand the direct connectivity between messaging and contributed revenue is increasingly being groomed by organizations throughout the non-profit sector, according to recruiters. The function is relevant only to the non-profit and education sectors. In a corporate setting, the corresponding role would be chief development officers or chief business development officer.
In general, the best training for such roles is experience. Industry conferences and summits can also help one learn benchmarking and best practices. And while the best fit for these roles ultimately depends on the culture of the organization, recruiters say that “tenacity and drive” are always necessary for advancement and development officers.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media