Boardwalk Consulting Finds Executive Director for Year Up Atlanta

September 13, 2018 – Following an expansive national search, Atlanta-based executive search firm BoardWalk Consulting helped in the placement of Grace Jackson as executive director of Year Up Greater Atlanta.

BoardWalk Consulting director Crystal Stephens led the assignment.

Year Up Greater Atlanta is a one-year, intensive training program that provides low-income young adults, ages 18 to 24, with a combination of hands-on skills development, coursework eligible for college credit, corporate internships and wraparound support.

“Grace’s extensive expertise in collaborating with C-suite executives and in developing strategy and leading initiatives will allow us to continue growing Year Up Greater Atlanta through new corporate partnerships and skills training aligned with companies’ talent needs,” said Gerald Chertavian, founder and CEO of Year Up. “She is committed to closing the opportunity divide for young adults across Atlanta, and to scaling Year Up’s impact and reach across the metropolitan area to serve 400 young adults through the end of 2018.”

Year Up Greater Atlanta was seeking a candidate who would bring experience leading a multi-dimensional, growth-oriented organization. They were looking for someone with a track record of driving organizational growth through strategic new market opportunities, expanding partnerships and increasing funds.

With more than 20 years of senior leadership experience in the financial services industry, Ms. Jackson fit that bill. She previously served as chief operating and strategy officer for Raymond James Bank. Before that, she was a credit advisory service executive for a 130-plus organization within SunTrust Bank. She was responsible for managing a P&L, $8.1 billion in assets and establishing the strategy for delivery of wealth management products and services across the enterprise. Ms. Jackson has also held executive leadership positions in private wealth at Wells Fargo. She is an active participant in the Atlanta civic and charitable communities.

“Since 2009, Year Up Greater Atlanta interns and graduates have redefined what talent looks like—and where it comes from,” said Ms. Jackson. “As executive director, I’m excited to build on their success and help even more underserved young adults reach their full potential. I enjoyed celebrating the most recent class of graduates as they launch meaningful careers at companies like AT&T, Elavon, Kaiser Permanente, Cox Enterprises and the Coca-Cola Company.”


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Year Up is an award-winning, national non-profit that helps guide urban young adults from poverty to professional careers in the span of one year. With an operating budget of $108 million, the organization has served more than 3,200 students last year across 24 fully operating programs in 15 states.

Ms. Stephens has been the point person for almost all BoardWalk Consulting’s work. She has deep experience placing former corporate leaders with a passion and personality suited for non-profits. Ms. Stephens has served local and national clients with a strong record of multiple assignments. She has also led CEO and executive director searches across a wide range of non-profits and developed an affinity for education and workforce development.

Non-Profit Search Firm

BoardWalk Consulting, a national search firm that specializes in recruiting CEOs and senior leaders for non-profits and foundations, has led upwards of 200 searches for over 110 clients in 27 states since its inception. The firm has completed several searches for Year Up, placing executive directors in locations across the country, including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami and Chicago. Other searches include CEOs for Gateway Center, Partners For Home, Goodwill of North Georgia, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Case Commons. The firm also helped find an executive director for the Jane Goodall Institute.


Non-Profit Sector Opens Up New Career Path for High Performing Leaders
One of the fastest growing sectors within executive search today can be found in non-profit. Close to 150 recruiting firms specialize in some form of talent acquisition in this sector, which includes foundations, cultural institutions and academia, to name a few.


We have been busy with several new and repeat clients coming in seeking new leadership,” said Ms. Stephens. “The strong economy and the stressed political environment seem to have combined to energize both donors and non-profits. As a result, they require best-in-class talent.”

“There is growing interest in recruiting leaders who have both corporate and non-profit experience,” she said. “Non-profits are looking for leaders who understand how to articulate a value proposition in a manner which effectively engages multiple audiences, and have demonstrated skills in dealing with diverse staff, constituents, clients and partners.”

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

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