September 7, 2023 – Executive recruitment firm BoardWalk Consulting has placed Warwick Sabin as the inaugural president and chief executive officer of Deep South Today, a networked hub of non-profit newsrooms. Founding director Sam Pettway and directors Cynthia Moreland and Michelle Hall led the assignment.
Mr. Sabin, who most recently served as chief strategy officer at Interfaith America, a non-profit that celebrates the potential of religious diversity, was selected after a seven-month national search that attracted more than 100 candidates. He is a former three-term Arkansas state representative, having served from 2013 to 2019.
Deep South Today’s new leader will oversee finance, communications, business development, platforms and technology, and human resources. He will be responsible for advancing the networked approach as a sustainable, high-functioning model.
Mr. Sabin was previously publisher of the Oxford American, a national magazine that focuses on the American South. Earlier in his career, he was founding leader of the Innovation Hub in Little Rock, AR which later became part of Winrock International, one of three institutions created to sustain the legacy of Arkansas governor Winthrop Rockefeller. More recently, Mr. Sabin served for four years as executive director of strategic engagement at the Aspen Institute.
The Right Leader
“I am honored, grateful and energized to take on this role, in this region, at this time,” said Mr. Sabin. “Like the rest of the country, the Deep South is in need of high-quality, accountability journalism, and the teams at Mississippi Today and Verite are serving their communities by providing local news and honest information. I relish the opportunity to collaborate with our talented team to sustain and expand this work across the region.”
“I’m thrilled for what Warwick’s appointment means for our newsrooms and for journalism in this part of the country,” said Donna K. Barksdale, former chair of Mississippi Today and current vice chair of Deep South Today. “We are poised to grow, and Warwick is just the right leader to guide our team into this exciting future.”
Launched in 2016, Deep South Today aims to solve the challenges facing local news through a networked hub of non-profit newsrooms serving what it calls “the most challenged region in the U.S.” The vision of Deep South Today is to create an infrastructure for impact-driven newsrooms that allows local players to focus on audience and editorial while receiving support in finance, administration and fundraising from a centralized hub. Deep South Today currently has two newsrooms in its network: Mississippi Today and Verite, in New Orleans, LA. In May, Mississippi Today won the Pulitzer Prize for its investigative series on Mississippi’s sprawling $77 million welfare scandal.
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.
BoardWalk Consulting Recruits CEO for The Asia Foundation
BoardWalk Consulting has assisted in the recruitment of Laurel E. Miller as president and CEO of The Asia Foundation. She succeeded David D. Arnold, who is retiring after 12 years of leading the international development non-profit during a period of profound change across Asia and the Pacific. A large initial prospect pool was narrowed by stages to a group of finalists who interviewed with the board’s search committee and select staff across the foundation. “We are thrilled to introduce a leader of Laurel’s caliber to guide the organization into its next stage of growth and impact,” said Tim Kochis, chairman of The Asia Foundation board of trustees.
BoardWalk Consulting was founded by Mr. Pettway, a 30-year search veteran. 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, Mr. Pettway has served clients as varied as international relief agencies, national foundations, regional trade associations, and local agencies in dozens of markets.
Ms. Moreland is an experienced non-profit leader with more than two decades of non-profit leadership experience. She has been executive director of four non-profits in her native Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. Collectively, these organizations addressed issues of child and family welfare, community development, educational access, and youth development. Ms. Moreland’s clients at BoardWalk include global non-profit organizations like Food for the Hungry and the Asian & Pacific Islander Health Forum.
Ms. Hall is focused on finding leaders who are a fit for the organization so they can make a difference on day one. Prior to joining BoardWalk, she served for 11 years as vice president and dean at Oglethorpe University where she directed a large staff in support of a growing university that has earned numerous accolades for its academics and support of a diverse student body, community service, and first generation students.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media