December 1, 2021 – Executive recruitment firm BoardWalk Consulting has been enlisted to find the next president and chief executive officer of The Leadership Conference on
Civil and Human Rights in Washington, D.C. Senior director Crystal Stephens, director of research Patti Kish and senior research associate Lysondra Somerville are leading the assignment. “The next president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, building on legacies of visionary achievement, must be a voice for our core values of justice, inclusion and fairness for all; a deft advocate; a strategic innovator; and a mobilizer of top-notch staff, partners in movement organizations, allies in government and potential private sector supporters,” said BoardWalk Consulting.
The non-profit’s next leader will face a civil and human rights environment presenting both extreme challenges and historic opportunities. “In addition, the coalition is expanding, and the needs of members are dynamic and often nuanced,” said the search firm. “In what has been a challenging time for civil and human rights, The Leadership Conference has helped secure victories to protect civil rights and our democracy.”
The president and CEO will be a leading voice for civil rights and an accomplished advocate, visionary, strategist, who is able to identify, represent and advance issues on behalf of the coalition, said BoardWalk Consulting. With a deep knowledge of civil and human rights issues, the president and CEO must be able to quickly distinguish those issues that affect the broader coalition, galvanize support, and oversee the development and execution of measurable means of legislative, policy and regulatory progress.
A Change Agent
Among other responsibilities, he or she will be an influential change agent and spokesperson. The president and CEO will have the confidence and competence to leverage and challenge the current Administration to ensure meaningful civil and human rights progress. This person will have the insight to seek bi-partisanship and the determination and clarity on how to proceed without it when progress is required and bi-partisanship is not feasible.
The ideal candidate will be a respected leader with extensive relevant experience and demonstrated passion for civil and human rights, said the search firm.
The right candidate will have a sophisticated, nuanced sense of prevailing issues, the changing dynamics of the movement, and historical civil rights issues and alliances. He or she should be: a visionary, who can imagine a future that is not yet realized; a skilled communicator; and an experienced fundraiser. The ability to garner and inspire trust, build consensus, unify and lead is essential.
Superior intellect, unassailable integrity, emotional intelligence and nimbleness are also critical, said the search firm. The Leadership Conference wants its next leader to be a quick learner, with depth and sophistication on a wide range of issues
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the U.S. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals. The Leadership Conference is a 501(c)(4) organization that engages in legislative advocacy. It was founded in 1950 and has coordinated national lobbying efforts on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.
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.
Ms. Stephens joined BoardWalk in 2012 after extensive experience working with top-tier organizations in sales, marketing and recruiting. She spent most of her corporate career with IBM in senior sales and marketing positions. As executive vice president at Monster.com, she managed a global sales team. Ms. Stephens has led mission-critical searches for clients such as Year Up, Communities in Schools and the Anti-Defamation League.
Ms. Kish works closely with search consultants to develop and implement research strategies and proactively recruit senior level executives into non-profit leadership roles. Prior to joining BoardWalk Consulting in 2015, she led full life cycle talent acquisition for a national search firm that specialized in C-suite executive search for consumer products organizations. She began her career with EDS (now HP) where she spent several years managing the entire talent acquisition organization for the southeast region. A career recruiter, Ms. Kish has placed CEOs, presidents, executive directors and CFOs for organizations with national and global impact.
Ms. Somerville has worked as a corporate consultant, product manager and marketing expert. She brings a decade’s worth of experience in various business, marketing and management roles. Ms. Somerville is an accomplished corporate strategist with a deep understanding of organizational management and operational effectiveness.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media