January 21, 2021 – Executive recruitment firm BoardWalk Consulting has been chosen to find a chief people officer for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Leading the search for this newly created position are Kathy Bremer, managing director, and Diane Westmore, senior associate. The CPO will be expected to build and lead a forward-looking, high-impact human resource function, said BoardWalk Consulting. The individual will report to the non-profit’s executive director, Kathleen Rest, and will be part of the management team which includes the president, chief development officer, director of communications, chief administrative and financial officer, and the director of organizational effectiveness.
The CPO will be based in Washington, D.C., as the senior-most management team member. He or she will manage a team that includes the HR director and two direct reports, a senior HR manager based in D.C. and an HR manager based at the organization’s headquarters in Cambridge, MA. The position will address all aspects of human capital strategy and operations including equity and inclusion, talent development, employee relations, culture-building, innovation, and alignment with UCS’ mission and direction, said the search firm. As a member of the management team and staff, the CPO will provide vision, HR expertise and leadership to foster a positive, fully-inclusive, high-achieving, equitable, anti-racist workplace.
Vision and Partnership
A broad, strategic, adaptive HR function is essential to UCS’ future. As UCS has grown in size and complexity, its business process and talent needs have evolved, said BoardWalk Consulting. The sheer diversity of staff perspectives, expectations, and skill-sets has increased. The CPO will lead and enhance an HR team that has established strong, essential HR processes, systems and functions that have served the organization well in the past.
The CPO is charged with injecting vision, creativity and partnership with staff and management as the organization pursues purposeful and equitable change processes, said the search firm. He or she will be expected to be welcoming to union representation and will oversee implementation of the collective bargaining agreement with union employees. The individual will establish processes and communications that are anti-racist and engender trust, transparency, and inclusion for all employees.
The ideal candidate will be an experienced HR leader in contexts where racial equity, transformation, and accountability are essential, said BoardWalk Consulting. The CPO must have an advanced management degree, proven HR leadership and organizational development expertise.
Fostering an Engaged Culture
The CPO will be expected to value UCS’s science-based advocacy mission and understand what makes UCS different from other organizations and will be or become familiar with UCS’ scientist, organizer, legislative and other roles. The individual must have experience working well with unions, fostering an engaged and positive culture, and advancing anti-racism.
Assets being sought include vision and charisma that inspire staff to come together to build a stronger UCS; strong personal racial equity experience and competency; a record of advancing best practices, values, policies and procedures that center equity in all forms and prioritize the wellbeing of employees; authenticity, trustworthiness, self -confidence and humility; and excellent interpersonal, listening, and conflict resolution skills.
The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonpartisan 501 (C) (3) organization, addresses the greatest threats to human survival: climate change and nuclear weapons. Founded 50 years ago by scientists at MIT, UCS combines science and advocacy to tackle the planet’s most urgent problems, fostering solutions that impact countless lives, communities, policies, and outcomes. The organization has a staff of about 230 and an annual budget of $41 million. The organization benefits from the generosity of more than 130,000 members, and foundations. Over 70 percent of support comes from individual donors and 87 percent of funding goes to program work. UCS does not accept government or corporate funding.
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.
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Ms. Bremer joined BoardWalk Consulting in 2007 after eight years as head of Porter Novelli Atlanta. Prior to that, she served as senior vice president of fundraising and marketing for CARE. Earlier in her career, Ms. Bremer was a senior executive at three New York ad agencies, where she led Procter & Gamble and other client work. Prior to these roles, she worked as a journalist and writer in Tokyo. She has led numerous executive searches for clients including ADL, Heifer, Save the Children, CDC Foundation, Oxfam, HIAS, Research!America, Jane Goodall Institute, TSNE MissionWorks, The Trustees and many others.
Ms. Westmore has over 30 years of search experience recruiting president/CEO, vice president and senior-level executives spanning all functional areas. She joined BoardWalk after 12 years at Spencer Stuart, where she partnered with a broad range of consultants working across multiple practices. Before that, she spent 15 years at Bowman & Associates, a boutique search firm specializing in venture-funded medical technology companies, leaving as a vice president. She began her career at La Crosse Lutheran Hospital/Gunderson Clinic in marketing.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media