BoardWalk Consulting Tapped to Find New Leaders for Year Up

October 30, 2017 – The non-profit sector has gained economic strength in recent years, making it the third largest employer in the country. Nearly two million not-for-profits employ 10.7 million people and produce $1.9 trillion in revenue. In the past decade, employment in the sector grew by 17 percent. With demand for non-profit talent at an all-time high, search firms have plenty of work looking for candidates.

Executive search firm BoardWalk Consulting, for one example, was recently retained by the non-profit Year Up to find new executive directors for its New York and Puget Sound locations.

Year Up is an award-winning, national group that helps guide 18- to 24-year-old 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.

New York

Year Up New York has numerous opportunities for new and expanding corporate partnerships, resources to fuel its growth and urban young adults to serve. The organization is seeking an executive director to effectively and rapidly scale its program.

The new leader will be charged with establishing Year Up as a preferred partner for entry- to mid-level talent in the New York metropolitan area and to expand its presence and the number of young adults served throughout the five boroughs, said BoardWalk Consulting. The incoming leader must be a values-driven, inspirational servant-leader with high emotional intelligence.


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The ideal candidate should have experience leading a multi-dimensional, growth-oriented organization, said the firm. The individual is expected to be committed to Year Up’s mission and excited to grow partnerships, relationships and revenue.

Director Crystal Stephens is leading the assignment for BoardWalk Consulting. She has led CEO and executive director searches across a wide range of non-profits and developed an affinity for education and workforce development. Ms. Stephens also has extensive experience placing former corporate leaders with the passion and personality suited for non-profits.

Puget Sound

Based in downtown Seattle, Year Up Puget Sound opened in 2010 and has grown to two locations. The executive director is expected to ensure that Year Up is an outstanding resource for underserved young adults, providing them access to education, professional skills, and hands-on experiences. According to BoardWalk Consulting, the group’s executive director must lead in articulating the value proposition to corporate partners and donors to develop and strengthen Year Up’s brand and reputation in the region. This individual should lead the team to accomplish quality execution and ambitious goals, bringing together local market expertise and national best practices.

The incoming leader must have a track record of driving organizational growth through strategic new market opportunities, expanding partnerships and increasing funds, said the search firm. In addition, the person should have experience leading in a dynamic, complex, results-driven matrix environment, leveraging and contributing to the national organization.

Joining Ms. Stephens in leading this search is director John Sparrow. He has 23 years’ experience in non-profit administration and performing arts venue management. Since joining BoardWalk, Mr. Sparrow has worked with a diverse range of clients including those serving the mentally and physically challenged, public media, public safety, childhood diseases, museums, youth empowerment, the environment and the pastoral and financial needs of people and institutional churches.


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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 (in progress), Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, and Case Commons, as well as searches for an executive director at Jane Goodall Institute.

This year has 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 Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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