Bridge Partners Places Head of Global Talent at Acumen

May 9, 2018 – Recruitment firm Bridge Partners has placed HR veteran Anna Stillwell as head of global talent at Acumen, a New York City-headquartered non-profit impact investment fund. Partner and co-founder Tory Clarke led the search.

Ms. Stillwell joined Acumen from the Wikimedia Foundation, where she was a leader in talent and culture. In that role, she played a crucial part in recruiting executives, members of the endowment board and members of the board of trustees, as well as helping engineer a successful reorganization of product and technology, and leading a cultural turnaround after a difficult leadership transition.

Before the Wikimedia Foundation, Ms. Stillwell built strategies and led performance transformations for senior leaders of Fortune 100 companies, sovereign wealth funds, small governments and start-ups. In the decade prior, she worked as a psychologist in private practice.

Veteran Recruiters

Based in New York, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Boston, Bridge Partners focuses on senior-level diversity recruiting. Its clients include major corporations, non-profits, public sector, and entrepreneurial organizations across the U.S. and globally. The firm’s search capabilities span a broad base of industries and functions, for organizations ranging from multinational corporations to the public sector and academia.

Bridge Partners has both an international non-profit and a global for-profit practice. Its not-for-profit clients include Acumen, Global Resilience Partnership, Habitat for Humanity, Encore, Relief International and Digital Green. Among its for-profit clients are GE, Starbucks, McKesson and Novartis, and others.

Ms. Clarke supports senior global search assignments for private sector, public sector and international non-profit/social venture clients, across all functions. A 20-year veteran of the executive search industry, she has recruited diverse executives, including CEO/presidents and their leadership teams, at both head office and regional locations around the globe.

Before starting Bridge Partners in 2003, Ms. Clarke was a consultant in Whitehead Mann’s U.S. retail and diversity practices, joining its New York office in 2000. Prior to her move to the U.S., she spent several years with Whitehead Mann’s European consumer practice, headquartered in London. Earlier in her career, Ms. Clarke was with STCP, a boutique London-based search firm, working across a variety of sectors including consumer, pharmaceutical and industrial.

Ms. Clarke recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the search and the expanding role of global talent leaders.


Tory ClarkeTory, what type of leader was Acumen looking for?

We have worked for Acumen for five years and have recruited a number of their senior leadership team – critical to success in the organization is a deep commitment to the mission. Acumen is an incredible non-profit that tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas that enable the poor to transform their lives. Founded in 2001, Acumen has invested over $100 million in 96 countries across Africa, Latin America, South Asia and the United States. The global head of talent sits at the center of that global activity. First and foremost they sought someone with a passion for building great organizations and cultures, someone with a high level of global cultural competence, and the ability to be effective in a fast-changing, innovative environment.

What made Anna the best fit?

Anna brings a real passion for the work that Acumen does. She trained as a psychologist and worked in private practice earlier in her career and has lived and worked on four continents. Immediately prior to joining Acumen, she spent four years with the Wikimedia Foundation, where she led a cultural turnaround after a difficult leadership transition. She is a problem-solver, a great communicator and change-agent, with the ability to look at challenges through both a mission and business lens.

“Specifically in the international development and domestic non-profit space we are seeing a desire for leaders with change management experience.”

What does her new role entail?

Anna is responsible for all aspects of human resources and talent on a global basis, with a particular focus on coaching both experienced and emerging leaders, as well as advising the global leadership team on building and scaling the global Acumen organization.

Can you give us an overview of the role of today’s head of global talent? Is the role expanding? Are these leaders in high demand?

Specifically in the international development and domestic non-profit space we are seeing a desire for leaders with change management experience. Many of our clients are at points of transition – growth stage innovators, new funders, chapters of growth, new CEOs, etc., and they are seeking talent leaders who, in addition to managing the operation aspects of the HR function, can support the holistic development of the organization, be it international or regionally focused in the U.S. Leaders who can bring a balance of pragmatism and strategy, mission and business and can hold a seat at the leadership table are in very high demand.

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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