Bryant Group Seeks AVP of Outreach and Innovation for Western Michigan University

February 14, 2023 – Dallas-based executive search and talent development firm Bryant Group has been selected to recruit the first associate vice president of outreach and innovation for Western Michigan University (WMU). Sarah Hempen, vice president, search is spearheading the assignment.

“We are seeking a passionate, collaborative, and future-driven professional to help me lead WMU’s dynamic university advancement team to even greater success and are pleased to be partnering with Sarah Hempen and Bryant Group on this newly created position,” said Kristen DeVries, university advancement vice president and WMU Foundation executive director. “Kalamazoo is an inclusive and family-friendly community, and Bronco Nation will welcome you with open arms. There is tremendous potential to make a significant impact at an institution making it’s mark!”

The AVP will direct all aspects of Western Michigan University’s integrated alumni relations, communications, annual giving, and special events programs. The AVP is part of the vice president’s senior leadership team and is responsible for working closely with the central advancement staff, university leadership, deans, faculty, athletics, and other university units in articulating and implementing policy, plans, goals and activities related to alumni relations, community engagement and annual giving.

Key qualifications include:

  • Expertise in maximizing collaborative outcomes with alumni relations, volunteer relations, communications, annual giving, and special events strategies.
  • Strong leadership and management expertise. Experience working as part of a team while leading multiple, integrated teams is essential.
  • Experience in fund-development strategies and techniques and a complete understanding of the role of annual giving in a comprehensive development environment.
  • Knowledge of program and event strategy and implementation.
  • Extremely strong strategic thinking and planning skills with the ability to establish both short- and long-term strategies and plans for achieving divisional and university goals.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to be persuasive with a variety of constituents.
  • Ability to establish priorities, goals and timelines and lead team achievement of quantifiable outcomes.
  • High level and effective problem-solving and decision-making abilities.
  • Ethics and integrity in all activities inside and external to the university.
  • A bachelor’s degree is required with an advanced degree preferred.

Founded in 1903, WMU offers about 250 academic programs to more than 19,000 students pursuing degrees through the doctoral level. Graduate coursework includes disciplines that range from geosciences and atomic and nuclear physics to medieval literature and blind rehabilitation. Of the 114 graduate offerings available, 35 lead to a doctoral degree. Classified as a “high research activity” university by the Carnegie Foundation, WMU is ranked in the top 11 percent of all universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The university received a $550 million gift in 2021, the largest gift ever given to a public university in the U.S.

Related: Bryant Group Selected by Kansas Leadership Center for CEO Search

Finding Top Leadership

Bryant Group specializes in advancement, fundraising, and leadership for universities, hospitals, and other non-profits. Its services include recruiting, talent development, and leadership coaching. The organization’s higher education clients include Stanford University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, Baylor University, the University of New Mexico, and others. Its healthcare clients include UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, the Mayo Clinic in both Minnesota and Arizona, Henry Ford Health Systems, Betty Ford Center, to name just a few. Its other non-profit clients include the American Heart Association, March of Dimes in both California and New York, the J. Paul Getty Trust, and more.

Bryant Group Fills Top Marketing / Communications Post for University of Washington
Bryant Group has assisted in the recruitment of Jack Martin as vice president for marketing and communications at the University of Washington (UW). “I came to the search as an internal candidate and Bryant Group’s John Toolan provided vital guidance on how to present myself in a way that would allow the interviewers to see my full experience, not just the part of my career that has been at the UW,” said Mr. Martin. don’t know that I would have been successful in this search without his advice and counsel. Plus, he’s a delight to work with and kept me informed every step of the way.”

Bryant Group is led by president and CEO Sally Bryant. She joined the search firm in 2007 and brings 30 years of experience in advancement management, consulting and recruiting, as well as achievements from the corporate sales arena and success in other entrepreneurial activities.

Christopher P. Bryant, co-founder and advisor of the Bryant Group, is a leader in the recruitment of advancement, development, and fundraising professionals. In 1988, he helped start what the firm describes as the country’s first executive search firm to specialize exclusively in philanthropy recruitment. Bryant Group is the successor firm, established in 2002. Now under the leadership of Sally Bryant, the woman-owned firm focuses on advancing great leadership through executive search, leadership coaching and interim leadership services. Bryant Group has impacted more than 10,000 leaders and served more than 275 organizations.

Related: Bryant Group Seeks Two Key Development Leaders for Western Michigan University

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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