Cooper Coleman Expands Search Staff

June 25, 2024 – Chicago-based Cooper Coleman LLC has expanded with the additions of Ben Bisbee and J. Michael Durnil as directors of executive search. “These new appointments come at a time of significant expansion for Cooper Coleman, reinforcing the firm’s commitment to driving meaningful growth and impact for non-profit organizations,” the search firm said. “Driven by their core values of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and social justice, Dr. Durnil and Mr. Bisbee are natural additions to our firm and will surely elevate our ability to expand our corporate philanthropy and higher education practices and serve our non-profit sector clients,” said Bill Coleman, principal and co-founder. “Michael’s academic background includes a post-doctoral certificate from Harvard University and a PhD in educational leadership + policy studies from Loyola University Chicago. He is a fellow of the American Council on Education and spent his residency year at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the United Nations. Michael and his husband, Lynn Burnside Smith, now call Greater Cincinnati home.”

“Welcoming Ben and Michael to our team is a boon to our firm in many ways,” said Johnny Cooper, co-founder and CEO. “The diversity of their backgrounds, lived experiences, and commitment to the nonprofit sector align perfectly with our mission and underscore our success and growth over the past few years. Our team of nine—and counting—is well-positioned to meet our clients’ increasing demand for exceptional leadership talent in the nonprofit sector. Cooper Coleman is poised to provide exceptional executive search services to drive meaningful impact for our clients.”

Mr. Bisbee joins Cooper Coleman with nearly 30 years of multi-sector leadership experience. He has built award-winning programs in volunteer management, community engagement, corporate social responsibility, JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion), and fundraising. Known for his approach and dedication to social good, Mr. Bisbee has worked with numerous prominent organizations, including the American Red Cross, Apple, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ronald McDonald House, AT&T, 4-H, and the United Nations, among many others.

In 2016, he founded a nonprofit consulting firm that helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for clients, engaged thousands of volunteers, and placed numerous talented employees across the sector. Mr. Bisbee identifies as a neurodivergent, queer, bi-racial cis man and is a proud member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

“I am thrilled to make such a significant pivot in how I serve the social sector as a professional,” said Mr. Bisbee. “I’m eager to bring my vast experience across the philanthropic landscape to bear in this new capacity, which I view and a scalable, systemic application of my skills and resources to many missions by identifying the leaders who will shape their future impact.”

Dr. Durnil brings over 30 years of experience in K-16 education, foundations, corporate philanthropy, and not-for-profit leadership to the Cooper Coleman team. He has a track record in systems integration, program expansion, board development, fundraising, and stakeholder engagement. Before joining Cooper Coleman, Dr. Durnil held numerous executive leadership positions, including executive director at Scripps National Spelling Bee, campus president for Roosevelt University in Schaumburg, IL, and interim president and senior vice president/chief operating officer at GLAAD.

Dr. Durnil background includes serving in roles as varied as board chair, trustee, CEO, chief administrative officer, campus president, CSAO, chief marketing officer, and arts commissioner. “His competencies uniquely intersect the organizational management of high-net-worth family philanthropy, place-based giving, corporate social responsibility, nonprofit operations, and educational institutions,” Cooper Coleman said.

Related: Cooper Coleman Names Chief Operating Officer

“This new dimension of my service to the social sector is a natural extension of all my experiences, personal and professional,” said Dr. Durnil. I am fortunate to have found a firm as values-aligned and committed to social impact as Cooper Coleman. I see this as a rich opportunity to engage and support my extensive networks of leaders in higher education institutions and social service organizations in ways that elevate their operational performance, cultural contexts, and expectations of search firms,” said Durnil.

Serving Non-Profits

Founded in 2020, Cooper Coleman is a full-service executive search and consulting firm partnering exclusively with non-profit organizations, foundations, and research and academic institutions to drive meaningful growth. Its team moves organizations forward by placing “the right leaders in the right roles at the right time” and helps to strengthen their management and fundraising capacity to amplify their mission and impact.

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Mr. Cooper has more than 16 years of leadership experience throughout the social sector. He partnered with his father-in-law, William B. Coleman, to establish Cooper Coleman as a firm that “prioritizes making the essential services of executive search accessible to organizations across the social sector, knowing the transformational impact having the right leaders in the right roles can have on an organization and its mission,” the firm said. Mr. Coleman has more than 25 years’ experience in retained executive search, including leading his own firm, Coleman Search Consulting LLC, for more than 10 years until its sale in 2018.

Mr. Coleman has worked with publicly and privately held corporations in the recruitment of C-level operating, finance, human resources, sales/marketing, supply chain, and technology executives. Prior to Cooper Coleman, he founded and led Coleman Search Consulting LLC, for more than 10 years before selling the firm.

Related: Cooper Coleman Expands Search Staff

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief and Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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