Diversified Search Group | Koya Partners Tapped by United Way to Lead CFO Search

Peter Gillin and Chartise Clark are spearheading the search firm’s efforts to find the next top financial leader for the renowned non-profit. This executive will play a critical role in providing both financial and strategic support to the organization’s CEO and board.

October 18, 2022 – Diversified Search Group | Koya Partners has been enlisted by United Way Worldwide to lead its search for a new chief financial officer. Peter Gillin and Chartise Clark are leading the assignment for the recruitment firm.

Reporting to the president and CEO, the CFO will play a critical role in the development and implementation of the financial systems and strategies of United Way As a member of the senior leadership team, the CFO will provide financial and strategic support to the CEO and board of directors to support United Way’s long-term growth and financial viability.

According to the search firm, the CFO will be a strategic, tactical, and visionary finance leader with the ability to dive into the details while staying focused on the overall financial health and strategic vision of the organization. This leader will have proven experience in leading strategic financial forecasting, accounting, compliance, and risk management of a complex organization with multiple funding sources. The CFO will bring an ability to conceptualize and analyze problems, ultimately driving solutions and external partnerships that will support organizational growth, strategy, and effectiveness, in partnership with the CEO. Most importantly, the CFO will be known for strong quantitative and analytical skills, outstanding oral and written communication skills, and will be comfortable presenting financial information to the leadership team and board of directors.

The CFO must have a successful track record of building and leading a financial department within an evolving organization to deliver on a strategic vision. The ideal candidate will be equipped with the relational, collaborative approach necessary to foster best-in-class practices productively with colleagues. Moreover, the CFO will bring character and adaptability to their work, with an ability to navigate change with poise and focus.

With global reach and local impact, United Way helps some 48 million people annually. The organization is the world’s largest privately funded non-profit, working in 95 percent of U.S. communities and 40 countries and territories. United Way has 2.5 million volunteers, 7.7 million donors and 45,000 corporate partners. It is headquartered in Alexandrea, VA.

Last year, Diversified Search Group | Koya Partners placed Angela Williams as CEO of United Way Worldwide. She is the first woman and the first African American person in the organization’s 135-year history to lead United Way Worldwide. Alison Ranney, who heads the search firm’s Chicago office, led the assignment along with then-CEO Dale Jones. “Angela is an example of a globally-minded leader with a deep commitment to equity and inclusion,” said Mr. Jones. “We are delighted to see her step into this role as the first black woman to lead United Way Worldwide.” 

Related: Diversified Search Group | Koya Partners Recruits First Woman and Black CEO for United Way Worldwide 

“It is exciting to see Angela Williams, who is an accomplished CEO as well as the first woman and first African American leader, as the unanimous choice after a robust global search,” Ms. Ranney said. “The CEO search committee was impressed by her strategic acumen, innovative thinking and purpose-driven mindset, which they believed will offer a fresh perspective in reimagining United Way and ensuring that the United Way remains relevant and impactful for years to come.”

Combined Resources

Diversified Search Group is a family of firms serving specialized sectors. The firm was founded almost five decades ago for the express purpose of placing diverse candidates in client organizations. Koya Partners is a part of the Diversified Search Group and is dedicated to mission-driven leadership. Koya works broadly at the senior-most levels of the mission-driven field in philanthropy, social services, arts and culture, and social justice, among others.

In 2019, Koya was acquired by Diversified Search. With the combination of revenues and resources, Diversified Search and Koya now represent one of the largest non-profit and higher education practices in the executive search industry.

Mr. Gillin is a managing director in the education, non-profit, and arts and culture practice, specializing in secondary education. He has spent his entire career in education, as a teacher, coach, administrator, and now as a search executive identifying and placing professionals in key education leadership roles.

Ms. Clark, vice president, partners with a variety of mission-driven clients nationally and globally to recruit exceptional talent. She also specializes in helping clients navigate issues related to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. She has played a leading role in identifying and recruiting leaders to CEO, president, executive director, and other senior leadership positions for a broad range of clients. She has experience in human and social services, youth development, advocacy, and organizations with a global presence. Representative clients include the Southern Poverty Law Center, Feeding America, the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, RefuSHE, StriveTogether, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

CFOs for Non-Profits

For corporate finance executives who want to de-stress their lives, moving into the non-profit world is one obvious avenue. But a new report by professional services firm BDO USA pointed out that some of the issues they would face there might remind them of their for-profit jobs. For one, their fellow C-suiters may not fully appreciate some of the challenges non-profit CFOs face. Individuals in this role are much more attuned to the difficulty of dealing with regulatory and legislative changes.

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Like their for-profit counterparts, non-profit CFOs have also been tasked with assessing the impact of the new tax-reform law, implementing the necessary changes and determining the most beneficial tax strategies going forward. They were also involved in implementing accounting changes for revenue recognition and leasing arrangements. Finally, the CFOs were somewhat less concerned about cybersecurity than were the others. Exactly half of the former respondents, but 57 percent of the latter, said it’s a high or moderate challenge for non-profits’ boards.

BDO appeared to lightly criticize the finance chiefs for not taking cybersecurity seriously enough, saying that “CFOs could be overlooking tech-related challenges.”

“While information technology is often not under [non-profit] CFOs’ immediate responsibilities,” BDO said in its survey report, “the security of financial technology systems — including donor databases — is a crucial element of a non-profit’s overall cyber hygiene.

“Anecdotally, protecting organizations from cyber threats is consistently on board agendas,” the report said. “A CFO’s role might primarily live within the organization’s finance arm, but as veterans of the non-profit space know well, an effective leader in the dynamic non-profit world is a jack of all trades.”

Related: The Decade Ahead for Non-Profits: Great Pressure, Transformation and Big Impact on Talent

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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