September 7, 2022 – Diversified Search Group (DSG), a leading search firm backed by private equity firm ShoreView Industries, has been retained by the State University of New York (SUNY) to spearhead its search for a vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer. Euris Belle, managing director and Nancy Helfman, senior associate, are leading the assignment.
The firm seeks a strategic, visionary, and collaborative leader to serve as vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer for the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the U.S. Reporting directly to the chancellor and serving on the chancellor’s leadership team, the VC/CDO will oversee the operation and management of the office of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The VC/CDO will be responsible for all aspects of promoting and advancing the system’s diversity goals, creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, and assuring all campuses have resources, training, and support responsive to their unique requirements and consistent with overall SUNY practices and goals.
Diversified Search Group is looking for candidates with a track record of dedication to diversity and the ability to promote, support, and achieve the various tenets of SUNY’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They should have proven results in fostering an inclusive and diverse environment. In addition, prospects should be strategic facilitators with a demonstrated ability to mobilize, connect with various constituent groups, and think creatively across boundaries. Knowledge of emerging national and global diversity, equity, and inclusion trends is essential.
SUNY aspires to be the most inclusive state university system in the country. In support of this, SUNY created a systemwide Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in 2007. The board of trustees passed a sweeping diversity, equity, and inclusion policy in 2015 and endorsed the chancellor’s diversity, equity, and inclusion action plan in 2021. All SUNY institutions and system administration have developed strategic diversity and inclusion action plans that tangibly demonstrate SUNY’s commitment to the principles of inclusion, wherein an institution only achieves excellence when it is inclusive. SUNY identifies diversity, equity, and inclusion as essential aspects of system and campus planning and as indispensable characteristics of academic excellence and the ongoing experience of every member of the SUNY community.
SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures systemwide were more than $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021. There are more than 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum.
Diversified Search Group is a family of recruiting firms serving specialized sectors. The firm was founded almost five decades ago by Judith M. von Seldeneck for the express purpose of placing diverse candidates in client organizations. It is today the largest U.S. female-owned and founded firm in the executive recruitment industry. It is comprised of a combination of specialty practices with deep industry expertise under industry recognized brands, including Alta Associates, BioQuest, Koya Partners, Grant Cooper, and Storbeck Search.
Ms. Belle partners with corporate clients in the areas of diversity recruitment, on-boarding, and retention of senior management and emerging leaders. Her search experience spans multiple functional disciplines and she has successfully assisted her clients in developing diverse candidate pools for various positions including finance, human resources, legal, information technology, and DEI practitioners.
Additionally, she has conducted senior-level searches for public and private colleges and universities (both majority institutions and HBCUs), foundations, and a wide range of not-for-profit organizations. Among her placements are presidents, provosts, chief academic officers, chief information officers, and deans of colleges and universities, as well as CEOs, presidents, and executive directors of non-profit organizations.
Ms. Helfman is a vice president and senior search associate in Diversified Search Group’s education, non-profit, and arts and culture practice. A seasoned executive search consultant, she works primarily on senior-level searches in higher education for academic leaders with a focus on presidents, provosts, and deans, as well as administrative leaders including CFOs, CHROs, and VPs for student affairs. Ms. Helfman also works on leadership searches for independent schools and a variety of non-profit organizations.
Her representative clients include Florida International University, George Washington University, Villanova University, Columbia University, Northeastern University, Hampshire College, University of Nebraska, University of Oregon, Germantown Friends School, and a variety of faith-based institutions. She has expertise in developing and executing search strategies, sourcing, screening, referencing, and facilitating the search process.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media