Diversified Search Leading CEO Search for Martha’s Table

November 28, 2018 – Martha’s Table, a food access and education not-for-profit, has enlisted Diversified Search to find its next president and CEO.

Leading the national search are Dale E. Jones, president and CEO; J. Veronica Biggins, managing partner; Jason D. León, managing director; and Jeannine Sommer, vice president and senior associate.

The Washington, D.C.-based charity’s current leader, Patty Stonesifer, recently announced that she plans to retire next summer after six years in the role.

The position description, including ideal candidate characteristics and competencies, was developed with input from Martha’s Table staff, partners and members of the board. “We are enthusiastic to begin this search for our new CEO, who will lead efforts as we enter the next chapter in our place-based work,” said Ellis Carr, board chair of Martha’s Table.

The non-profit’s president and CEO will be expected to create authentic and valuable community connections and co-ownership of the work, while exploring and considering a wide range of what other research and organizations might teach Martha’s Table about success, said Diversified Search. The new leader must also be prepared to lead the organization’s efforts in acknowledging and addressing the historic inequities based on race and privilege in our country, especially in Southeast Washington, and in all the wide range of systems and communications (including the systems and communications in its own organization) that affect the equal access to opportunity that Martha’s Table values.

Required Skills  

The president and CEO will be charged with leveraging his or her experience in strategic planning to help to chart the critical path to success over the next five years for the organization’s new, place-based commitment to the Fort Stanton/Hillsdale neighborhood, said the search firm. The next president/CEO must be an enthusiastic fundraiser and reputation builder, working with donors from all sectors (individual, government, corporate, foundations) and a wide range of media and communicators.

While relying heavily on the senior leadership team, the next leader must also be a capable administrator and problem solver, with demonstrated leadership experience, excellent organizational skills, financial acumen and proven success in building world class leaders and managing a strong, diverse team within a complex organization.


Dale E. Jones serves as president and CEO of Diversified Search. His responsibilities include oversight and management of the firm and its global CEO advisory services. Before joining in 2013, Mr. Jones served as vice chairman of Heidrick & Struggles. His philosophy on great leadership is simple: “It is important that leaders have the ability to inspire and motivate people and to lead by example. I think the best leaders have been through some testing in their journey, so that they can really empathize, not only with the people that they lead, but with their customers.”


Responsibilities of the role include working with the board to set direction for Martha’s Table and in partnership lead staff, volunteers, clients, donors and other partners and stakeholders in carrying out that direction; serving as the external leader and representative of the organization, promoting its mission to a wide range of stakeholders and constituencies, including donors, volunteers, governmental entities, media, other non-profits and community members; and serving as the group’s internal leader, both in setting the tone for culture, advancing racial equity inside the organization, directly supervising the senior management team and leading the entire staff in carrying out its mission.

Martha’s Table wants a mission-driven and strategic visionary with a demonstrated track record of commitment to community engagement and development with a passion for equity and inclusive growth, said Diversified Search. The successful candidate will be someone who advocates for and institutionalizes inclusion, diversity and racial equity throughout the organization and community. The individual must also work effectively with people of different backgrounds, abilities, opinions and perceptions. Also required is experience as a leader with strong business acumen, future-orientation and executive leadership in fluctuating external environments.

Leadership Abilities

Candidates should be able to lead through influence and facilitation, respecting the unique knowledge of others while driving solutions that best serve the organization, said the search firm. Prospects must also have a record of establishing clear goals and guiding an organization to achieve them. The right person will have demonstrated an inspiring, collaborative leadership style that is essential for success at Martha’s Table. He or she should have experience identifying, hiring, developing and retaining great people with a strong commitment to team development, among other capabilities.

Martha’s Table, which started in 1980, works to support children, families and communities by increasing access to quality education programs, healthy food and family supports. In 2017, the organization served over 1.95 million meals to D.C. residents and provided high-quality, nationally accredited early childhood education and out-of-school time programs for young children. The non-profit has a 2018 budget of just over $12 million and a staff of 110 full and part-time employees. It has a leadership team of over 20 individuals, but with just four executive direct reports to the CEO: chief administrative officer, chief program officer, director of development and director of strategic communications (currently open).

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Diversified Search is the largest U.S. female owned and founded firm in the executive recruitment industry. It has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Diversified is the U.S. partner of AltoPartners, an international alliance of 58 independent executive search firms that spans 35 countries across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

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

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