He succeeds Martin D. Schwartz, who announced his retirement in July after almost 40 years with the organization. DRG managing partner David Hinsley Cheng led the assignment.
The national search was a joint effort between the recruiting firm and a subcommittee of eight Kennedy Center board members, chaired by vice chair Brian Csizmadia of Trumbull and co-chaired by Peter Gavey.
Michele Macauda, chairman of the Kennedy Center’s board of directors, said Mr. Sebastian was an ideal choice for the job. “With over 200 resume submissions, Richard Sebastian was chosen because he has the credentials to create growth and sustainability for the agency, embodies the persona of our leadership and embraces the values that have been the foundation of the Kennedy Center since its grassroots beginnings.”
The Right Match
Mr. Sebastian has more than 30 years’ experience in the developmental disabilities sector. He previously served as president and CEO of Didlake, a multistate organization based in Virginia serving more than 2,100 people with disabilities. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of Human Technologies Corp., a New York-based organization that serves 2,500 people with disabilities and behavioral health needs.
“I am humbled and eager to join the Kennedy Center Team,” said Mr. Sebastian. “I am inspired by the work to celebrate potential for all people as we continue to build upon the legacy of creating opportunity and empowering individuals and their families to lead fulfilled lives.”
The Kennedy Center, founded in 1951, is an internationally accredited, non-profit, community-based rehabilitation organization that annually serves over 2,000 individuals. The agency offers innovative, comprehensive service options to persons with disabilities and special needs, from birth to senior years.
DRG Executive Search specializes in recruiting for the non-profit sector. Founded in 1987, the firm is led by president David Edel. It has conducted searches for senior executives at many of the major national charity groups, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Hillel International, Birthright Israel, NEXT and the Jewish Funders Network.
Mr. Hinsley Cheng has worked closely with over 100 boards, professionals, search committees and human resource managers. While he has diverse experience across all areas of the non-profit sector, including human services, associations and advocacy organizations, his practice centers on working with the boards of high-profile voluntary health organizations and hospital foundations.
Among the recent searches Mr. Hinsley Cheng has led are chief positions at Autism Speaks, American Parkinson’s Disease Association, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Michael Reese Health Trust, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Hebrew SeniorLife, Legal Services-NYC, American Institute for Economic Research and American Youth Soccer Organization.
The non-profit sector has gained economic strength in recent years, making it the third largest employer in the country. Nearly two million not-for-profits employ 10.7 million people and produce $1.9 trillion in revenue. In the past decade, employment in the sector has grown by 17 percent. With demand for non-profit talent at an all-time high, search firms have no shortage of work looking for candidates.
Here’s a sampling of recent search work for top non-profits from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
BoardWalk Consulting helped in the placement of Jennifer Blatz as president and CEO of StriveTogether, a national non-profit working to improve education for children. The search was conducted by an eight-person search committee of StriveTogether board members, long-time investors, executive directors of two local partnerships as well as BoardWalk Consulting.
Diversified Search has recruited Freda Fung as East Asia president of Special Olympics, the largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities. She takes over from Mary Gu Shuhang. Jason León, managing director in the recruiter’s Washington, D.C. office, led the assignment.
Human Capital Consultants places John W. Sigmon as new CHRO of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. The Washington, D.C.-based search firm completed the engagement in under two months. As one of the largest not-for-profit organizations in the Washington, D.C., area, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation employs more than 2,200 individuals across the U.S.
Easterseals has selected Angela F. Williams as its new president and CEO. Non-profit recruiting specialists Koya Leadership Partners conducted the search. Easterseals is the country’s leading non-profit provider of services for people with disabilities, including veterans and their families.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media