Greenwood /Asher & Associates Tapped by State Universities Retirement System of Illinois to Recruit Chief Diversity Officer

October 19, 2020 – Greenwood /Asher & Associates, a Miramar Beach, FL-based executive recruitment firm, has been selected by the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois to find its first chief diversity officer. The assignment is being led by Marion Frenche, team leader and managing consultant, practice leader for diversity, equity and inclusion, and  Julie Holley, senior executive search consultant.

“SURS has a long-standing commitment to diversity both within our workforce and our emerging manager investment programs,” said Martin Noven, executive director. “The addition of a chief diversity officer will advance our efforts to create awareness and belonging among staff and develop important relationships with key leaders, communities and organizations, and build upon our existing money manager diversity program.”

2020 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Recruiting Report:
Building a Balanced and Diverse Workforce

Hunt Scanlon Media’s latest market intelligence recruiting report – this time focused on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion – will be available later this fall! The nation’s top executive recruiters are resetting expectations and looking for new ways forward to build balanced and diverse workforce teams for their clients.

According to executive recruiters, DE&I should not just be a priority, but an integrated part of every company’s leadership goals. Some companies have even tied DE&I metrics to executive compensation. But it’s more than that.

Part of building strong, diverse hiring teams means asking yourself: “Who is my company culture going to attract – and how will it engage people who are here?” This question can be very difficult to answer if you assume everyone feels welcome already just because you do. Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations is more than just the right ethical decision. “It is one of the best business decisions a company can make,” said Keri Gavin, a partner with Hanold Associates and leader of the search firm’s Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion practice. Hanold Associates is a proud sponsor of this year’s report. This report will help organizations prioritize DE&I as a business imperative that drives greater competitiveness, innovation and business results. Get it now! 

The CDO, under the direction of the executive director, will be expected to create a diversity subcontracting policy to ensure the engagement of minority-owned money managers as well as other contractors by SURS, said Greenwood /Asher & Associates. The individual will also be charged with supporting the organization through the development, implementation and coordination of efforts to foster an inclusive environment.

SURS’ CDO must also help develop and support a strategy that will lead to a comprehensive and actionable system-wide diversity strategy that builds upon the organization’s ability to attract, respect, support and celebrate diversity in all forms, said the search firm.

Key Requirements

The ideal candidate should have a keen understanding of the investment industry and experience in procurement. Candidates with a background in industrial-organizational psychology are also welcome.

Greenwood /Asher said that candidates should have a track record of success coordinating and/or leading a broad range of diversity initiatives to include contracting and subcontracting with historically underrepresented groups; recruitment of diverse financial service providers; developing training and performance measurement systems; strategic thought leadership; and an understanding of how to engage and build productive relationships.

The ideal candidate should have a bachelor’s degree and demonstrate progressive administrative responsibilities throughout their career. Preference will be given to those candidates who possess an advanced degree.

“We are interested in hiring a CDO who will work well with our staff long-term, who understands and has a genuine passion for fostering diversity, equity, respect and inclusion,” said Mr. Noven. “We understand we have to put in the time to build an ongoing system-wide program that inspires transformation and real behavior change. We’re willing to make that commitment, and we’re looking for the right person to work with us.”

Related: WittKieffer Assists UConn in Landing New Chief Diversity Officer

SURS, which is based in Champaign, IL, is one of five state-funded retirement systems that provide retirement, survivor, death and disability benefits on behalf of more than 230,000 members from 61 employers in Illinois, including state universities, community colleges and state agencies. SURS administers benefits and oversees a large investment program with assets of about $20.7 billion.

A Women-Owned Search Firm

Greenwood / Asher & Associates is a women-owned executive search firm with a diverse consulting team and extensive experience in executive search, consulting and training for education markets including elementary, secondary, higher education, university systems, campuses and non-profit organizations including associations, service and cultural institutions. The firm is led by partner and president Jan Greenwood and partner and executive vice president Ms. Asher.

Greenwood /Asher & Associates Seeks Next President for Western Illinois University
Greenwood /Asher & Associates has been selected to find the next president for Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. “The president will be responsible for developing a vision for the university that includes open, transparent and inclusive strategies for response to contemporary challenges facing WIU within the framework of evolving national trends in higher education,” said Greenwood/ Asher & Associates.

Ms. Frenche has worked in executive search since 1997, and has managed searches with three international executive search firms. She joined the firm as its first team member when the firm was founded in 2004. In her executive search career, Ms. Frenche has completed over 300 searches for executives in higher education, K-12, health care, academic medicine and information technology. These positions have been in public and private higher education institutions and system offices, K-12 schools and systems, academic health and healthcare organizations and non-profits. She also has considerable search experience serving mission-driven organizations such as associations and foundations and in higher education board development.

Ms. Holley brings a broad knowledge of education and non-profits and of all aspects of search processes to her assignments. In her search work, she puts particular emphasis on identifying and recruiting world-class leaders for presidential searches and the nuances of referencing these leaders. Ms. Holley has completed hundreds of searches, many at the president level. While she has conducted searches in the full range of higher education organizations, she particularly focuses on searches at AAU and high extensive research and doctoral institutions. She has a track record of recruiting world-renowned leaders into positions of president, chancellor, provost and dean. She also has extensive experience conducting searches for cabinet level positions. Ms. Holley specializes in searches for positions relating to her legal background, including law dean and general counsel positions and other legal-related positions in higher education. Another area of specialization is positions relating to internationalization and global affairs.

Related: Harvard University Lands First Diversity & Inclusion Officer with Assistance from Search Firm

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

Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments