November 8, 2021 – U SPORTS, a national brand for university sport in Canada, has retained Toronto-based executive recruitment firm Griffith Group to lead its search for a new chief executive officer. Jane Griffith, managing partner and founder, and Sam Walton, principal, are spearheading the assignment. Reporting to U SPORTS board of directors, the new CEO will have accountability and responsibility for the vision, strategic direction, leadership, and overall management of the organization, said Griffith Group. The CEO will also be a key spokesperson of U SPORTS. Responsible for attracting, recruiting, developing, and retaining the people that will help the organization achieve best-in-class objectives, the CEO will be expected to provide inspiration and support to all employees.
“The CEO will also ensure that U SPORTS provides real value-added service to the members, conferences and partners to which we are accountable,” said the search firm. “The CEO will also leverage his/her/their status as a thought-leader to continually advance our position and be a positive contributor to the future of university sport in Canada.”
The ideal candidate will be comfortable operating in a smaller, not-for-profit organization in which he or she is responsible for the future success of the business. The individual must understand the dynamics of a membership-based organization and be a good listener in addition to being an effective communicator. The right prospect will also be a member of a senior management team and a top performer in his or her current role with a proven track record of leadership, developing/implementing a strategic plan, marketing, sales and client service.
U SPORTS wants candidates who are recognized for elevating brands to advance business objectives, said Griffith Group. The individual’s energy and enthusiasm should be infectious. “People enjoy being around you because you are friendly, trustworthy, confident, empathetic and approachable,” said the search firm. “You possess a unique blend of strong leadership skills, business and media savvy, creativity, superior relationship building skills, a commitment to EDIA and a genuine passion for sport in Canada.”
Candidates must hold a bachelor level degree. Verbal proficiency, or a plan to obtain verbal fluency, in both of Canada’s official languages is required. The appointment of the executive director is planned for next May, or shortly after.
U SPORTS is based in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Every year, over 20,000 student-athletes and 900 coaches from 56 universities vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports within this member driven organization. U SPORTS also provides high-performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous World University Championships. The program has significant breadth and scope. From Victoria to St. John’s, U SPORTS empowers Canada’s best student-athletes to compete for top national honors.
Founded by Jane Griffith earlier this year, Griffith Group is a retained executive search firm focused on senior-level recruitment for academic, not-for-profit, and broader public organizations across Canada. Griffith Group is deeply rooted in the values of integrity, professionalism, and empowered innovation. The firm is committed to supporting, championing, and advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. The firm is 100 percent owned by Ms. Griffith, who identifies in two equity-seeking categories, and is a certified diverse supplier company, through WBE Canada. WBE Canada certifies Canadian B2B businesses that are at least 51 percent owned, managed, and controlled by women. Griffith Group is also a member of the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and a signatory of the BlackNorth Initiative, and of the federal government’s 50-30 Challenge.
Ms. Griffith, a veteran search leader, is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer on hiring practices, with a specific focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives. She has spoken at conferences across Canada and at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. Prior to founding Griffith Group, she was a partner and national diversity leader with three national and global search firms. She also founded Griffith Research, with clients in Australia, Dubai, Canada, and the United States. She holds a bachelor’s degree in legal history from the University of Calgary and a master’s degree in legal history from the University of Toronto.
Ms. Walton draws on her deep executive search experience and diverse sector expertise to execute complex search assignments and recruit talented leaders across a broad range of functions. Ms. Walton holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a focus in photography from Ryerson University and is currently completing the Award of Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion program at the University of British Columbia and the Gender Analytics Specialization: Gender Equity Through Inclusive Design by the Institute for Gender and the Economy (GATE) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She has successfully completed the LGBTQI2S inclusion training from Egale Canada Human Rights Trust and recently concluded the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) training course from AODA.ca.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media