Kevin Chase Executive Search Completes Search for Point Foundation, Chief Program Officer

(Dec. 8, 2021) Kevin Chase Executive Search has successfully completed its search for Point Foundation’s new Chief Program Officer.

Following an exhaustive national search, Margaux Cowden, PhD (she/her) has been selected as the Point Foundation’s first-ever Chief Program Officer (CPO). Dr. Cowden was selected from a diverse and talented group of nonprofit and higher education leaders, representing the full diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.

Dr. Cowden joins Point Foundation after more than a decade working in higher education and advocating for LGBTQ+ students. She served most recently as Director of the Emory Scholars Program, leading recruitment and selection, scholar advisement and programming, and alumni engagement for Emory University’s most prestigious undergraduate merit scholarships. Prior to Emory, she directed Ohio University’s Cutler Scholars Program and its university-wide OHIO Honors Program, which she helped to design and launch. At both Emory and Ohio University, Dr. Cowden worked to strengthen the intersection of merit and access in scholarship frameworks, increase socioeconomic and racial equity in university honors and scholars programs, and critically evaluate the definitions and measures of academic merit used in scholarship selection.

Dr. Cowden’s work with scholars is deeply informed by her background as a teacher and scholar of gender and sexuality studies. She holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from U.C. Irvine and began her career as a full-time faculty member in the women’s, gender, and sexuality studies programs at Williams College and Temple University. She also has a personal history as a student activist in campus spaces ranging from queer direct-action groups like Swarm of Dykes to the feminist affairs commission of university student senate. Thanks to these early lessons in interpreting institutional sites of power, as well as her experience as a teacher, Dr. Cowden has a passion for helping scholars leverage the platform and resources that come with their scholarship by strategizing institutional change and thinking critically about leadership.

“I have spent my career thinking with and advocating for LGBTQ+ students, both in the classroom and with university leaders. I started writing letters of recommendation for prospective Point Scholars more than a decade ago, and I have long admired Point’s commitment to expanding opportunities for LGBTQ+ students,” said Dr. Cowden. “It’s such a privilege to join Point and further their work to support LGBTQ+ students across the spectrum of higher education, from community colleges to four-year universities, large state schools to elite private institutions, undergraduate and graduate programs.”

“This is a transformational hire for Point Foundation,” Kevin Chase, Managing Partner. “The CPO is a newly created position, reflecting the current and future strategic needs of the organization following the addition of three new scholarship programs in addition its flagship Point Scholars program. Margaux brings the unique and critical perspective of a queer higher education and scholarships executive who deeply and personally understands the day-to-day experiences and unique challenges of LGBTQIA-identified students and scholars on campuses. We couldn’t be any happier about this outcome.”

Founded in 2001, Point Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest scholarship fund for LGBTQ+ students of merit who are pursuing their dreams and goals through higher education. Beyond the tuition and other financial assistance that opens doors otherwise closed to these students, Point Foundation empowers its LGBTQ+ scholars to achieve their full academic and leadership potential despite the obstacles often put before them.
Kevin Chase Executive Search Group is a national consulting and executive search firm serving mission-driven, nonprofit organizations in the human services, social justice, healthcare philanthropy, and education sectors. The firm helps its client partners navigate the changing of leaders in their organizations so they can focus on leading change in the world.

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