April 12, 2021 – Los Angeles-based Kevin Chase Executive Search Group has been retained by the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, which provides a broad range of services to California’s communities in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley, to lead a national search for a new executive director and chief executive officer. Kevin Chase, managing partner, and Catie DiFelice, senior associate, are spearheading the assignment for the search firm.
“The center is a vital resource and an important community partner in the Coachella Valley,” said Mr. Chase. “The explosive population growth and demographic changes there mean an ever-expanding role for the center in supporting the lives of queer people throughout the Valley.” The new leader will a staff of 25 full- and part-time staff–including the directors of programs, development, behavioral health services, operations and finance, IT and business systems, and innovation and engagement–plus interns, fellows, and volunteers.
The individual will assume primary operating and oversight responsibility for the center and will be expected to work closely with the board of directors, staff and community partners to advance the organization’s work and mission, said Kevin Chase Executive Search Group. The individual will have ultimate responsibility for strategic, operational, administrative, and financial stewardship in concert with the board and will actively engage internal and external stakeholders in creating a shared vision for the future of the organization.
The new executive director and CEO will also be charged with working with the board and stakeholders to develop and implement a new strategic plan as well as providing motivational leadership with a focus on ensuring ongoing financial sustainability through growth and diversification of fundraising programs, capacity and results. The leader will also broaden outreach to new individuals and communities while deepening engagement with current constituents, supporters, and partners. Growing, improving and aligning programming to meet evolving community needs is also essential.
The new executive director and CEO must be an experienced and dynamic leader with a high level of emotional intelligence and professional maturity, said Kevin Chase Executive Search Group. The right candidate will have proven skills in fundraising, strategic planning, and organizational leadership and growth as well as a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the organization. The new leader should bring a transparent, fair and collaborative leadership style as well as a successful track record of managing, developing and supporting people and teams of broadly diverse ages, background, experience and identity.
Successful candidates should also demonstrate personal passion for the center’s work and mission and a deep understanding of current issues facing the LGBTQ community. They must be empathetic, warm and people-centered and, at the same time, bring the professional skills and knowledge of systems, processes, and policies to lead an organization to new levels of growth and success. Regardless of professional background, an understanding of the intersectionality of racial equity, gender equity and social justice in the LGBTQ movement is critical.
A minimum of seven years of successful senior leadership and management experience (CEO, executive director, deputy director or similar), including strong strategic planning, staff management, operations development and relationship management skills, ideally in a non-profit environment, is required, said the search firm. Candidates should also have a successful track record of non-profit revenue development including individual, corporate, foundation and special event fundraising. Excellent people and team management skills with proven ability to positively coach and mentor staff while also ensuring accountability for results and outcomes are essential.
The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, founded in 2001, has an annual operating budget of just under $2 million. The non-profit provides services throughout the Coachella Valley which range from a community food bank and a mental/behavioral health clinic, to physical health and wellness programs, and social engagement and events. Most recently, the group opened a new location serving LGBTQ residents in the East Valley.
Kevin Chase Executive Search Group is a national consulting and executive search firm serving mission-based, non-profit organizations in the human services, social justice, healthcare philanthropy, education, and arts and culture sectors. The firm partners with boards, search committees, senior leadership teams and stakeholder groups on critical leadership transitions.
In a career of more than two decades, Mr. Chase has led dozens of executive search and leadership transition engagements for non-profit organizations as well as companies in the finance, technology and professional services sectors. Most of his engagements are for executive director/ CEO, senior development and board positions, though he has also conducted searches for C-level leaders of finance, operations and programs. He has expertise in working with small to mid-sized, mission-driven non-profits, providing consultation and advisory services to the boards and leadership volunteers responsible for governance and organizational development.
Bringing more than five years of retained executive search experience, Ms. DiFelice’s primary focus is non-profit and higher education assignments. She has also worked in the technology, healthcare and consumer markets. Although she has helped recruit C-suite and other senior executives in many markets and sectors, she said she feels most connected to her work on behalf of mission-driven, not-for-profit organizations. Her broad non-profit search experience cuts across the healthcare, civil rights and social justice, education and arts and culture sectors.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media