June 27, 2022 – Los Angeles-based Kevin Chase Executive Search Group has been enlisted to find the next executive director for Stepping Stone of San Diego, a non-profit drug and alcohol recovery center that provides inpatient, outpatient, and transitional living programs for the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities. Cheryl Houk, who served two stints as executive director, the latest lasting seven years, is retiring. Leading the assignment are Kevin Chase, managing partner, and Catie DiFelice, senior consultant.
The California-based non-profit’s new executive director will take on the organization’s primary operating and oversight responsibility and will be expected to work closely with board, staff, and community partners, said the search firm. The leader will have ultimate responsibility for strategic, operational, administrative, and financial stewardship. He or she must actively engage community, constituents, and partners to ensure a successful, effective, and sustainable organization.
The executive director will also work with board and stakeholders to develop and implement a strategic vision for the future, said Kevin Chase Executive Search Group. The individual must provide motivational leadership to Stepping Stone with a focus on ensuring ongoing financial sustainability through growth and diversification of fundraising capacity and results; strengthening and improving internal systems and structures to ensure robust support of people, programs, and organizational growth; and expanding, improving, and evolving programming to meet changing community needs, particularly in the area of mental health.
Stepping Stone of San Diego’s next executive director must be an experienced and dynamic leader with a high level of emotional intelligence and professional maturity, said Kevin Chase Executive Search Group. The individual should 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. He or she will 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 will demonstrate personal passion for Stepping Stone’s work and mission and a deep understanding of current issues facing the LGBTQ+ and recovery communities. They will 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, strong cultural competency and humility around intersecting LGBTQ+, HIV, mental health, and substance use/recovery identities is critical.
Prospects must have a minimum of 10 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. Also required is a history of having led organizational growth and transformation while facilitating greater mission achievement. A successful track record of non-profit revenue development including individual, corporate, foundation, and special event fundraising is essential.
Founded in 1976, Stepping Stone of San Diego is a non-profit alcohol and drug recovery agency that offers a variety of treatment and recovery programs incorporating evidence-based best practices. The organization has an annual operating budget of around $3.2 million and a staff of 30 employees plus eight clinical interns. In addition to its 31-bed inpatient program, the organization also operates 3 transitional housing units, and an out-patient treatment facility. The organization is overseen by a volunteer board of directors who represent the local LGBTQ+, HIV+ and recovery populations, as well as leaders in San Diego’s business and philanthropic communities.
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.
Ms. DiFelice joined the search firm in 2016 as senior associate, bringing more than five years of retained executive search experience. Her search career includes work in the technology, healthcare, and consumer markets in addition to her primary focus in non-profit and higher education. Her broad non-profit search experience cuts across the healthcare, civil rights/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