October 26, 2023 – Washington, D.C.- based Vetted Solutions been retained by Leader Dogs for the Blind (Leader Dogs) to lead in its search for a new president and CEO. The incoming leader must be passionate about improving the lives of people with disabilities by providing them with independence and mobility. They must also love dogs and truly respect the power and contribution a trained dog can bring to someone who is vision impaired.
The CEO reports to the Leader Dogs’ board of directors and has strategic and overall operational responsibility for the organization’s financial affairs, staff, programs, and execution of its mission and business plan. They will ensure that Leader Dog’s fiscal, operations, marketing and communications, human resources, technology, and program strategies are effectively implemented across all segments of the organization.
The CEO displays and has a strong national presence by effectively developing and maintaining relationships with a variety of external stakeholders including but not limited to, the professional disability field, governmental agencies, corporations, national and international organizations focused on the vision impaired, donors and other relevant associations and organizations. This leader provides executive leadership on all revenue generation and resource development programs and activities and provides hands-on support where needed.
Vetted notes that candidates will have a minimum of 15+ years of progressively senior management experience. They should have senior leadership experience in non-profit, association, government or private sector management in terms of financial and administrative oversight. Candidates must also have experience working with, and supporting, a volunteer board of directors while helping them to prioritize objectives in terms of mission attainment and resource allocation. A proven track record in achieving strategic priorities through collaboration both inside and outside of the organization is also preferred as well as experience in building, managing and leading effective teams with the ability to attract, retain, grow and inspire an impactful staff of similar size and scope. In addition, Vetted says that candidates should have proven business acumen as one that recognizes finite financial resources and can prioritize their distribution amongst many worthy programs and organizational efforts via clear operating metrics.
At Leader Dogs for the Blind, dogs are trained as specialized service dogs, and represent key partners in helping this important organization fulfill its mission. The organization, located in Rochester Hills, MI, provides a number of services to their blind or vision impaired clients on a global basis. The non-profit employs approximately 200 full time employees and involves over 1,000 loyal volunteers. The organization operates an $18- $20 million annual budget with 100 percent of the organization’s revenue coming from philanthropic sources to include individual donors, corporate partners and foundations.
Vetted Solutions, a specialist in conducting non-profit, government, and association sector recruiting assignments, focuses on recruiting board members, CEOs and senior staff positions for prominent and well-known organizations nationwide. Recent searches that the firm has conducted include executive director for the Association for Creative Industries, chief operating officer for the American Society of Microbiology, executive director for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and executive director of the American Academy of Optometry.
Jim Zaniello, the firm’s president and founder, has worked for more than two decades in positions ranging from non-profit executive director to publisher of a leading tool for non-profit executive search. He is also known to have an intimate understanding of the complex demands of the executive office through his own experience as executive director at several associations and non-profits.
After a national search, Vetted Solutions recently helped to place Victor Stagnaro as chief executive officer of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). Mr. Stagnaro has been with NFFF for 13 years, serving as managing director and, previously, director of fire programs. He replaces Ron Siarnicki, who is currently serving out his role as executive director.
“With his experience in running all operations at the foundation—and his previous 25 years with the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department in Maryland, Victor embodies a keen awareness to the importance of the Foundation’s mission,” said the organization. “He is fully aware of the devastating impacts of a line-of-duty death and will utilize his extensive leadership skills and commitment to the mission to shepherd the organization into the future.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; and Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media