November 11, 2020 – Boston-based Lindauer has been called in to lead the search for a new vice president and chief advancement officer for the University of Oklahoma Foundation. This is the top advancement position at the organization. Jill Lasman and Donna Russell are leading the assignment, which expected to close in early 2021.
With new leadership at the University of Oklahoma (OU), an ambitious strategic plan and the recent decision to move the administration of advancement from the university to the University of Oklahoma Foundation, the school is at an inflection point in its history. To seize these opportunities and ensure for a successful future, OU is seeking a chief advancement officer to lead and build upon its fundraising efforts, and incorporate industry best practices and innovative approaches to create a comprehensive and sustainable best-in-class advancement operation.
“The successful candidate will be a seasoned leader and manager with experience in an institution of similar complexity and a deep understanding of and appreciation for public higher education,” the search firm said. “They will have demonstrated success in and a commitment to creating and promoting a diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplace environment.”
In addition, previous experience soliciting principal/transformational gifts and leading a highly effective fundraising organization is required. Serving as the visionary leader, the VP/CAO will be a person of integrity, both trusting and trustworthy, and will be dedicated to the mission and values of OU, said Lindauer.
Since 1944, OU donors have provided more than $3 billion in donations to the University of Oklahoma Foundation, an independent not-for-profit corporation that encourages and supports charitable giving for the benefit of the University of Oklahoma. Current assets of the foundation stand at $2.2 billion. The foundation acts as the principal organization through which those gifts are made and administered for the benefit of the university.
Lindauer serves higher and secondary education, hospitals and academic research centers, think tanks, research facilities and foundations, as well as advocacy, public service, social justice and other mission-driven non-profits. It has led searches for the Boston YMCA, Center for Applied Special Technology, Healthy Minds Innovations/Center for Healthy Minds, the University of Texas at Austin and the Cockrell School of Engineering, among others.
Ms. Russell has more than 15 years’ experience in high-growth global organizations and leading-edge advancement teams. Her expertise as a seasoned advancement professional, including in engagement and communications and marketing arenas, positions her to support search and talent needs among the firm’s broad range of clients. As a senior consultant at Lindauer, Ms. Russell relies on her advancement experience and her relationship building acumen to guide her in fulfilling client needs. She has worked with a range of leading clients, including Cornell University, Emory University, the Brookings Institution, American University, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Lindauer Tapped to Find Alumni Relations Director for Seoul Foreign School
Lindauer is spearheading the search for a new director of alumni relations for the Seoul Foreign School (SFS) in South Korea, one of the leading international schools in Asia. Heading the assignment is vice president Carmel Napolitano. “The Seoul Foreign School is seeking an adventurous and energetic alumni relations and development professional to join the external affairs team as director of alumni relations to engage and invigorate SFS’s global alumni network,” said Lindauer.
Among the most senior members of the firm, Ms. Lasman has placed senior leaders and their teams in many major education, healthcare and science, arts and culture, advocacy and mission-driven institutions since joining the firm in 1998. She has conducted advancement leadership searches for such clients as Princeton University, University of Texas at Austin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Chicago Law School and Emory University.
Ms. Lasman has also been instrumental in placing multiple high-level candidates in Ivy League and elite colleges, including Cornell University, Columbia University, Harvard University, Georgetown University, and the College of William & Mary, to name a few. In addition, Ms. Lasman has placed individuals for such diverse organizations as American Technion Society, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She also specializes in building teams, having led the recruiting efforts at Carnegie Mellon University, filling 30 positions in three years, and served as team leader and primary recruiter for 29 of the 44 searches Lindauer completed for the University of Rochester.
Ms. Lasman recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the search for University of Oklahoma Foundation’s new leader and how COVID-19 has affected her job as a search consultant. Following are excerpts from that discussion.
Jill, tell us more about the advancement search.
Serving as a critical member of the university’s presidential cabinet, the vice president and chief advancement officer will build, lead, and inspire the overall advancement operation in support of the University of Oklahoma. The VP/CAO is charged with building and managing a robust advancement enterprise spanning three campuses, including the flagship campus in Norman, the Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City and the university’s campus in Tulsa. This visionary leader will work in partnership with the university president, administrative leadership, deans, faculty, board members, volunteers, staff and other partners across OU to develop highly intention, consistent, best-in-class fundraising and alumni engagement strategies to achieve university-wide goals. With new university leadership, an ambitious strategic plan, and the recent decision to move the administration of advancement from the university to the University of Oklahoma Foundation, possibilities are endless. To seize these opportunities and ensure for a successful future, OU seeks a vice president and chief advancement officer to lead and build upon its fundraising efforts, bringing it to new heights and incorporating industry best practices and innovative approaches to create a comprehensive and sustainable best-in-class operation. This new leader will be the only member of the foundation to serve at the university cabinet level.
What type of leader is the organization seeking?
The University of Oklahoma is seeking a seasoned development leader with experience in an institution of similar complexity and an understanding of and appreciation for public higher education, ideally with a knowledge of healthcare and academic medicine. The successful candidate will be an experienced manager, program builder and leader of teams. This leader will have demonstrated success in and a commitment to creating and promoting a diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplace environment. Previous experience soliciting principal and transformational gifts and leading a highly effective fundraising organization is required. The ideal candidate will be a person of integrity, both trusting and trustworthy, and will be dedicated to the mission and values of OU.
“Lindauer had been engaging virtually with clients and candidates across the country and around the world for years, so we had the technology and skill sets in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic making the transition seamless.”
Can you share some other recent searches that you have completed?
We have completed a number of them, including: chief executive officer for American Friends of Bar-Ilan University; the executive director of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences; the executive director of The Fund for the Boston Public Library; chief research and data officer for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education; chief development officer, network philanthropy for Hackensack Meridian Health System; chief development officer at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; chief development officer for Girls Inc.; VP for university advancement at Seton Hall University; VP of development for Texas Biomedical Research Institute; and VP for development at Climate Central.
How has COVID-19 impacted how you conduct search work?
Lindauer had been engaging virtually with clients and candidates across the country and around the world for years, so we had the technology and skill-sets in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic making the transition seamless. Given this, we are able to focus on helping our clients move forward swiftly and to find a way forward that works best for their organizations. Some examples have been creating tailored “momentum plans” that replicate in-person experiences for those not traveling for in-person interviews and helping clients arrange socially distant in-person interviews when and where appropriate, with safety top of mind. We are seeing a hybrid interview model emerge, with finalist traveling to campus, if and when all parties feel comfortable doing so. In the early interview stages of the process, we help arrange interviews over the course of a few days, to avoid Zoom fatigue, and in some cases insert an extra round of interviews. We work with committee members to make sure they have practiced using the technology and know their role going into an interview.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media