Lindauer Seeks New Leader for California Rural Legal Alliance

October 11, 2022 – Lindauer has partnered with California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. (CRLA) to find their next executive director. Senior consultant Diane Felicio, Ph.D. and consultant Elsa Gomes Bondlow are leading the assignment.

California Rural Legal Assistance seeks applications and nominations for the position of executive director. This is a pivotal moment in the organization’s history as Jose Padilla, the organization’s longstanding leader is retiring after more than four decades at the organization, with 38 years as executive director. The executive director is charged with the organization’s strategic leadership, management, and successful operation. This includes leading long-range strategic planning, major policy initiatives, board relationships, fund development, staff management, and program planning and oversight.

The successful candidate must possess a law degree, be licensed by the State Bar of California, or be admitted to the California bar at the start of their tenure as executive director. “This person must have a humble presence with a track record as a clear communicator, adept at balancing the need for transparency and collaboration with timely decision-making and follow-through,” said Lindauer. “This is a remarkable opportunity to join a justice-driven organization and provide the visionary leadership and organizational discipline needed to ensure that CRLA’s impact, community presence, and national status are preserved and advanced.”

California Rural Legal Assistance is a prominent legal services organization, nationally recognized for its large-scale impact on behalf of California’s low-income rural communities. Founded in 1966, CRLA provides free civil legal services, advocacy support, and educational resources to low-income rural residents across California. CRLA’s administrative office is in Oakland. The organization has 17 offices statewide.

Serving Non-Profits 

Lindauer serves higher and secondary education, hospitals, academic research centers, think tanks, research facilities, and foundations, as well as advocacy, public service, social justice, and other mission-driven non-profits. The firm 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.

Deb Taft, chief executive officer, leads Lindauer with over 25 years of executive and senior-level experience across the non-profit sector, from education to healthcare/academic medicine to the youth service and voluntary sectors. Her expertise includes governance, strategic planning, fundraising, program and staff management, strategic marketing, analytics, and constituent engagement, as well as talent recruitment, retention, and development.

With over 25 years of experience in senior leadership roles, Dr. Felicio has served as a strategist, executive director, operations expert, fundraiser, crisis manager, and trusted advisor and relationship builder across a broad range of institutions in the non-profit and related sectors. Within these positions, she has been directly involved with recruitment activities across numerous roles including college and university faculty/deans/provosts/presidents, development professionals, and operations staff/ directors/executive directors, as well as board recruitment and governance.

Ms. Gomes Bondlow brings to Lindauer and its clients over 20 years of experience, as a connector, relationship builder, social justice activist, and social change strategist. In 2020, she co-founded the trust-based, woman of color-led, Social Equity Access Fund, which focused on providing basic needs while addressing the social determinants of health. Ms. Gomes Bondlow currently serves as a board member and co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Women in Development of Greater Boston.

Recent Search

Lindauer recently assisted in the recruitment of Ben Johnson as the new president and CEO of the United States Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, AR. The assignment was spearheaded by Libby Roberts, senior vice president, and Megan Abbett, senior consultant. “In conducting a national search, we were looking for a new CEO with a proven track record of achievement in museum operations,” said Doug Babb, USMM board chairperson. “And that is exactly what we are getting with Ben Johnson. Over his 20-year museum career, Ben has served in nearly every capacity within the museum industry. He understands every aspect of museum operations because he has performed nearly every position.”

“Ben brings us the expertise we need to complete the fabrication and installation of the museum experience, hire, and train our museum staff, and develop a business plan for an operating museum,” said Mr. Babb. “We expect that with a new CEO with a track record of success in museum operations, we can accelerate our fundraising and open to the public next year.”

Related: The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence Selects Lindauer for CDO Search 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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