McCormack + Kristel Retained by the Secular Student Alliance to Find New Leader

November 15, 2016 – Executive search firm McCormack + Kristel has been chosen by the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) to lead its search for a new executive director. Managing partner Joseph McCormack and partner Michelle Kristel are leading the assignment.

The Position

The executive director will provide visionary leadership empowering secular students, including ensuring that its student group programming, organizational culture, community engagement, and external partnerships are effective and tightly aligned to the organization’s mission and current strategic plan. Developing and maintaining relationships with funders, community partners, organizations serving the same population, stakeholders, alumni, staff, and board members is also a prerequisite.


The new leader, according to the position specification, will bring professional experience, strategic vision, and interpersonal skills necessary to take the organization to the next level of achievement. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of five to seven years of senior leadership experience with a $2 million or larger non-profit organization or a business venture of comparable size.

The incoming leader must also have a demonstrated track record of building an organization at the national, regional, or local level and a lead role in generating revenue (both earned and contributed income) for an organization, either as a volunteer or a professional.

The Secular Student Alliance 

The mission of the Secular Student Alliance is to provide students, their educators and allies with a welcoming community and a safe environment where students can question, criticize, and discuss topics and issues important to them and develop their secular identities, free from the ostracism and harassment – especially in high school – that often accompanies such a process. It supports high school and college students who value scientific reason and the intellectual basis of secularism in its atheistic and humanistic manifestations.

McCormack + Kristel

In July, Mr. McCormack announced the formation of a new business partnership with Ms. Kristel, a former non-profit executive and an associate with the firm since 2013. The new partnership, McCormack + Kristel, LLC, provides executive recruiting services for non-profit and philanthropic organizations. The firm’s mission is to ensure that all qualified candidates — especially gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, racial and ethnic minorities and candidates irrespective of age — are given equal opportunity for consideration.

“McCormack + Kristel will build upon our 23-year reputation for excellent service and continue to expand our national recruiting practice,” said Mr. McCormack. “Michelle’s experience as a non-profit leader is a great value-add for our clients. Because she has served in and managed many of the positions our clients seek to fill, she has great instincts for finding talent and making successful placements.” Currently, McCormack + Kristel is leading the chief executive officer searches for LGBT community center CenterLink and AIDS United (AU).

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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