Pat Tillman Foundation Retains Russell Reynolds Associates to Lead CEO Search

RRA will be looking for a leader to follow Dan Futrell, who joined the foundation four years ago, leading it through the pandemic and beyond. Mr. Futrell is now moving on to concentrate on a new university model for higher education.

October 2, 2023 – The Pat Tillman Foundation recently selected Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA) to lead its search for the successor to chief executive officer Dan Futrell. “Dan is transitioning out of his CEO role with the foundation to focus on a new university model for higher education and his continued role as a Tillman Scholar,” the non-profit said. “The foundation thanks Dan for his significant efforts and leadership, especially during the challenging COVID-19 period, and wishes him and his family the very best.”

“I’m pleased with our stewardship of Pat’s Legacy and look forward to my next chapter,” Mr. Futrell said. “As a Tillman Scholar I’m excited about the future for the foundation.” 

The Pat Tillman Foundation identifies remarkable veterans and military spouses as the next generation of leaders and helps them scale their impact as they enter their next chapter of service beyond self through academic scholarships, lifelong leadership development, and a global community of peers and supporters.

Russell Reynolds Associates is a global leadership advisory and search firm. Its 520-plus consultants in 47 offices work with public, private, and non-profit organizations across all industries and regions. The firm also conducts in-depth organizational culture assessment and measures the cultural fit of key leadership and candidates in the following areas: arts and culture, global development, higher education, non-profit health and human services, public sector, social justice and advocacy, as well as trade and professional associations.

Russell Reynolds provides executive search services across all areas of the global media, entertainment, technology, and athletics markets. The firm’s consultants bring the experience and ability to assess competencies and cultural fit of board members, CEOs, senior functional leadership and players, with expertise in professional sports teams and leagues (CEOs, general managers, coaches and players); digital, media and entertainment; and technology-based start-ups.

The firm’s public sector, trade and associations practice group serves a wide variety of public sector and not-for-profit organizations, related public bodies, regulators, and government-owned companies. It also fills the executive leadership needs of global charities, healthcare providers, and local government and trade associations. The firm also conducts in-depth organizational culture assessment and measures the cultural fit of key leadership and candidates in the following areas: arts and culture, global development, higher education, non-profit health and human services, public sector, social justice and advocacy, as well as trade and professional associations.

Demand for Non-Profit Leaders

Non-profit organizations in 2023 are facing inflation, declining donations, increased demand for services, workforce shortages, and more. A recent non-profit trends report by Forbes says that the changing workforce is presenting challenges for both for-profit and non-profit leaders. Being ready to consider alternative staffing options would put many of them ahead of the shifting landscape, says Forbes. Fractional staffing possibilities exist from the administrative level through the executive director level, says the report, and may be worthy of consideration for both short-term vacancies and long-term solutions. For senior-level positions, many leading non-profits are turning to executive search firms.

7 Key Trends Impacting Non-Profits
Having arrived at the halfway point of the year, the non-profit and social impact practice at Koya Partners | Diversified Search Group, recently pulled together some key trends they have been seeing. In a new report, managing directors Michelle Bonoan and Marissa Delgado and managing associate Tiara Muse identified seven key themes.

A search for a non-profit executive has much in common with any personnel search, and most boards have members who have hired many people in their careers. The distinctions in the hiring of an executive by a volunteer board, however, create special process issues, and a specialized search firm is best suited to address these, says a report from The Moran Company.

“Poorly executed searches may result in hiring delays, poor selection, loss of good candidates, or a difficult start for the new executive,” the firm said. “A strong search process that is well articulated, adopted by the board, and enforced by leadership of the board prevents these problems. Since by design, a volunteer board relies on management and leadership from paid staff, there’s a natural gap when a board begins its search and the selected firm steps into that gap.”

Related: Navigating a Non-Profit Succession Plan

Search consultants are a valuable resource who have seen it all (almost) and are ready to help navigate troubled waters. “But all boards and searches benefit from a clear process that anticipates every step – and just as important, a search chair with the authority and assertiveness to enforce the process,” The Moran Company said.

“Over the past two years, demand for executive searches across the non-profit sector has increased in volume,” said Ericka Miller, president and CEO of Isaacson, Miller. “While we’re not seeing the intensity of unexpected leadership change that we experienced in 2021 and 2022, 2023 continues to be a strong year for executive search activity across the mission-driven sector. Primary growth drivers include increased demand for leaders who can scale organizations and institutions, a rising call for equitable, diverse, and inclusive leadership that effectively engages internal and external communities, a heightened focus on leadership in healthcare and academic medicine to address our most pressing public health challenges, and an increase in demand for inaugural leaders at STEM organizations focused on innovation.”

Senior leaders who successfully steered organizations through the depths of the pandemic experienced stress and burnout, according to Ms. Miller. “This yielded earlier than planned retirements and departures mid- and post pandemic,” she said. “New leaders are now taking the helm and reimagining what a post-pandemic workplace needs in order to thrive. The racial reckoning across the nation inspired many organizations to focus intently on equity, diversity, and inclusion resulting in the creation of roles to lead these initiatives. With technological innovation advancing at a rapid pace, non-profit organizations at the intersection of science, technology, and society, are calling on executive search firms to fill newly created roles. STEM- focused legacy institutions, higher education institutions, and startups alike must ensure that program offerings and operational procedures align with contemporary needs, while pushing into new frontiers of research and development. Inaugural leaders are in high demand to pioneer these cutting-edge endeavors. Organizations across the non-profit sector are calling on innovative leaders to solve complex problems in our current climate.”

Ms. Miller notes that during and post pandemic, non-profit organizations, especially those across the health and human services sector, saw a greater demand for services. “Alongside an increased need for aid, the current economic climate, thick with rate hikes and inflation, is yielding a decline in donations,” she said. “Many organizations are struggling to absorb increased costs driven by demand while facing declining resources. Higher education institutions are also facing heightened attention to issues of cost and access, and some are confronting declining enrollment. Leadership across the board is facing a greater need to think strategically about potential opportunities for increased revenue from new and expanded programs.”

Related: Surging Non-Profit Sector Seeks Senior Leaders

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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