May 24, 2019 – Executive recruitment firm Russell Reynolds Associates has been chosen to find a chief executive officer for Malala Fund, a global non-profit that works to expand girls’ access to education. Consultants Joy Wiersum and Jamie Hechinger are leading the assignment.
Malala Fund wants a relationship-oriented, highly-effective CEO to lead an exciting phase of accelerated growth and impact, said the search firm. Building on a strong foundation and significant momentum, the CEO will refine, deliver and communicate an ambitious strategy and vision for the non-profit in close collaboration with founders Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai. The CEO will be expected to translate vision into clear goals and implementation with a defined and measurable impact.
The incoming leader will advance the profile and influence of Malala Fund, ensuring it continues to serve as an effective platform in amplifying the voices of the many and for sharing learnings and best practice, said the search firm. The CEO will grow and enhance the organization’s key initiative, the Gulmakai Network, while developing and delivering innovative new initiatives like Assembly, the Girl Advocates Program and more.
“A convincing advocate, communicator and connector, the CEO will sit at the nexus of a community of influence and activism,” said the recruiting concern. “This includes Malala Fund’s principals as well as key leaders, activists, partners, influencers and other stakeholders. The CEO will maintain and build this community, sustaining and nurturing existing partnerships while cultivating and catalyzing new, high-impact collaborations.”
Building a Team
By thoughtfully leveraging the access and influence of Malala Fund’s principals and community, the new leader will enable the organization to influence policy and ensure girls’ education remains on the global agenda, driving transformative progress and change.
The CEO will lead Malala Fund’s team with an authentic, inclusive style, said the search firm. The individual will continue to build the team and its operational capability to ensure Malala Fund is optimally resourced and structured. The CEO will further promote a collaborative and supportive working environment that fosters trust and teamwork. This person must also bring an understanding of best practice in building and sustaining donor relationships and will support the team in fundraising and in cultivating new donor relationships, especially with institutional donors, said the search firm.
Malala Fund wants a proven leader with a passion for girls’ education, activism and advocacy. The individual will be expected to be an inclusive, low-ego, relationship-oriented leader able to build on the current success of the organization in close collaboration with its principals. The CEO must have a strategic mindset and experience in leading an organization through growth and change.
Malala Fund, founded in 2013, champions every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. With more than 130 million girls out of school today, Malala Fund works to break down the barriers that hold girls back. In fiscal year 2018-19, Malala Fund’s annual budget was $10.5 million, with $4 million of this allocated for programmatic grantmaking. Malala Fund seeks to become a $20 million organization in the coming years to enable greater impact at scale. Today the organization has more than 30 employees and a distributed executive leadership team with offices in London, Washington D.C. and New York City.
Russell Reynolds Associates’ 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.
Ms. Wiersum is a member of Russell Reynolds’ non-profit practice, specializing in global development in emerging markets. She is based in the firm’s London office and brings eight years of consulting and professional services experience in emerging markets, especially in Africa, with Boston Analytics and Frontier Strategy Group.
Ms. Hechinger leads high-profile executive searches for non-profits, ranging from foundations, social justice and advocacy, education reform, conservation and global development organizations. She focuses primarily on CEO searches, working with board search committees and senior management to optimize the succession planning process for CEOs and critical leadership positions. She also oversees executive assessments and counsels organizations on board development.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media