Shelli Herman and Associates Seeks New Leader for Friends of the Observatory

Shelli Herman and Associates Seeks New Leader for Friends Observatory

April 13, 2018 – Shelli Herman and Associates has been retained to find the next executive director for the Friends of the Observatory (FOTO), which supports the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Camille Lombardo is retiring after 25 years with the non-profit group. Shelli Herman, president of the recruitment firm, is leading the search along with her associate, Krista Haley.

FOTO’s new executive director will oversee the operational and financial management, as well as strategic fundraising of the organization, assuring the provision of mission-centric services and the future growth and development of group. Candidates should have a demonstrated track record of leading a comprehensive development function that includes annual and major/leadership giving, corporate and foundation philanthropy, planned giving and special events, said the search firm.

“This is a unique opportunity to lead an organization that has helped establish and maintain a world-renowned institution of science,” said Ms. Herman. “Working with a committed, enthusiastic board of directors, the new executive director will be able to have a significant impact on the future of the Griffith Observatory and participate in bringing astronomy to life for millions of visitors each year.”

Ms. Haley said that reaction in the marketplace has been positive. “The Griffith Observatory strikes a chord,” she said. “Many prospective candidates remember visiting when they were growing up and continue to visit and bring friends and family today. To be a part of such an iconic institution’s future is exciting to them.”

The Search

Shelli Herman and Associates is conducting its search in the Los Angeles area, targeting senior-development executives and executive directors at mission-driven non-profit organizations and institutions of higher education.

The successful candidate is expected to have a minimum of seven to 10 years of leadership-level fundraising experience with individuals, corporations and foundations in a professional capacity within the Los Angeles community, the firm said.

The incoming leader must be able to work in a complex environment with multiple stakeholders including observatory management as well as the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, said the recruitment firm. This includes being comfortable with ambiguity in FOTO’s role while working to advance the organization’s mission. The ideal candidate will preferably have held all prior positions for meaningful periods of time, thereby establishing his or her ability to succeed and make a verifiable impact.


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FOTO’s members, employees, volunteers and board of directors work as the observatory’s fundraising organization to ensure that Griffith Observatory has the resources to continue to be a vital community centerpiece of learning, exploration and inspiration. FOTO works on behalf of the observatory to support the programming and activities that Griffith Observatory produces annually for millions of children, youth and families who visit each year; to be a strong voice in the community encouraging on-going support of the observatory at local, state and national levels; and to find and develop innovative programs for members that highlight astronomy in all its implications.

Mission-Centric Leadership Wanted

The search firm, which is based in Los Angeles, has completed a number of finance searches for non-profit and higher education clients where this combination of technical skills and mission-centric strategy was required. The firm’s clients have included Otis College of Art and Design, Catalina Island Conservancy, the Annenberg Foundation, Pacific Northwest College of Art, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and University of California, Los Angeles.

Ms. Herman, who has 20 years of executive recruitment experience, has a strong record of leading searches and building upper management teams for a diverse clientele, including Fortune 500 companies. She has completed senior-level assignments in many industries, including consumer products, healthcare, high technology and finance, as well as for non-profit & cultural organizations.

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

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