The Beckman Foundation Turns to Shelli Herman and Associates to Find New Board Member

January 9, 2024 – Recruiting for boards of directors, considered the backbones of organizations, has grown markedly more challenging, say recruiters who conduct searches in that area. As a result, companies continue to turn to executive search firms to help find new board members. Los Angeles-based Shelli Herman and Associates has been called in by The Beckman Foundation to fill a seat on its board of directors. The incoming board member will have succeeded in a career dedicated to science within an academic setting. With a background that allows for the provision of sound counsel, this credible scientist will help foster mission-focused volunteer leadership.

As this individual’s expertise will both help guide the work of the Board and be fundamental to best in class service delivery, a nuanced understanding of scientific research in academia is essential. This respected member of the scientific community will have knowledge of and a deep commitment to the Beckman Foundation’s programs and impact. The new member will join the board in the third quarter of 2024.

The Beckman Foundation provides grants to researchers and non-profit research institutions in chemistry and the life sciences, to promote scientific discoveries and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments, and materials that will open up new avenues of research. It currently has in excess of $600 million in assets under management and grants approximately $30 million annually. About 60 percent of this annual funding is directed to individual scientists/programs and the remaining 40 percent supports the five named Beckman Institutes. The Beckman Foundation supports scientific achievement through various programs.

Related: How to Approach Strategic Board Succession Planning

Shelli Herman and Associates, Inc. serves trailblazing clients across the corporate, nonprofit, and higher education sectors. The firm’s long roster of clients includes the Annenberg Foundation; the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation; BENlabs; The Capital Group Companies/American Funds Distributors; City Year, Los Angeles; the Fresno Chaffee Zoo; the Griffith Observatory Foundation; Jewish Family Service LA; Laguna College of Art and Design; Loyola Marymount University; Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium; P.S. ARTS; the Saint Louis Zoo; Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County; the University of California System; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and YWCA Greater Los Angeles.

Breaking the Boardroom Glass Ceiling
For far too long, leadership positions have been less accessible for women than their male peers. This has resulted in frustrating gender imbalances across organizations’ top ranks globally—seven percent of the world’s largest companies still have all-male boards, and only 10 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. But despite longstanding barriers, female leadership is on the rise, according Egon Zehnder’s Global Board Diversity Tracker 2022-2023 (GBDT). At the board level, there has been steady investment in diversity, equity, and inclusion, with one in three new hires being women and 27 percent of board seats being held by female directors globally. This is the fastest pace of progress the search firm has seen since tracking these stats.

Shelli Herman, who has more than 25 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 nonprofit, conservation, and cultural organizations. Additionally, she brings an in-depth understanding of the unique cultural environment of academia that was gained while she held significant management positions at the University of Florida and Loyola Marymount University.

Luring Directors

According to Egon Zehnder, heightened expectations now placed on boards have elevated both the professional standards and personal commitment required of all directors.

At the same time, many boards find that the supply of independent-minded “board experienced” directors – especially those who can add vital forms of specialized skills and expertise – is limited. Such candidates are widely sought but can be hesitant to take on the intensive responsibilities now required of board service.

Most in demand are women, senior leaders with global experience, ethnically diverse professionals, and millennials.

Related: U.S. Boards Seen as Slowly Evolving

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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