June 9, 2020 – Darien, Conn-based executive search firm The Strategy Group has assisted Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich (BGCG) in the selection of Cristina Vittoria as its new CEO. She currently serves as the organization’s vice president of development. She will succeed Bobby Walker Jr. who announced earlier this year that that he had accepted a position at Greenwich Academy, a private girl’s school also based in Greenwich, Conn.
“We began the search in February shortly after Bobby let the board know that he would be pursuing a new opportunity,” said search firm managing director Debra Hertz. “It is always hard to lose a strong and beloved leader. As is their custom, Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich was thoughtful and strategic in their search.”
“The first step in the search was to listen – listen to board members and to staff – to hear what they thought was important in a new CEO,” Ms. Hertz said. “People wanted a community leader who was committed to Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich’s mission and kids. They wanted someone familiar with the Greenwich community and who had well-rounded experience as a non-profit leader.”
“The Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich is a strong organization and we were not surprised with the interest in the position,” she said. The search firm received over 175 resumes, had telephone interviews with 24 candidates and zoom interviews with 10 finalists.
Ms. Vittoria ultimately stood out as the best fit for role. Since 2018, she has directed the organization’s fundraising and marketing efforts. Ms. Vittoria previously served as director of external relations and development from 2014 to 2018 at REACH Prep, an educational access and college success organization based in Stamford, CT, where her responsibilities included directing the organization’s major gifts cultivation efforts, connecting REACH Prep with influential individuals, family foundations and corporate giving programs.
Before that, Ms. Vittoria spent several years working in sales, marketing and events at Chief Executive Group in Greenwich. Her professional career began at the New Yorker magazine, where she spent a decade in advertising sales after graduating from Yale University.
“Cristina’s dedication to and expertise with both bolstering the organization’s profile and member support are qualities that the board of directors felt were essential in our next CEO,” said George Fox, board chair of Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich. “Cristina will be a strong leader and an articulate ambassador for the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich. We are confident that BGCG will continue to thrive under her leadership.”
“Cristina knows and loves the club,” said Ms. Hertz. “She has been very effective in her role as VP of development and has built a strong team and gained the respect of the staff and board. She has lived in Greenwich for the past 15 years and has been active in several local organizations including the Junior League of Greenwich and the Yale Alumni Association of Greenwich. In short, Cristina has embraced the club’s mission and has the experience, intelligence and knowledge to be an extraordinary leader.”
“The positive feedback about Cristina from search committee members and board members alike was overwhelming,” said Eileen Tang, head of the search committee. “Some of the adjectives used to describe Cristina were mission-driven, strategic, smart, creative, thoughtful, approachable, confident and charismatic. She is highly respected by both the club staff and the broader community,” she said. “The search committee is confident that Cristina will provide the strong leadership and vision our club needs to move into the future.”
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“It is an honor to become the CEO of this vital community organization, which impacts so many children in Greenwich,” said Mrs. Vittoria. “Each day, hundreds of happy kids burst through the doors of the club, inspiring me to work diligently to increase our financial support and to raise awareness of the essential work BGCG continues to do.”
COVID-19’s Effect on the Search
COVID-19 made this search a little tricky, Ms. Hertz said. “We conducted our interviews via Zoom. While it was not what we are used to, it actually was very efficient and ended up working well.”
Moving forward, we are all adapting to working differently, she said. “Whether it is strategic planning or searches or merger negotiations or leadership development. We always try to be nimble, which has been a great advantage during this time. The bottom line is we won’t compromise quality and always keep our eyes on the prize.”
The Strategy Group, which focuses on the non-profit sector, is a team of practitioners with decades of experience guiding and leading organizations. Its multifaceted experience drives the firm’s client engagements with an empathetic and transformational approach. The Strategy Group also worked with the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich on its strategic plan in 2017 and has been working with the organization on implementation. “They are a strong organization whose board and staff are incredibly committed to its mission,” Ms. Hertz said.
Other Greenwich, Conn-based executive searches conducted by The Strategy Group include Neighbor to Neighbor, Greenwich Library, Pathways and Greenwich Land Trust. The firm is currently working on the commissioner search for the Greenwich Department of Human Services.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media