February 18, 2020 – Social sector focused executive search firm Waldron has placed Randall Kempner as the new chief executive officer of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation in Austin, TX. Principal Jeff Waldron is leading the assignment along with engagement manager Heather Mohler and administrative assistant Renée Sellers. Katherine Lorenz, granddaughter of the charity’s founders, has led the organization since 2011. She stepped down as the foundation moves toward a planned shift to a non-family staff.
“Randall brings a unique perspective earned from 25-plus years as an entrepreneur, senior executive and leader in innovative philanthropic ventures—and has a powerful and diverse ability,” said Grant Mitchell, chair of the board of directors. “His engaging leadership style relies heavily on collaboration and partnership, and he is deeply committed to our mission.”
“Randall is passionate about the field of family philanthropy and deeply committed to high impact,” said Ms. Lorenz. “He understands the complex issues at the core of our grant-making programs, our grantees, and the political landscape of both Texas and the U.S. I’m looking forward to working closely with Randall during the transition and collaborating with him as a member of our board as he leads us toward the most effective execution of our mission.”
Mr. Kempner is currently executive director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) at the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C., where he manages a global network of nearly 300 organizations that propel entrepreneurship in emerging markets. His focus has been on promoting the critical role of small and growing businesses in driving job creation, gender equality and environmental sustainability. He is a frequent author and public speaker on the topics of emerging market entrepreneurship, the development of regional entrepreneurial ecosystems and impact investing.
“I’m thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to lead the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation,” Mr. Kempner said. “I have great respect for the Mitchell family and their cutting-edge work in Texas and throughout the world. I have long admired both Cynthia and George Mitchell, particularly Mr. Mitchell’s entrepreneurial drive and his talent for developing innovative solutions to complex problems, particularly those that focus on environmental protection, social equity and economic vibrancy.”
In his new role, Mr. Kempner is expected to be a visible leader in the community, capable of identifying and building partnerships across government, philanthropy, policy groups, NGOs and others, and bring together co-founders and coalitions that will advance and promote the foundation’s work.
Why Recruiters Center On Fundraising Skills
Organizations nationwide are under pressure to find leaders who can act as de facto chief fundraisers – and recruiters are in lock step to find talent to satisfy the demand. These leaders need to be strategic thinkers who can motivate the stakeholders whose philanthropy pulls everything together.
The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation is a grant-making foundation that seeks innovative, sustainable solutions for human and environmental problems. The foundation works as an engine of change in both policy and practice in Texas, supporting high-impact initiatives at the nexus of environmental protection, social equity, and economic vibrancy. Since its inception in 1978, the late George P. Mitchell and Cynthia Woods Mitchell, and the foundation, have distributed or pledged an estimated $750 million in grants to myriad causes, programs and institutions.
Headquartered in Seattle with additional offices in San Francisco, Portland, OR and Phoenix, Waldron has 36 years of experience providing executive search and leadership development services to non-profits, NGOs and foundations.
Mr. Waldron has spent the better part of his career working in the social sector. He is a committed partner to mission-driven organizations which work across a myriad of issue areas that matter a great deal to him, including effective philanthropy, international development, and environmental conservation and climate change. Mr. Waldron helps to shape the firm’s strategic initiatives nationwide. He also leads a select portfolio of retained search clients, partnering with foundations, NGOs and social enterprises with national and international scope.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media