WittKieffer Seeks CEO for March of Dimes

May 22, 2023 – Oak Brook-IL-based WittKieffer has been selected to find the next president and chief executive officer for the non-profit March of Dimes, which supports the health of mothers and babies. Leading the assignment are consultants Jim King, Donna Padilla, Christine Pendleton, and John Fazekas.

Last November, the non-profit’s former leader, Stacey D. Stewart, announced that she was stepping down for personal reasons. Karen Walker Johnson has been serving as interim CEO since January. Formerly Medicare officer for Centene Corp., Ms. Walker Johnson serves as a member of the board of directors for Clever Care Health Plan and as an independent board director for the Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation.

“Reporting to the March of Dimes national board of trustees, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for an entrepreneurial leader with operational excellence to lead one of the most prominent, national, not-for-profit organizations with a mission and plan to improve maternal and infant health, preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality,” said WittKieffer.

The new CEO will be responsible for leading the development and implementation of a strategic vision for the organization that has a meaningful impact on improving maternal and infant health overall, reducing health disparities, and attracting substantial revenue to the organization for its mission-related work, said the search firm. The CEO must embrace servant leadership and have an authentic passion for the mission of March of Dimes.

Key Requirements

The Arlington, VA-based non-profit wants a leader with a demonstrated record of senior-level experience in a non-profit or corporate setting, health-based, association or organization of a similar or larger size. This includes a developing, communicating, and implementing an innovative vision and strategy in coordination with a board, executive leadership team, and distributed key constituents.

Internally, the CEO will foster a culture and environment of safety and transparency, encouraging dialogue across the organization, break down silos, and identify ways to continue to integrate and align teams across departments, said WittKieffer. The CEO must champion and ensure achievement of the organization’s revenue budget for the fiscal year through direct engagement in opportunities and clear staff management of activities.

Externally, the CEO must play an active and engaged role through a demonstrated passion for advocacy. This includes engaging and deepening efforts philanthropically, continuing to identify champions externally for the March of Dimes. Raising the brand awareness and the impact of March of Dimes across a broad external constituency will be equally important.

Related: WittKieffer Seeks President for Manhattan College

Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes’ goals are “to end the preventable maternal health risks and deaths, end preventable preterm birth and infant death, and close the health equity gap.” The non-profit has a staff of 400, over $100 million in annual revenue, with a goal to grow to over $175 million over the next five years.

Veteran Recruiters

WittKieffer assists hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools, and physician groups; biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies; colleges and universities, and not-for-profit community service and cultural organizations with senior administrative recruiting assignments. With more than 100 search professionals nationwide, its consultants recruit CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CNOs, physician executives, and other leaders.

WittKieffer Assists Colorado State University with Recruitment of VP for Diversity and Inclusion
WittKieffer has placed Kauline Cipriani as VP for diversity and inclusion for Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, CO. Leading the assignment were Charlene Aguilar, consultant; Christine Pendleton, senior associate; and Bree Liddell, associate. “We are just thrilled to welcome Kauline to the leadership team of Colorado State University,” said Joyce McConnell, president of CSU. “She is taking on this critical role with a track record of success wherever she’s been and will be able to build on the excellent work done by her predecessor, Mary Ontiveros.”

Mr. King is WittKieffer’s chief quality officer as well as the leader of the board services and children’s hospitals practices. His recruits include CEOs, COOs and board members as well as physician executive credentials assignments for chief medical officers, chief clinical officers, chief population health officers, chairs and service line chiefs. He specializes in advising and identifying senior executive and board leaders for integrated health systems, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals, faith-based hospitals, behavioral health/addiction treatment organizations and health insurance companies. Mr. King, who is based in Minneapolis, MN, has also conducted searches on behalf of not-for-profit organizations and colleges and universities nationwide.

Ms. Padilla is managing partner and leader of WittKieffer’s healthcare practice. Since joining the firm in 1999, Ms. Padilla has participated in over 500 search assignments for healthcare executives. As healthcare practice leader, she supports her clients’ high-profile engagements for visionary CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CNOs and other senior leaders. Routinely working closely with governing body members and senior leadership teams, Ms. Padilla has served faith-based providers, complex health systems, academic medical centers, medical groups, related professional associations and other not-for-profit organizations.

Ms. Pendleton, a consultant in WittKieffer’s Oak Brook office, joined the firm in 2014. She works to identify presidents, chancellors, provosts, vice presidents, deans, and chief diversity officers on behalf of public and private universities and colleges and other senior leaders in non-profit organizations. She is co-chair of the firm’s diversity council and director of its community fund. She has twice been the recipient of a WittKieffer Quality Award.

Mr. Fazekas, senior associate, is based in Boston. With over 25 years of executive search experience, he serves the firm’s not-for-profit and healthcare practices to identify outstanding leaders according to client-specific strategic imperatives and unique cultures. Mr. Fazekas has led and supported the full range of C-suite leadership engagements for C-suite and other key senior roles. His clients include foundations and trusts, major civic and cultural organizations, hospitals, health systems, community health centers, disease-based associations and research institutes, and many other mission-driven organizations.

Related: WittKieffer Places VP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Providence College

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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