Written by Anna on December 19, 2018
Nat Sutton Shares Vision for Nonprofit Practice Growth
At the end of my first year as head of the nonprofit practice at Buffkin / Baker, I am excited about the potential for growth in this arena and my colleagues’ involvement in nonprofits in their communities on a personal level. New York is a bona fide epicenter for a nonprofit practice. Many national philanthropies, as well as internationally known cultural organizations, are headquartered here.
Nonprofits play an important role in the vibrancy and health of the American community – from organizations supporting medical research to cultural institutions such as museums, performance organizations and libraries, to charter schools, colleges and universities, foundations and other charitable endeavors. Below are comments from some of my coworkers about the importance and satisfaction they derive from volunteering for nonprofit organizations.
Brenda Doherty – “I served two terms on the board of the Carpenter’s Shelter (a homeless shelter) in Alexandria, Va. It is a great group and very family centric. The shelter requires adults to work. They take 70 to 80 percent of their salary during their stay and will give it back to them when they leave. This way they have a nest egg for their first and last month’s rent. EVERY single meal is donated or cooked by community members or businesses. It is so supported here. It is a great place, and it was a privilege to serve!”
Roland Lundy – “I have been on the Nashville Red Cross board for nine years. I served as chairman of the board for two years and another interim term for nine months. I serve on the board for the Red Cross because I love the many things they do besides disaster relief—services to the Armed Forces, CPR training, fire safety, hearing testing in schools and generally serving clients in times of need.”
Mark Farrington -“I joined the board of the Nashville Adult Literacy Council (NALC) last summer. The NALC’s mission is to teach reading, writing and English skills to adults in the Nashville Metropolitan community. Every year, the council, with the help of nearly 600 volunteers, serves more than 1,700 adult learners in Nashville with the chance to transform their lives through literacy. I was connected to the CEO from health care and entrepreneurial ventures in my past and she joined NALC with a passion to make a difference. In a short year, she has made a significant impact. Her leadership during a tough budget year was focused on fundraising, securing additional corporate donations and grants and making the most of the resources she had at her disposal.”
The nonprofit sector has grown significantly over the last decade. Its growth far outstrips that of the corporate sector. One study showed that nonprofit sectors grew 20 percent over the last 10 years compared to a 2 to 3 percent growth in the for-profit sector. And this growth was undeterred even during hard economic times.
Opportunities for business in this sector are abound –for me and every Buffkin / Baker search professional. Whether you work in New York or Nashville, Washington D.C. or Winston Salem, there are hundreds of business prospects not only within the community where you work, but across your state and nationwide.
In my almost two decades as an executive search professional, I have experiences remarkable satisfaction from my nonprofit work –both professionally and personally. While nonprofit work may not reap as much revenue as a corresponding for-profit search, it has benefits far beyond the bottom line.
One largely unrecognized benefit of working in the nonprofit sector is that nonprofit work can be a conduit for you to develop important connections in the government and corporate sectors. Major nonprofit boards (and search committees) are historically dominated by corporate leaders deeply committed to the mission of the nonprofit they serve. By partnering with them to identify and place a senior executive, we have the opportunity to build a personal relationship with those corporate leaders while demonstrating the professional skills and commitment to excellence we bring to every search, regardless of the organization involved.
Working in the nonprofit sector isn’t for everyone. It is a professional investment –one that says as a search executive you value the contributions these organizations make to the richness of American life and to the health, welfare and diversity of our society and its individual members. And it illustrates our firm’s commitment to the communities within which we live and serve.
I hope you will consider doing some work in the nonprofit sector. And should you do so, I am more than happy to help you in whatever way I can.
Nat is a member of the board of the Harvard Business School Club of New York, Jazz Houston, the League of American Orchestras and Communities Against Drug Addiction (CADA). Previously, he served as chair of the board of Opus 118, Harlem School of Music and was a board member of the American Folk Art Museum and the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
“It is always difficult for me to say no to an organization that asks for my help in fundraising, programming or anything that involves working with organizations that are dedicated to the mission of bringing music to young people,” Nat said.
Buffkin/Baker Expands Governance Practice
Buffkin/Baker is pleased to announce the expansion of its governance relations practice with the additions of Ted Jadick and Faye Wattleton.
Jadick joined the firm in January 2018 from Heidrick & Struggles, where he held the position of vice chairman. He was a member of their executive committee, as well as a managing partner in the firm’s New York office. Jadick was also a founding member of its board practice and received the John E. Struggles Partnership Award.
Wattleton’s career spans more than three decades of governance experience. She has held nearly 20 board member positions for public and private corporations, academic institutions and high-impact philanthropic organizations. Wattleton has also served on the boards of Estée Lauder, Quidel Corporation, Empire Blue Cross & Blue Shield, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Columbia University, among others throughout her career.
Buffkin/Baker’s governance team of seasoned experts has decades of experience helping corporations and nonprofits shape effective boards by helping clients identify the mix of strategic, cultural and business challenges that are unique to them.
Through their extensive network of contacts, they recruit top-notch executives with diverse backgrounds and exceptional skills to help clients meet today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges in protecting and building their brands.
Buffkin/Baker’s expertise in board-building, its ability to help clients identify governance challenges, coupled with the firm’s access to exceptional executive talent and commitment to superior client service.
Team Member Spotlight
Meet Jen Bradley
What are your favorite things to do over the holidays?
I enjoy any and all festivals (Pumpkin Fest, Christmas Village, Festival of Lights). I also love how the holidays bring together friends and family, whether it includes shopping, eating, crafting and just taking the time to enjoy the ones you love makes the holidays so special!
What is your favorite meal?
That is a hard one as I am a foodie at heart. If it involves a charcuterie board, I’m all in. If it involves Crème Brulee, I’m all in!
Who is your favorite musician/band?
I grew up listening to bluegrass music, country music and gospel music so I love a good instrumental. The banjo has my heart. As far as a band goes, I love Chicago, Air Supply, Lionel Richie and REO Speedwagon.
What is your favorite movie?
This is another tough one. I love a feel-good comedy. I would say anything along the lines of You’ve Got Mail, The Proposal, Pretty Woman, etc.
If you could have dinner with one person (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
My Grandfather. He passed away in 2011. Just to hear his voice again…
Where is your hometown?
West Milton, Ohio
Recent Search Placements
Buffkin / Baker’s recent completion of numerous searches:
Chief Financial Officer at Fluent, LLC
SVP of Legal and Business Affairs at Warner Music Group
Chief Executive Officer at Common Cents Systems, Inc.
Chief Technology Officer at Guideposts
Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi
Head of the T. Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education at Ohio State University
Vice President of Operations at Premise Health
Vice President of Marketing at Live Nation
Vice President of Business Affairs and Legal at Global Music Rights
Endowed Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University
We are currently searching for….
Director of Digital at Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Dean of the Graduate School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Vice President of Music at SeatGeek
Board of Director at Fluent, LLC
Head of Data Analytics and Vice President of Media Platform at iCrossing
Board of Director at Assertio
Dean, College of Engineering at Iowa State University
Vice President of Development at Experian Marketing Services
Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Managing Director at The Chronicle of Higher Education
Director of Information Technology Infrastructure at Simplify ASC