Ann Hale, CFRE, Chair, AFP
Helping to select a new leader is one of the most important things any volunteer board can do, and it’s certainly the most critical thing that I have done during my time as chair of AFP.
It’s also a rare moment, as AFP has been blessed with stable leadership, starting with Patricia (Pat) Lewis serving from 1991 – 1998, Paulette Maehara through 2012, then Andrew Watt leading us until last year, and most recently Jason Lee serving as interim president and CEO for the past 17 months.
While I knew our search process would be long and comprehensive, I don’t think I realized how challenging, intense and emotional it would be. All of us on the search committee felt that way, because AFP is so important to us. We have all had moments where our membership in AFP, and our connections with AFP colleagues, made a huge difference in our career.
So, we wanted to get the selection right. With the help of a team from Campbell and Company, a leading association executive search firm, we determined the key qualifications, factors and criteria we would use to evaluate the candidates. We evaluated 100 initial candidates, narrowed it down to 10 and then focused on a finalist group of six qualified candidates.
It was an all-encompassing discussion, and often we were challenged with different perspectives. But we were dedicated to having an inclusive search that would identify a final candidate that had the best set of assets and qualifications. We had a diverse search committee and a diverse pool of applicants. And in the end, the lengthy process and occasional struggles were well worth it, as we ended up with an extremely qualified individual who can lead us into the future.
Mike is a seasoned association executive and has a great array of skills and experiences that can lift the AFP community to the next level. He is not a fundraiser by training, but he understands, appreciates, and “gets” fundraising, having overseen fundraising in other programs and participated on development teams. He has strong financial expertise and deep experience in running a membership association, providing education opportunities, putting on conferences, advocating on public policy and ensuring members have the resources and knowledge they need to be successful. That’s the sort of leadership we need in our changing fundraising and association environments, and we’re very confident that he’ll do a great job.
You’ll learn more about Mike in the coming weeks as he introduces himself through articles and blogs. And hopefully you’ll get to meet him in person as he attends different chapter meetings and our International Fundraising Conference next year in New Orleans, April 15 – 17.
Finally, I’d like to thank Jason Lee for all his work leading AFP over the last year and a half. Jason stepped in at a very challenging time and helped to stabilize the organization on many levels—solidifying our financial base, refocusing our efforts on member value, building important partnerships, and re-energizing staff and volunteers. He’s done so much, and I can’t express my appreciation and gratitude enough for his leadership, support and dedication.
We’re excited about the future of AFP with Mike leading us, and I hope you are too. If you have any questions about the search process, don’t hesitate to let me know.