Passion and Experience Bring a Perfect Match to Renowned Dallas Nonprofit
- April 10, 2019
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For years, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support employed a senior director of funding and community development, responsible for operational fundraising and managing large capital campaigns for special projects. When that position opened up right at the beginning of a $30 million campaign to raise capital for a new building, Genesis Chief Executive Officer Jan Edgar Langbein decided to split the former role into two new positions: a senior director of development and a senior director of major gifts to take over the complex capital campaigns component.
“The name Pearson Partners kept popping up,” Langbein says. “I had never used an executive search firm, and the firms I’d spoken with in the past had taken months to respond to my questions. When I reached out to Pearson Partners, [Senior Vice President and Director] Renee Arrington and [Vice President] Lisa Thompson were in my office within 48 hours. It was unbelievable. They put my mind at ease about what the process would look like. The fee was a leap for us financially, but I trusted them, and I so I stepped out on faith.”
The Pearson Partners team worked quickly to gain a deep understanding of Genesis’ needs for the role and create a detailed job description, then began an expansive search both inside and outside of the nonprofit community.
“They were in constant communication with me, and they reached outside the nonprofit chess game that other recruiters play, where people are just moved around from one organization to the next,” Langbein says. “They went beyond the usual suspects to recruit from other strategic areas, such as medicine and academics, which I was excited and surprised to see.”
After Pearson Partners’ first round of candidate interviews, the executive search firm submitted a list of highly qualified candidates for Langbein’s review—just two weeks into the engagement. One candidate stood out: Maria MacMullin, a longtime nonprofit organization leader with extensive experience in fundraising, strategic planning, program development, public relations, marketing and public speaking.
Pearson Partners had recruited MacMullin for another position in the past, so Thompson knew she would be an ideal candidate for Genesis and reached out to gauge her interest. MacMullin was open to a new opportunity, as she had recently fulfilled her commitment to establish a new charitable foundation for her current employer, a technology company. When she was contacted about the opportunity at Genesis, she felt it was the right time for a move.
“Genesis has an exceptional reputation, and Jan Langbein is one of the most dynamic people in the Dallas nonprofit community,” MacMullin says. “I heard her speak publicly over the years, and she just blew me away.”
Langbein was equally enamored by MacMullin’s candidate profile.
“I knew right from the start that Maria was the total package,” Langbein says. “Everyone who works at Genesis has a fire in their belly—a passion for ending violence against women and children.”
“We always attract resumes and top candidates,” says Langbein, “but this job’s qualifications were unique. Maria had both the passion and the experience with capital campaigns and development. She was the perfect match.”
A Perfect Match
From MacMullin’s point of view, working with Pearson Partners was an ideal way to move into a new career phase.
“Every person at Pearson Partners has the highest level of professionalism and integrity,” says MacMullin. “They offered me a full profile of the position, including high-level intel on the employer and in-depth information about the role. Then, they had an in-depth conversation with me to determine my interest in the position and whether I’d be a good candidate fit. They shared a lot of detail with me up front. After that, I was invited to meet with Lisa and her colleagues for an interview.
“Pearson really takes the time to get to know their candidates and the companies they work with,” MacMullin says. “I felt very supported by Lisa and Renee, and I could feel they wanted to make sure I was making a decision that was good for me as well as their client. I felt like I was treated as a client and a friend.”
At Langbein’s request, Pearson Partners helped develop a unique and customized interview process in which Genesis senior leaders posed as funders, allowing MacMullin to demonstrate her ability to deliver a pitch and associated materials. The Genesis team was sold, and Langbein offered MacMullin the position just six weeks after her first phone call with Pearson Partners.
“The turnaround time was very impressive,” Langbein says. “Pearson Partners saw my sense of urgency and really responded to it. They were very professional, and it was a very good experience. I would definitely use them again.”
MacMullin is equally excited about jumping into her new role leading the current capital campaign, which is expected to last two to three years. “This position is such a wonderful fit for me. I am thrilled to work with Jan and the Genesis team,” she says.
“With Maria’s qualifications, she could have gone to a lot of places,” Langbein notes. “What I loved about Renee and Lisa was their advice, and they advised me that if I wanted Maria, I needed to act quickly. They recommended I expedite the interview process, and helped me with interview strategy and salary negotiations. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
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