Strategy & Planning

Accelerating Progress

This composite case study is
based on real organizational

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The Organization

This 35 year-old food bank serves a region experiencing rapid population growth. Recently the organization completed the construction of a 50,000 square-foot warehouse that incorporates the best food banking practices, and supports the distribution of more nutritious food than ever before

Last year the food bank distributed more than 14 million pounds of food regionally, and their plan is to continue to bridge the gap between hunger and abundance by distributing millions of pounds more of food in each of the next 10 years. The organization’s 15 member Board was beginning to question the strategy. New Board members wondered if there were other strategies the organization should employ beyond the distribution of more food.

After completing the most significant capital campaign in their history, and realizing the long-term dream of opening a state-of-the-art food distribution center, the CEO resigned and relocated. The organization was posed for transformational change in its impact on the food bank’s services

Emily Bustos

Denver’s Early Childhood Council

We have been fortunate to work with Raylene for several years. Her deep expertise and experience in the nonprofit sector have been invaluable as our growing nonprofit has navigated governance and leadership transitions. Even as our needs have changed, she has been able to provide strategic advice that has benefited our work and kept us at the forefront of a rapidly changing sector.

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The Transition

The Search Committee, headed by the Chairman of the Board was very clear on the need to re-examine the organization’s strategic direction. The Board understood their role in setting the organization’s vision and the CEO’s role in advancing the food bank’s outcomes. Like many organizations facing a leadership transition, they identified the need to engage advice and input from a consultant. The Search Committee wanted an experienced leadership transition consultant who routinely works on CEO searches to review the interview and selection process, and provide input and coaching on how to make all aspects of the process more effective. The Search Committee realized their goals for this process and the search outcome required guidance from an objective source.

In addition, the Search Committee wanted the consultant to review all the applications submitted and then identify and interview top applicants prior to presenting those vetted candidates to the Search Committee. Working as partners the Search Committee and consultant identified the individual who should be invited for interviews with the search consultant. Key questions were developed for written responses from the candidates prior to the interviews.

The following questions were developed for the
Committee’s search for its new CEO: 

Strategic Direction & Planning

Describe a planning process you have used, and how it changed the future of an organization

Development & Asset Growth

What is the level of success you have had in personally raising money? Using which strategies?

Market and Business Development

Tell us about your role in applying innovation that has resulted in a more market-responsive, high-quality, revenue-positive outcomes

Organizational Development

How would you set and implement quality standards for this

Financial Acumen 

What specific financial management skills and experiences would you bring to the food bank?

Vision & Leadership

What are the greatest challenges, and the greatest opportunities, facing institutions that seek to foster partnerships and collaborative relationships?

Preparing for the future

The Outcome

After screening all the submitted resumes, 10 individuals were selected for telephone interviews, and four were identified as candidates who would interview with the Search Committee. The individual who was eventually selected as the next CEO had no prior food banking experience, an outcome the Search Committee did not originally consider. The new CEO brings all the skills and attributes the organization requires at this phase in its development, as well as a wealth of experience within the nonprofit sector. The new CEO also has experience in strategic planning and reframing organizational outcomes. 

Dave Ryan

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado

I had the great pleasure of working with Raylene as a candidate for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado CEO search. From a candidate perspective, the process was extraordinarily professional, smoothly run and made me think more highly of the organization I was considering. Since taking the job, Raylene’s advice and counsel has continued, and she’s become one of my key coaches, helping to ensure my success well after the hiring process came to an end.