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When One Door Closes: Maximizing nonprofit leadership transitions

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Make Mission
When One Door Closes: Maximizing nonprofit leadership transitions

Some are calling it The Great Resignation. Others, including the guests on this episode, see it as “The Great Opportunity.” No matter how it is viewed, nonprofit boards and executives must work together to navigate transitions seamlessly, which often includes hiring and onboarding new nonprofit leaders.

Research shows that board leadership is crucial, especially during an executive transition. During this time, what does a supportive, engaged board look like? What do board members most need as they stretch their capacity to assess the needs of the organization and identify and onboard a new leader? What results can stem from this preparation, or lack thereof? Based on the preferences and priorities of board members during the hiring process, how can a burgeoning nonprofit executive position themselves for a leadership position?

Our guests include Dr. Mandi Stewart, an associate professor at North Carolina State University and researcher on nonprofit executives, executive transition management among nonprofit boards, and board management of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and Sally Bryant, president and CEO of executive recruitment firm Bryant Group, who is known for elevating both human and organizational capacity so that they thrive together.

Sally Bryant headshotSally Bryant
President & CEO
Bryant Group

Sally Bryant is passionate about advancing great leadership to make a positive impact on the world. As President and CEO of Bryant Group, a globally respected executive recruitment firm, her focus is building high-performing C-Suite teams, because she knows that by combining the right people with the right culture, the entire team will find success.

After a storied career in development leadership, advancement consulting and competitive sales, Sally’s life’s focus became finding and educating great leaders to serve the world’s most heartfelt missions. Her passion for advancing great leadership grew from her experiences of shining under the guidance of luminary leaders and withering at the hands of those who were not.

Known for her integrity, work ethic, and incomparable moxie, Sally is not here to simply place great talent. She’s determined to see both the human and the organization thrive – together.

Mandi Stewart HeadshotDr. Mandi Stewart
Associate Professor, School of Public and International Affairs
North Carolina State University


With research centering on nonprofit organizations, including leadership continuity, career development, and organizational capacity, Dr. Amanda J. Stewart is an associate professor in the Department of Public Administration in the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina State University.

Prior to her career in academia, Mandi spent more than a decade working in nonprofits ranging from small, local efforts to large, international organizations. Examples of Mandi’s current research include the career development of nonprofit professionals and how boards think about diversity. She has developed collaborative research relationships that are mindful of both academic and practical contributions and serves on the editorial board of the Nonprofit Management and Leadership journal in addition to being a reviewer for other scholarly journals.

Mandi has her Master’s degree in social work (macro focus) from Boston College and her Bachelor’s in business administration from Birmingham-Southern College. She received her PhD from the Department of Public Administration and Policy at American University’s School of Public Affairs.