Higher Education Executive Search: The Risk of Revealing One’s Candidacy Too Soon

The final stages of a job search for an executive are nothing short of nerve-wracking, on most every occasion. There is enough for the candidate to think about in terms of whether or not the new opportunity is the right one as a next career step. But there are perplexing issues for consideration regarding one’s current employer, too. Namely, when is the right time to reveal that you may be moving on?

In many industries the answer is simple—mum’s the…



Search Committee Best Practices: Novel Ideas from North Dakota

By Paul Thomas, Senior Writer

The work of a search committee is by definition ad hoc, and ephemeral: a position needs filling, a committee is assembled, deliberation ensues, a candidate is selected and—fingers crossed it made the right hire—the committee disbands. There’s more to it than that, of course, but it’s a few-month process after which members return to their “real” jobs, perhaps never to work together so closely and intensely again.

This was my experience many years ago while serving…



The Chief Population Health Officer Joins the “C” Change in Healthcare

In healthcare it’s getting pretty crowded at the top, as more and more executive positions lay claim to full-fledged C-suite membership. In the past several years, the industry has seen roles such as the CFO, CIO, and chief legal officer achieve significantly elevated status amidst a climate of economic stress, focus…



For Long-term Care Leaders, Is There Life After Consolidation?

Like healthcare in general, the long-term care world is undergoing a wave of consolidation as organizations seek to share resources, cut costs, and generally manage the effects of sweeping reform. When consolidation happens, it often creates a dilemma of who will lead. The expanded system or network must turn to a seasoned CEO and other top executives who can oversee the integration of diverse organizations and set a strategic course in an ever-shifting marketplace.

“A more perplexing issue,” says Witt/Kieffer senior associate



Developing the Next Generation of Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education

By Lucy Leske and Oliver Tomlin

The role of chief diversity officer within colleges and universities has blossomed and evolved over the years. It has gone from being a primarily tactical position to a strategic one, requiring a much more multifaceted skill set than in the past. “The successful diversity leader needs negotiating, diplomatic, communication, and analytical skills in addition to educational credentials,” we



Rural Hospital Leadership: A Time of Guarded Optimism

Rural hospitals are being impacted—and perhaps threatened—by reform more than any other healthcare organizations. Patient bases are shrinking, the government reimbursement picture is cloudy, while geography and other factors make it difficult for rural organizations to forge strategic affiliations.

Yet small-town healthcare perseveres, led by a strong breed of executives who are determined to support communities and make a difference in patients’ lives. Many of these rural health leaders were on hand at the 27th annual AHA-sponsored

Executive Development: Turn Supporting Roles into Starring Ones

Mary Barra’s hiring as General Motors’ CEO earlier this year was significant not just for the fact that she became the first female chief of a major automaker, but also because she took an atypical path to the top. In her more than three decades with GM (starting as an intern!), she worked in various executive roles across different functional areas—even those areas considered non-strategic. In 2009, a tough time for the firm, she accepted the position of VP…



Board Diversity: Beyond the Backyard?

From Wall Street to Main Street, organizations are striving to diversify their boards of directors. The belief is that trustees should reflect and represent the varied constituents they serve.

An irony of boards’ seeking to reflect their communities is that they often have to look outside these communities to find diverse trustees—whether diverse is defined by gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or other criteria. “This just gives them a much larger pool of potential candidates,” says

Honoring Healthcare Trustees Who Honor Their Communities

Hospitals and health systems today are looking for high-powered, high-energy boards to help them deal with the seemingly unlimited challenges brought on by healthcare reform. They require healthcare trustees with exceptional talents and commitment. “Yet when it comes right down to it, healthcare is still about people and communities,” writes Charles W.B. Wardell III, Witt/Kieffer CEO, in the introductory note to this year’s Modern Healthcare Trustee of the…



Martin Luther King’s Lessons for Diversity and Leadership

Much will be written this week about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ongoing influence upon our society. In both substantial and subtle ways, King’s beliefs and actions continue to serve as a lens through which we assess and refine how we approach our everyday lives.

King’s messages of social justice and fairness—and the way he epitomized great leadership—have always resonated with our team at Witt/Kieffer. As we support clients in their efforts to recruit top leaders into their organizations, we draw…