Beware of the $1 a Year CEO Part II

Since Case #1 in our Beware of the $1 a Year CEO series, there have been several instances where we have had strong interest executives who have enjoyed very successful and financially rewarding careers in the private sector and are considering a second career as nonprofit organization CEO.

If I believe that someone like this is a possible serious contender for a given position, I have very frank discussions about the realities of moving into a nonprofit leadership role. Lest you get the impression that I am biased against business men and women having a second career in nonprofit leadership, allow me to share a positive experience.

Case #2: Our client was a fast growing, entrepreneurial non-profit organization. One of the top candidates was a very successful executive who had recently sold his company and was set for life. When it became obvious that he was the leading candidate we scheduled another phone call.

I remember the conversation well. I asked him “Are you sure you want to work as hard again as you worked to make the company that you just sold so successful? Instead of becoming the CEO of this organization have you thought about becoming a major donor to the organization and perhaps serving on their Board?”.

He paused and then said “No one has ever posed that question to me. I need to spend some time in prayer and talk further with my wife”.

We agreed to talk again the next week. When he phoned me the next week he said that he and his wife had spent time in prayer and talking with each other about the impact that being the CEO of this organization would have on his family life. They had agreed that if the organization wanted him, he wanted the job.

He was selected as the CEO.

What the organization needed in a CEO and what he brought to the table was a great fit and he served the organization well for a number of years.

We hope that these two personal examples of $1 A Year CEO will help you Board of Directors when considering a private sector turned nonprofit executive. Have questions or concerns? Share them in the comments or confidentially shoot us an email. We’re here for you.

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Dr. Tommy Thomas Tommy Thomas is Lead Partner of JobFitMatters® as well as Board Member and Managing Director of parent entity SIMA® International. He specializes in cabinet-level retained executive search for nonprofit and faith-based organizations.