GUEST COLUMN: Are you our new CEO? An uncommon search

By the staff at United Way of Hancock County

What would you do if you got to help choose your new boss?

It sounds crazy, but it’s the course our close-knit team is charting after learning that our CEO, Angela DeBoskey, will be retiring this year. Uncommon? Sure. But this is no ordinary job search, and we like to do things uncommonly well around here.

Back in February, at the close of a two-day staff retreat, Angela told us that she had made the emotional decision to retire. We were stunned. Speechless. A phenomenon that Angela can tell you comes once in a full solar eclipse. That didn’t last long (it never does!), and as the initial shock wore off, our collective gears started to turn: “What happens next?” “I wonder who our next CEO will be?”

Talking through it a bit more, we learned that most importantly, there is no end date on the calendar. Angela will be staying on as long as it takes to help recruit and train the best person to transition our organization in the most seamless and intentional way.

A common executive shift being done uncommonly well.

We also learned that our board of directors had already assembled a hiring committee and a framework to lead us through the process, from creating a job listing and timeline to overseeing the interviews. Our board has asked input from the staff every step of the way and will continue to seek our input throughout. Our affiliation with United Way Worldwide delivered an HR professional who is skilled at leading CEO searches, at no added cost to our organization.

Again, an uncertain process handled uncommonly well.

The truth is that our team finds Angela to be downright extraordinary. Our guess is that anyone who’s ever met her feels the same way. But we also respect that it is time for her to put herself and her family first, and that means that it is time for her to close her United Way chapter.

So we are not looking for Angela’s replacement. We’re looking for our next CEO.

In that job listing, you’ll see phrases like “establish a vision,” “build or mobilize relationships” and “meet the changing world of nonprofit relevancy.” But you’ll also find things like “understands that people come before process” and “demonstrates strategic leadership balanced with authenticity, respect for others, and trust building with the staff.” That’s a nod to Angela and the emotional intelligence that defines her leadership style.

As we mentioned earlier, we’re a close-knit team. Our success hinges on each of our individual talents and contributions, but also the soft skills that make a team function together. We approach each day with the seriousness that is needed to impact 1 in 4 people in Hancock County, along with the levity that comes with laughter, shared purpose and a gourmet chocolate shop located right next door.

We invite you to check out the job posting yourself and, if it feels right, apply to become the next CEO of this uncommonly special organization.

This guest column appeared in the Findlay Courier on April 13, 2024.