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Updated: Feb 22

Author: Heather Hunter, Marketing Intern, Talbott Talent

Erica Poff, MA, CAE, PMP, IOM

Nonprofit executive search firm Talbott Talent recently welcomed Erica Poff, MA, CAE, PMP, IOM, as its new Vice President. Poff will implement internal business practices, contribute to company strategy, and manage nonprofit executive search and consulting projects, among other duties. 

Prior to her position at Talbott Talent, Poff worked as Director, Global Strategic Advancement for the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), where she led planning and implementation of a global outreach strategy and managed working partnerships with other organizations.  

Poff’s past roles also include Government Affairs and Outreach Manager for the BCSP and Program Officer, Africa for the Center of International Enterprise in Washington DC. Overall, she brings more than a decade of experience in nonprofit development to her new role at Talbott Talent. 

“I’ve spent my entire career in the nonprofit field because I’m drawn to the mission-driven nature of this work and the incredible impact nonprofit organizations can have on their communities,” says Poff. “Having the opportunity to support nonprofit excellence through talent development and consulting is a great fit for me both personally and professionally.”

A member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE), Poff earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Ohio University. She is recognized as a Certified Association Professional by ASAE and a Project Management Professional by the Project Management Institute. 

“Erica’s expertise complements our existing team well, rounding out our ability to serve a variety of organizations and increasing the lasting impact we will have on our clients,” says Leah York, CAE, President of Talbott Talent. “Erica’s professionalism, depth of firsthand knowledge, and dedication to the nonprofit sector continually impress me. I’m so pleased to have her on our team.”

About Talbott Talent

Talbott Talent is a team of experienced professionals providing executive search and consulting services exclusively to nonprofit organizations nationwide. By creating strategies for leadership and legacy, Talbott Talent helps these nonprofits effectively execute their missions for years to come. Contact their team at info@talbotttalent.com.

Updated: Feb 22

Author: Leah York, CAE; President, Talbott Talent

Reading Bill Murphy Jr.s article for Inc., If You Can Honestly Say Yes to These 5 Questions, You’re a Much Better Leader Than You Think, gave me pause. My answers to these questions went beyond a simple and straight-forward “yes” or “no;” they prompted a self-assessment of my strengths, recent areas of growth, and where I still have room to improve.

These are the three questions from the list that stood out the most for me:

1. Do you know how to delegate?

This is where I’m currently working to improve. I ask myself these three questions daily:

Is this the best use of my time? Is it important to our client that I be the one to do this task? Am I better at this than others on my team, or in my network?

If the answer to any of these is yes, I continue forward. If the answer to any of them is no,then I either delegate or at least ask for help! I also like Bill’s distinction between simply delegating tasks and delegating them effectively. Equipping my team with clear objectives and deadlines sets us up for success as a whole.

2. Do you respect people’s time?

This is my most recent area of growth. Although I still have room for improvement, I now try to keep the author’s final point in mind: time is the only 100% non-renewable resource, and employees respect bosses who respect their time.

3. Do you have a sense of humor?

This is where I am probably the most competent! I learned to have a sense of humor, especially when things get rough, from great leadership examples like Beth Karnes Huffman, CPA. Having emotional balance and celebrating wins – even celebrating losses because of the lessons that can be found in them – goes a long way with my team.

What does your self-assessment as a leader look like? What are your strengths? Where have you grown the most? Where can you stand to improve? I encourage all leaders to check in with themselves on these and the article's other points periodically. Self-assessment is a great method to monitor continual growth in your leadership abilities.

Updated: Feb 22

Author: Erica Poff, CAE, PMP, IOM; Director, Association Solutions, Talbott Talent

This article was published in Associations Now by the American Society of Association Executives.

Searching for a new executive director requires more than putting an ad on a job board. Four tips to help your association undertake an effective search with the help of an executive recruiter.

Leadership transitions are inevitable. Whether your association’s CEO gave advance notice of their impending retirement or the vacancy was sudden and unexpected, hiring a new chief executive can be a daunting task. The recruitment process requires a significant investment of financial and human resources, so it’s important to get the search right the first time.

To ease the burden of an involved search process and improve the odds of successful placement, boards regularly turn to executive recruiting services to lead their search and hiring efforts. However, not all recruiters are created equal. Before you hire a recruiter to lead your next executive search, consider the following to set up your board for success.

Ask About Experience

Understanding the needs of an association and how to lead one successfully are obvious prerequisites for your next CEO, and it should be a prerequisite for your executive recruiter as well. “Whenever I bring in an expert to help advance an association, I want someone who has first-hand experience and understands associations from the inside out,” said Jeff Brown, CAE, retired executive director of the American Legion and past president of the Indiana Society of Association Executives.

When considering prospective recruiters, find out if they have experience placing executive candidates successfully at organizations like yours. Inquire about your recruiter’s individual experience, as well as anyone from their team involved with your search—have they previously worked in or led an association? The more directly relevant the recruiter’s experience to your organization, the more efficient your search.

Identify Their Added Value

Your recruiter should bring something to your search that you would not have been able to do or otherwise had without them. Understanding their process can define the added value they provide.

“Recruiting is the difference between actively seeking out and bringing in the right candidate for the position versus just choosing the best candidate who submitted their resume,” said Leah York, CAE, president of Talbott Talent, a national executive recruiting firm for nonprofits. “Ask the recruiter whether they post job ads, and how much they rely upon them for candidates. Then ask yourself—does that really add value to our search?” The choice to hire a recruiter is to gain access to their expertise, their network, and their ability to bring in passive candidates—those highly qualified executives who may not be actively looking at job ads for a new position.

Understand Your Role in Their Process

A recruiter should ease the burden of conducting an executive search. It’s important to have clearly defined roles from the outset so you understand the responsibilities for your board. Before you sign the search agreement, ask the recruiter to identify what they will ask of your board members and the time commitment required. By setting expectations for a board’s involvement from the outset, the search is more likely to be completed successfully and on time.

A recruiter should ease the burden of conducting an executive search. It’s important to have clearly defined roles from the outset so you understand the responsibilities for your board.

Trust Your Recruiter

A key component to any successful relationship—trust—is no less true for your relationship with your recruiter. J. Alex Tarquinio, past president of the Society of Professional Journalists and the interim executive director during the vacancy for that position, noted that being open and transparent with their recruiter was crucial to their successful search.

“To identify candidates who accurately matched SPJ’s needs, it was vital we provide our recruiter with all the information they requested about our organization, including our long-term strategic objectives, staffing challenges, stakeholder relationships, and more,” she said.

If your board isn’t prepared or willing to be open and honest about the state of the association and permit unfettered access to key stakeholders, you’re less likely to get the right candidate—even with the best recruiter.

In identifying candidates, your recruiter may recommend individuals your board would have never otherwise considered, like a non-industry professional.

“Too many boards are married to the idea that their chief executive must come from their association’s industry. There are many more qualified association executives outside of their industry’s network than within,” said David Westman, MBA, CPA, CAE, CEO of Westman & Associates Consulting, LLC, and executive director of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

If your board isn’t open-minded throughout the search, the number of qualified candidates for consideration will be limited, which may result in a less favorable search outcome. One way to help ease reservations is to ask prospective recruiters about their policy for how they will support your board in the event the selected candidate doesn’t work out. Many recruiters will offer a guarantee, frequently in the form of conducting a new search for no additional charge.