Your Nonprofit Executive Search Firm

Finding leaders that matter for missions that matter.®
Solving your search needs began with one bold move.

On October 1st, 2002, Sam Pettway took a leap. He gathered the best elements of a successful career in executive search and dove into his true passion – helping organizations that do good find the skilled executives they need to advance their mission.

With no staff, a dream and a coffee maker, BoardWalk Consulting was born.

Fast forward to the BoardWalk of today. With clients in dozens of states and relationships in all 50, this nonprofit executive search firm has stayed true to its roots and spends each day matching passion with purpose.

Serving mission-based organizations

Nonprofit leadership is our life’s work, and we deliver on our promise: Finding leaders that matter for missions that matter.®  Our core expertise lies in recruiting prospective CEOs, Executive Directors, board members and other top leaders who will add exceptional value.We’ve conducted hundreds of leadership searches for clients in every region of the country. Every search is unique, but our approach is consistent, delivering professionally and demographically diverse leaders ready to make a difference.

Our clients are national, regional and local entities working around the world and across the street in support of causes that enrich whole communities and individual lives. We serve an unusually eclectic array of clients, embracing multiple missions and markets. They range from local start-ups to international behemoths, and their cultures range from intimate to institutional.

These clients share two core attributes: All are trying to make the world a better place, and all have chosen BoardWalk Consulting for their most senior searches.

“Please know that I speak highly of your firm in guiding our CEO search. The process was informed, inclusive, and transparent while maintaining confidentiality appropriately. I am delighted by the outcome and our whole team is still excited, invigorated and grateful to be working with [the new CEO].”

- Long-time community foundation executive who served
as Interim CEO during the transition

Our Experience

We love making the world a better place. Each of our team members demonstrates a personal commitment to community in a number of ways. We’ve chaired boards, provided leadership within nonprofit and grantmaking organizations and served as local volunteers.

Our experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors allows us to quickly identify the mission-critical strengths and abilities you need to further your organization’s important work. The winning combination of nonprofit experience, expertise and empathy gives us an industry-leading advantage in Finding leaders that matter for missions that matter.®

Meet the Team

From our consultants to our relentless research team to the operations staff who keep our office humming, the passion, knowledge and diversity of our people are undeniable advantages in the quest to find the ideal candidate to advance your mission. We invite you to meet our team.
Nonprofit leadership is not just part of what we do; it’s all that we do.
Karen Brady
Kathy Bremer
Kathy Bremer
Michelle Hall
Michelle Hall
Patti Kish
Patti Kish
Alexandria Luttery
Alexandria Luttery
Sam Pettway
Sam Pettway
Sandra Poole
Sandra Poole
Lysondra Somerville
Lysondra Somerville
John Sparrow
John Sparrow
Crystal Stephens
Crystal Stephens
Diane Westmore
Diane Westmore

Our Distinctive Approach

There are many ways to climb a mountain, but we know your board wants to find the leader who will provide the best way up for your organization. Our tenacious commitment to excellence is matched by a process that is comprehensive, creative and high-touch, resulting in a better experience for clients and candidates alike.
We start with strategy.
Our success emphasizes the links between strategy, mission, people and processes. Your aspirations, and the strategy they inform, frame every step of a search process that is deeply sensitive to your culture. Your mission is our north star, guiding all that we do.
We have a bias for action.
We know that time and money are scarce commodities for most nonprofits, and thus we maintain a conscious balance between process and pragmatism. We do not seek perfect answers to theoretical problems. Rather, we focus on solutions that can make a real and lasting difference to your mission.
We have respect for process.
Too often, shortcuts are the best way to get to the wrong answer faster. We resist analysis paralysis, but we also resist the temptation to jump to a solution without having done the proper homework. There is no substitute for preparation, especially at the beginning of a project, and thus we’ll work with you to lay the foundation for a successful outcome.

Global Capabilities

Many of our clients have international reach, and increasingly, our searches are borderless. Recognizing the best candidates may be anywhere in the world, BoardWalk Consulting is an active partner in Panorama, the global network of leading independent executive search firms, combining home market experience with global capacity.

With this strength at our disposal, we can access world-class talent worldwide.


Operating Principles

Like the clients we serve, we draw strength from our mission—elevating impact through leadership—and we know both the promise and the pitfalls of recruiting a new leader. Whether your organization’s transition is planned or sudden, we have the people, the passion, the process, and the persistence to ensure a successful outcome.

Our work is guided by several core principles:
  • We take our work seriously, but not ourselves.
  • We are responsive and respectful in all our dealings.
  • We are humble about what we do not know and open to learning from every encounter.
  • We deliver more value than we charge for.
  • We strive for excellence in all that we do.
  • We are advisors, not vendors. We will be a partner in your progress and a champion for your cause. Your mission will become our mission.
  • Our respect for the power of diversity is deep, and we are unapologetic in our efforts to ensure inclusivity in our team, in our work and in our results for clients.

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