John Sparrow

The unique nexus of this work – where shared passion for our client’s mission, a broad understanding of nonprofits and a tenacity for finding candidates who truly align with the needs of our clients – is where we live and add measurable value as search partners.

A self-described “recovering bassoonist,” John Sparrow brings over two decades of experience in non-profit administration and performing arts venue management to BoardWalk’s clients.
Since joining BoardWalk in 2013, John has continued to pursue his passion for making the world a better place by working with a diverse scope of clients including those serving education, civil and human rights, public media, public safety, childhood diseases, museums, youth empowerment, environment and the needs of institutional churches.
He is particularly passionate about civil rights and human rights, and justice work having completed recent searches for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Southern Education Foundation and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
John brings a unique background to non-profit executive recruiting as both a performing orchestra musician and manager where he refined his collaborative and management skills in this competitive field. As former Vice President and General Manager of the highly acclaimed Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (2000-12), winner of 27 Grammy Awards, he was responsible for day-to-day planning, management and operational oversight.
Previously, John spent the better part of a decade with the Florida Philharmonic in both concert production and artistic administration, after which he was Director of Programming and Co-Director of External Affairs for the Performing Arts Center of Greater Miami.
Additionally, John has been a lecturer at the Ivey Business School, Goizueta Business School at Emory University, Harvard Business School, The University of Texas at Austin and the Schiller College of Management at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Recent presentation audiences include Alabama Giving and the Museum Trustee Association.
Having grown up in Atlanta, John is active in the community. He is on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Music Project and chairs the board of Common Good Atlanta.
Outside of work John enjoys fully pursuing new interests. A few years ago, this led him to explore his interest in sailing by helping to crew a 75-foot sailboat around Cape Horn.
John’s favorite part of the job? “To interact with interesting, creative and diverse people. It energizes me,” he says.

John Sparrow


MBA, University of Florida
Bachelor of Music, Eastman School of Music
Advanced Certificate in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting, Cornell University


Civil Rights 
Education and Workforce Development
Law and Advocacy
Arts and Culture


40 under 40, Georgia Trend Magazine
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