CEO Transition

An update on Generation Citizen's CEO succession process.

Dear Generation Citizen community,

Last November, we publicly announced that Generation Citizen’s co-founder and CEO, Scott Warren, had made the decision to transition out of the CEO role after eleven years leading the organization. Scott’s reasons are enumerated here, including a desire to explore diverse professional opportunities, and seeing it as important for the organization to be sustainable beyond one leader. Since being born as a college-student idea, we are incredibly proud that GC has grown to become a national organization with six diverse sites, serving over 25,000 students across the country just this year, and leading on innovative advocacy and policy work. The foundation has been set for a successful transition as GC enters its second decade at a period in which the need for civics education is more important than ever.

We wanted to provide an update on the latest on the overall succession process.  Our goal is to lead an inclusive and deliberative process that strengthens the organization, and that ultimately leads to the selection of our new CEO.

As an organization, we are approaching succession planning holistically. While we understand the importance and time-sensitive nature of finding a new CEO, we feel that we should be engaging in the deliberative work of succession planning continuously. We value each individual that is part of the Generation Citizen community, and also believe that true leadership is ensuring that the next person in the role can thrive, and build upon the existing work. After all, a true democracy is one in which individuals come together for the collective good. Thus, as we engage in planning around our new CEO, we are also thinking about Board and staff leadership and sustainability. 

As we prepared for the official launch of the CEO search, we put together an internal Search Committee to lead this process. This Committee comprises a mix of Board and staff members, and is co-led by Board members Julie Hudman and Matt Segneri. The Search Committee convenes on a weekly basis to review candidates’ application materials, discuss the developing pool, and map the interview process.

The CEO search was launched publicly on November 7th. On that day, our search partner Promise54 published the position description that was developed with input from many of our staff and Board of Directors. The announcement was placed with a variety of relevant publications whose job boards are seen by likely candidates, broadcast on social media, and pushed out to Promise54’s entire network with an announcement in their newsletter. We also conducted tailored outreach to, and cultivation of, prospective candidates who appear to have shared values, and the lived and professional experience and skills required to lead Generation Citizen forward.

The Search Committee also developed a competency rubric, and weighted the competencies in order to determine which ones would be prioritized.  The competencies that emerged as being most critical for success are: strategic thinking, resource development and stewardship, cultural humility, and communications.

In addition to submitting a cover letter and resume, candidates were asked to complete a thought exercise designed to give a preliminary view into their values and leadership style. That piece of work was reviewed “blind,” by members of the search committee and additional staff and Board reviewers and me, before members of the search committee saw the rest of the candidates’ materials and associated the candidates’ work with their applications. 

Last week, based on the evaluation of all submitted materials and inputs, the search committee selected a group of candidates to move forward in the process, and invited those candidates to participate in an hour long video interview. Most of the content for the interviews was submitted by staff, as will be true throughout the process. After in-person interviews occur later in the process, the full Board will discuss and vote on the next CEO.  While the Search Committee is shepherding this process, the ultimate decision is that of the Board of Directors.

Scott has not been part of the Search Committee, although he has advised informally and reviewed the candidates’ thought exercises. The plan is for Scott to help advise the organization and the new CEO for the first few months of the next fiscal year, and eventually transition onto the Board of Directors. We also have convened a broader Board Succession Committee, who is aware and cognizant that Scott leaving and bringing in a new CEO is only the first step, and will be working to ensure that the new CEO, staff, and partners are brought along and heard throughout this journey.

We welcome any thoughts or advice you have for us as we navigate this process, and are appreciative of the wider support of the Generation Citizen community.  Succession planning and execution is vital for every organization, and we’re excited to be endeavoring in this process.

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