Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Executive Career Path

Hoping to get a job as a big-shot executive at a nonprofit?  Before you get started with your search, it might help to know how other people like you got to the top of the mountain.  But where can you get this kind of information?

The Council on Foundations (COF), an Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit membership association, released a study called the Career Pathways to Philanthropic Leadership Baseline Report.  The premise was to show exactly how the top nonprofit CEOs got their current positions.  By analyzing the professional and personal characteristics of foundation executives positions, COF was able to enhance the details of their report.

Here are some highlights to give you a better idea how you can enhance your path to an executive job:
  • A majority (79.5 percent) of the 440 foundations that appointed CEOs and executive directors during the research period filled the positions with candidates outside the foundations.  This is good news if you feared you had to already work at the organization to have a shot.
  • On a similar note, a majority of the candidates were not from the philanthropic sector.  Of these transitional candidates, 24.3 percent came from business.
  • The study shows that prior executive experience is a must.  63.4 percent of candidates held either the chief executive (38.9 percent) or the vice president (24.5 percent) positions prior to their ascension.
  • Nearly 20 percent came from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds and 48.7 percent were women.
  • You should make sure to have someone helping you out during your career path.  Some 30 percent of the field leaders interviewed said mentors played a big role in their career advancement.

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