COVID-19 Summer Update

Going into the fourth month of the COVID-19 crisis, we know that institutions and non-profit organizations are still operating in an ever-evolving environment as the nation moves to reopen and decisions are being made around bringing students, clients, and employees back to our campuses or offices in some capacity. We are also aware that the death of George Floyd, along with other recent senseless acts of racial injustice, has brought the conversation around racial inequality to the forefront of the national conversation, and the resulting protests and demonstrations have had a deep effect on all of our efforts in the process. The issues facing us every day are profound, complicated, and historically significant. In all of this, Spelman Johnson is purposefully committed to our clients and colleagues and in assisting our client organizations in navigating through it all.

We can report is that executive search processes have continued throughout the crisis, with many successful placements occurring in a virtual environment. While the traditional model of interviewing candidates had generally concluded with in-person visits by the finalists, the COVID-19 crisis has given rise to innovative new approaches to both screening and hiring, including a number of processes that were completed one hundred percent online and with great success. Spelman Johnson is excited to be following and tracking what we call our “COVID Class,” a group of individuals whose search processes were either partially or entirely completed during the pandemic and they are starting in their new role during the pandemic. We hope to continue to learn valuable lessons from the experiences of our placements during this time and will be reporting on our findings. With the imminent reopening of campuses, schools, and organizations, in whatever form that may take, we want to stress how much we value our partnership with our clients, the community of dedicated stakeholders who entrust us to support the recruitment of mission critical leaders, and the candidates who are vital to our collective success. In all this, we are fully committed to keeping people safe while also advancing strategic priorities.

Spelman Johnson is also committed to the core principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and racial equality in all forms. In the turbulent times and with difficult conversations, we are as a firm conducting in-depth dialogues on how we can best support our clients and our candidates in these areas, ensuring that our policies, practices, and protocols reflect this commitment in every way.

We are here for you, so please let us know what we can do to assist. Stay safe and take care; we will get through this together!

Ellen Heffernan

President - Spelman Johnson

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.