The Opportunity

Spelman Johnson’s mission is to provide exceptional service to our clients. We are recognized for our work in identifying and recruiting outstanding leaders in education, advocacy associations, and social impact organizations. Our success is strengthened by our deep and diverse relationships, as well as our continual investment in the research and development of a leadership pipeline. Since our founding in 1991, we have been nationally recognized for our commitment and thought leadership on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the executive search process.

Spelman Johnson (SJ) is experiencing an exciting time of growth and would like to invite applications for the position of search consultant. We believe that our success lies in our personal experience with organizational culture, respect for the academy, and our understanding of key themes in education. We are seeking a new colleague with expertise and significant administrative leadership experience in higher education who will join us as we continue to contribute to the strength and diversity of education organizations.

Role of the Search Consultant for Spelman Johnson

Spelman Johnson has conducted thousands of searches that have paired our clients with exceptional leaders, one position and one mission at a time. We provide outstanding search and consulting services to organizations based on three key principles—-ethics, communication, and service. We strive for clear and direct communication with clients and candidates. We strive to make the best use of available resources in facilitating the smooth and efficient delivery of services, operations, and processes. We believe that every client and every candidate should expect nothing less than honest and ethical efforts, on their behalf, at every juncture of the search process. The primary function of the search consultant is to manage and administer searches. The search consultant represents Spelman Johnson externally to clients and candidates, and performs the functions necessary to manage the entire search process. Additionally, the search consultant supports the general work and operations of the corporation and works productively with all staff to ensure the smooth and efficient operation of each search.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Serves as a primary or secondary contact with the client—making site visits, developing and writing job related materials including a position announcement, summary of the visit to campus, and the detailed position specification; communicating the search process and role of Spelman Johnson in the process, developing the recruitment plan for the position, coordinating the job flow and schedule; and providing information with regard to policies and procedures such as mitigating bias, the standards to meet to ensure a fair and equitable search, and candidate confidentiality.
  • Ensures that all administrative aspects of the search process are completed and manages the process in partnership with the client. This process entails developing and adhering to the timeline for the search and the Spelman Johnson standards for the collection of search and candidate data.
  • Builds a pool of candidates including developing a research plan to identify potential candidates and using a variety of recruitment methods including calling, emailing, etc.
  • Ensures that candidates are vetted, referenced, and interviewed completely and thoroughly and the Spelman Johnson process for vetting candidates is followed precisely, and in a manner that conforms to all applicable state and federal privacy laws.
  • Works and communicates with candidates to inform them throughout the search of their status and standing in the process.
  • Collaborates closely with Spelman Johnson headquarters staff from search inception to closing in gathering information about candidates, disseminating information about the position, managing the interview/reference process, and communicating efficiently and in a timely manner with both clients and candidates.
  • Manages the client and search committee through all aspects of the search. The search consultant must be an active listener and an accurate observer of the culture of the organization, leading and partnering with the client through every phase of the search.
  • Addresses difficult situations and anticipated issues with the position, the institution, the process, the candidates, the search committee, etc.
  • Maintains consistent communication with candidates regarding their status in a search.
  • Strictly maintains confidentiality in all communications with clients and candidates throughout the entire search process.
  • Serves as a representative of Spelman Johnson for business and marketing contacts.
  • Actively works to maintain the security of all Spelman Johnson systems and proactively manages the security and confidentiality of all Spelman Johnson data.

External and General Corporate Responsibilities

  • Understands the critical issues which affect the search and hiring processes within education organizations.
  • Understands and manages the risk and liabilities of the search process.
  • Represents Spelman Johnson at designated professional conferences and serves as the Spelman Johnson liaison with designated professional organizations.
  • Participates in the development and ongoing evaluation of search processes.
  • Evaluates and make recommendations to improve systems and operations.
  • Understands that night and weekend work as well as extensive travel are required.

Administrative Expectations

  • Keeps up to date on all policy and procedure changes and all applicable federal and state laws that govern the search process.
  • Is organized, assertive, and proactive. Is responsive and works with a sense of urgency. Uses good judgment and seeks the highest professional standards of conduct and diplomacy.
  • A creative and an aggressive strategist who actively contributes thoughts and ideas. It is expected that search consultants will not only plan and carry out the operations of Spelman Johnson, but will evaluate and recommend strategies to improve upon its results.
  • Assists in setting specific, measurable goals for the corporation, and evaluates the progress toward these goals.
  • In general, accurately and clearly assesses and communicates organizational priorities and opportunities for Spelman Johnson.


A bachelor’s degree and ten years of demonstrated progressive leadership experience in planning, organizational development, and partnering within a higher education environment are required. A master’s degree, leadership at the executive director, assistant vice president/dean level or higher, and substantive work in higher education professional associations at the national or regional level are preferred. The successful candidate will have the ability to work independently; to focus intently on details, and to serve both clients and candidates with insight, professionalism, and confidentiality. In addition the ideal candidate will possess a track record of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace and a commitment to equal employment opportunity; an understanding of the critical issues which affect the search and hiring processes within educational organizations; and exceptional writing abilities, strong public speaking, and critical and creative thinking skills.

In addition, the successful candidate will possess the following qualities/attributes/experience:

  • organized, assertive, and proactive;
  • responsive and works with a sense of urgency;
  • good judgment and seeks the highest professional standards of conduct and diplomacy;
  • creative, an aggressive strategist, and active contributor of thoughts and ideas;
  • the ability to plan and carry out the operations of Spelman Johnson and evaluate and recommend strategies to improve upon results;
  • work to meet specific, measurable set goals for both business development and search assignments and evaluate the progress toward these goals;
  • accurately and clearly assess and communicate organizational priorities and opportunities for Spelman Johnson to a wide variety of constituencies;
  • possess the skills necessary to ensure a smooth remote office operation including the ability to rely upon support staff in another location, put resources in place to function as an independent location when needed, and effectively communicate what cannot be verified in person;
  • possess strong professional networks and have been an active participant in the leadership structure of higher education professional organizations.

Institution & Location

Overview of Spelman Johnson

Spelman Johnson, founded in 1991, is a woman-owned executive search firm recognized for our work in identifying and recruiting outstanding leaders in education, advocacy associations, and social impact organizations. In the search industry, both our knowledge and our professional networks are broad—which translates into an ability to understand the needs and aspirations of our client organizations and to deliver candidates prepared to meet the leadership challenges at this pivotal time. For 30 years, our executive search professionals have assisted a wide array of educational institutions in identifying talented, experienced, and dedicated leaders.

Our Commitment to Diversity

At Spelman Johnson, our dedication to excellence in executive search is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our team of consultants is diverse and culturally skilled, and viewed by clients as trusted advisers, thought leaders, and proven experts in helping organizations build diverse leadership teams. We work with clients to anticipate, identify, and combat explicit and unconscious bias in the search process and work toward ensuring that no individual or group is discriminated against on the basis of a protected status, such as race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, or qualified veteran status. We devote considerable time and resources in partnering with professional groups, associations, and leadership development institutes to expand the pipeline of people of color and women leaders in education. We have an extensive and diverse network of contacts that we call upon in every search to assist us in recruiting diverse and deep pools of candidates.

Our Organization

Spelman Johnson’s headquarters is located in Easthampton, MA. The central staff works out of the headquarters office while consultants work from remote offices across the country.

Headquarters Staff:

Ellen Heffernan, President
Jocelyn Provo, Senior Project Manager
Erica Jarmen, Director of Administration
Margaret Holes, Director of Research & Database Administration
Stephanie Lawrence, Director of Search Administration
Donna Beck, Associate Director of Search Support Services
Patrice Robinson, Associate Director of Marketing and Brand Management
Kyle Robinson, Marketing Assistant
Michaela O’Brien, Assistant Director of Research and Support Services
Jennifer Barry, Administrative Assistant

Consultants (home office location):

Mark Hall, Vice President (Hilton Head Island, SC)
Heather Larabee, Practice Leader and Senior Consultant (Fort Walton Beach, FL)
James Norfleet, Practice Leader and Senior Consultant (Philadelphia, PA)
Dell Robinson, Athletics Practice Leader and Senior Consultant (Cleveland, OH)
Scott Derrick, Senior Consultant (Northport, AL)
Quincy Martin, Senior Consultant (Chicago, IL)
Anne-Marie Kenney, Consultant (Medford, MA)
Michel Frendian, Consultant (Chicago, IL)
Laura Puckett-Boler, Consultant (Spartanburg, SC)
Kara Cupoli, Consultant (Chapel Hill, NC)

Complete biographies of our consultants are available at

Benefits Overview

Spelman Johnson offers a comprehensive benefits plan including:

  • Healthcare coverage
  • Dental coverage
  • Short and long term disability insurance
  • SIMPLE IRA plan
  • Partner benefits

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin July 1, 2022, and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted by clicking ‘Apply’ below. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Mark Hall at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Spelman Johnson is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.