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Association Senior Staff Search

JDG Associates, Ltd. has been serving the executive recruitment needs of a wide range of
national professional and trade associations, research and consulting organizations and federal
agencies since 1973. Paul Belford, Principal, has led JDG’s Association Search practice since
1993, and has developed a robust practice and outstanding reputation.

Senior staff search expertise includes the positions of Associate Executive Director and Chief
Operating Officer, as well as c-level, vice president and director-level positions spanning a wide
range of association functions. Some of the major functional areas we conduct searches for
include finance, information technology, government relations, membership, meetings,
education, industry relations, marketing, communications and industry relations,

Search Process



Preparation Phase

In conducting a senior executive search, we work closely with the client staff to determine the needs of the position, in particular the resource relationships between the position to be filled and others on staff. To do this, we conduct a site visit to client headquarters to meet with those staff who will be working most closely with the successful candidate. We determine what the candidate will have to do to succeed in the position and the essential qualifications needed. We develop a clear sense of the organizational culture and mission, and review the search process, timeline and candidate sourcing.

Following the site visit, we develop a position announcement based on the position description and input from meetings with staff. The announcement summarizes the mission and objectives of the organization, the principal responsibilities of the position, and the skills, experience and qualities sought in the ideal candidate.

Because a compelling position announcement is so important to the search, we discuss and clear the document with the client to ensure its accuracy.

Search Phase

Upon approval of the position announcement, JDG will immediately begin to search for qualified candidates using a combination of the following resources:

  • AssociationExecs.com – lists executive staff of more than 7,000 national trade and professional associations.
  • ZoomInfo – the most comprehensive source of professional information on people and organizations in the world.
  • Leadership Directories – provides high quality contact information for the leaders of major business, profession and association/nonprofit organizations.
  • Social Media such as LinkedIn
  • JDG’s proprietary database of more than 100,000 professionals, many of whom have been sourced through JDG’s almost 300 association searches.
  • Position postings on selected websites and job boards, targeted research on similar organizations, and client recommended resources.

Each of these resources will be worked carefully in undertaking the search, which we would expect to result in direct contact with 75 to 100 potential candidates and professional sources.

Selection Phase

The time frame for a senior executive search is normally six to eight weeks. Approximately five weeks after the site visit, JDG provides the client with the resumes, letters of interest and screening interview reports of six to eight candidates, each of whom will have been interviewed to assess qualifications and interest level in the position. Working with client staff, typically three candidates will be identified and selected for in-person interviews at the client’s headquarters. The academic credentials of these candidates will be confirmed, and reference and background checks completed prior to interviews. JDG is available to assist clients with interview process strategy and preparation, candidate evaluation and employment negotiations as requested. We conduct check-ins with clients and successful candidates after 3 and 12 months to support successful onboarding. Our guarantee for senior executive searches extends for six months following the start date of the new hire.

Search Team

Searches are conducted by Paul Belford and Julie Goodyear. Head of JDG’s association search practice, Paul is now in his 25th year of association executive search, having previously served in a senior management position with the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (now PhRMA). He is the author of ASAE’s Planning Your Career in Association Management and more recently published The Association CEO Handbook. Julie has managed the human resources departments for a number of associations including American Pharmacists Association and The Endocrine Society. Her broad understanding of association operations, structure and staffing from an internal perspective, combined with her search and consulting experience, gives her an edge in partnering with clients to define their needs and to source and present top talent.

Thank you taking the time to learn about JDG’s association senior staff search practice. Julie and Paul look forward to hearing from you!

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