In 2019, Geof Morin badly needed a new CFO.
Geof was in his first year of leadership as the President and CEO of Biblica, the International Bible Society, and this was to be his first senior hire. Needless to say, the pressure was on.
“I needed someone who was going to help me build what Biblica has now become,” said Geof.
His team was replacing a leader who’d served as Chief Financial Officer for over 25 years, so it was a major transition for the organization. Biblica was also experiencing a remarkable phase of growth and change. They needed a senior leader who not only aligned with their values but could take them to new heights. DickersonBakker calls this principle “hiring higher,” and it’s a tenet that shapes the firm’s process. They help their clients hire leaders who don’t just fill a position—they elevate the position and the entire organization.
The DickersonBakker Executive Search (DBES) team had worked with Biblica before, and on the strength of previous, positive experiences, they were highly recommended to Geof. When asked why a large organization would use an outside firm, Geof was clear: “Because passive, and even good active engagement and recruitment, is not going to work. Generally speaking, the person we’re looking for is highly engaged someplace else. They may have an inkling in their heart to change, but likely they’re not actively looking for it.” In other words, the best candidates often need to be searched for and recruited.
Clarifying What Your Organization Needs
DBES’s executive search process includes several steps, but the first is critical: to help the organization identify what and who they actually need. This involves developing an opportunity profile with the help of an expert search professional who will serve a vital role as a consultant before serving as recruiter and matchmaker.
“We worked with an excellent DickersonBakker consultant,” said Geof. “He asked us, ‘What are you really looking for? What’s going to make this candidate successful? What’s going to make them unsuccessful? What won’t work?’ Those things are hard to put into words until you really have been prodded.”
According to Geof, his team not only trusted their DBES consultant, but also there was alignment between the two parties. Their consultant really understood Biblica—its vision, mission, and values. And in the process of clarifying the role with DBES, Geof and his team experienced a breakthrough:
“I’m telling you, through the process, you also get a greater understanding of what you’re about. A better understanding of your why—not just why we need the role, but how it fits into the larger picture. It just puts words to things that are bigger than a job description,” he said.
Finding the Right Talent and the Right Fit
Of course, the Biblica team still needed to find the right person for the job. And not just someone who could do the role. They were looking for the right fit for their team. In other words, they were looking for what DBES calls the Three Elements of Fit: professional acumen, mission match, and cultural alignment.
“DickersonBakker Executive Search did an excellent job finding a strong pool of people. We weren’t surprised by that. But sometimes that makes it harder because now you have too many choices to pick from. Without having done the work ahead of time—really knowing the kind of person that’s going to make this job really work, we might not have been able to move as quickly to the best-fitted candidates.”
DBES helped move the Biblica team through a pool of finalists. Eventually, the two parties agreed on the final candidate: Bruce Trowbridge, who has served as Biblica’s CFO for over two years.
“We’ve been incredibly blessed by [Bruce],” said Geof. “He came from a very different space, with multinational global experience, but with best-in-class ability to deliver on things that we were just beginning to grow into. Biblica has grown by 3X in three years—we needed that kind of skill set.”
For Geof, it all comes back to trust and results:
“[DBES] carried a lot of trust, and they delivered on that,” said Geof.
To learn more about DickersonBakker Executive Search’s process, visit https://nonprofit-executive-search.com/.
To start the process of finding your next great senior leader, visit https://nonprofit-executive-search.com/contact-us.