BBBSA Hits The Road Again - This Time To Tampa
The NonProfit Times article, "BBBSA Hits The Road Again - This Time To Tampa?" quotes Russell Reynolds Associates' Kimberly Archer about the process of relocating an organization into new headquarters. The article is excerpted below.
It’s not often an established national nonprofit moves its headquarters. It’s even more unusual when it happens twice within only a few years. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) left its Philadelphia, Pa., headquarters in 2013 for Irving, Texas, moving into a complex owned by one of its largest affiliates and which also housed BBBS International. BBBSA’s headquarters hit the road for Tampa just two years later.
“It’s unusual for an organization to pick up and move for an individual. I won’t say it doesn’t happen but it’s a unique point in time for that organization that probably spurs that type of movement,” said Kimberly Archer, leader in the Nonprofit Practice at Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm. “What you want to avoid is an organization relocating every time a new CEO comes along. You might have that level of flexibility if you’re a small, lean organization but it’s not typical in the sector,” she said.
What’s more likely is that boards consider bifurcating operations – moving parts of the organization to different regions. One small organization Archer works with was based in Florida and decided to keep back-office operations in the Sunshine State because of the cost of living and talent there. External-facing positions, such as the CEO and development, were moved to major markets like New York City or Washington, D.C. “We can see value being in a New York City or Washington but bifurcate, with the back office staying in Florida and re-establishing the front office in a major donor capital,” she said.
Organizations that are located in areas simply because that’s where the founder was located aren’t necessarily strategic, Archer said. A transition in CEO is a more appropriate time to think about whether to recruit someone who will move the organization.
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