Planning for and managing executive leadership transitions are challenging tasks for any organization. The tenure of Executive Directors varies widely across the country, both in terms of length and tone of their leadership, but the challenges of moving from one ED to another are more similar than different. Coalitions have been very lucky in the movement to end sexual violence. In many states, coalitions have enjoyed the long tenure of powerful women in leadership positions who have shepherded our coalitions and our movement as we’ve grown. In other states, there have been coalitions who have not enjoyed this kind of stable leadership. Instead, those organizations grapple with the challenges that changes in leadership bring. In either case, as well as those in between, every coalition will at some point be faced with the need to manage a successful transition from one Executive Director to the next.
This article is intended to give coalition boards and staff ideas of how to plan for and engineer a successful transition, both in the face of an imminent departure or well in advance of any potential change.