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SPJ retains Talbott Talent in search for next executive director


J. Alex Tarquinio, SPJ National President, 212-283-0843, atarquinio@spj.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS The Society of Professional Journalists has retained Talbott Talent to assist with the search of SPJs next executive director and an on-site organizational assessment.

The Indianapolis firm works exclusively with nonprofit organizations to increase their effectiveness through executive searches, people management and organizational assessments.

I am excited to be taking this next step in the plan that was unanimously approved by the SPJ Board of Directors in its June 1 meeting, said SPJ National President J. Alex Tarquinio. This firm comes highly recommended, and I look forward to SPJ benefitting from their expertise.

Leah York, Talbott Talents President, will lead the executive director search. Heather Rolinski, Director of Organizational Effectiveness, will conduct the on-site assessment which will, among other things, aid the new executive director.

We are dedicated to identifying and attracting exceptional candidates with the competencies and passions that will drive the future of the Society and Foundation and the industry they represent, York said. I am honored to partner with these organizations on this important work as they continue to inspire, educate and protect journalists and our crucial freedoms of speech and knowledge.

Talbott Talent will support the work of the Executive Director Search Committee by conducting a nationwide search to recruit promising candidates matching the position profile established as a result of the assessment. Simultaneously, SPJ will inform its members and other journalists of this opportunity as soon as the position profile is available. Candidates who have been recruited and those who step forward themselves will receive equal consideration in the application process.

According to the policy approved by both the Society and Foundation boards, the Executive Director Search Committee has been appointed by both board presidents, with the SPJ president appointing the chair.

As previously announced, Hagit Limor will chair the Executive Director Search Committee. As well as being a past national president of SPJ and the current vice president of the Foundation, Hagit served on the last two search committees. The other committee members are Dr. Battinto L. Batts Jr., Michael Bolden, Patti Gallagher Newberry, Irwin Gratz, Matt Hall and J. Alex Tarquinio.

The members of the search committee are looking forward to working with Talbott to identify the best candidates from whom to choose a leader who can take the Society to new heights, Limor said.

As Tarquinio explained in her June 5 Freedom of the Prez blog post, hiring an outside consultant results in a higher cost than SPJ doing the search on its own. However, a financial analysis shows that much of the cost will be offset by not having to pay salary and benefits to a full-time executive director for several months. Consultancy fees will be shared by SPJ and the SPJ Foundation.

I am confident in the team weve put into place and believe this sets SPJ up for hiring a strong leader who can help propel the Society into the future, Tarquinio said. My main goal this entire year has been to leave SPJ in a better place than when I took my oath as president last September. I believe this plan will help do just that and Im excited to see the results.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the SPJ Foundation.


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