DRi Seeks VP of DE&I for Sustainability Non-Profit Ceres


November 24, 2021 – Arlington, VA-based executive search firm Development Resources Inc. (DRi) has been enlisted to find a vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for Ceres, a sustainability non-profit organization. Jennifer Dunlap, DRi’s president and chief executive officer, is spearheading the assignment. “Ceres is searching for an experienced professional to lead the organization’s DEI journey,” said the search firm. “The vice president of DEI will lead on development, implementation and oversight of Ceres’ DEI strategy for internal organizational work and guide staff to develop and implement goals. The vice president will serve on the executive team and guide the team on building and leading an inclusive, anti-racist organization.”

The individual will report to the CEO and work across the organization to provide leadership and to develop a DEI strategy. The position is well-suited for someone with strong DEI strategy design and management capabilities. The vice president of DEI will work with all of Ceres’ teams to develop multi-year goals and partner with Ceres’ innovation and evaluation team to evaluate progress toward those goals to measure impact.


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According to executive recruiters, DE&I should not just be a priority, but an integrated part of every company’s leadership goals. Some companies have even tied DE&I metrics to executive compensation. But it’s more than that.

Part of building strong, diverse hiring teams means asking yourself: “Who is my company culture going to attract – and how will it engage people who are here?” This question can be very difficult to answer if you assume everyone feels welcome already just because you do. Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations is more than just the right ethical decision. “It is one of the best business decisions a company can make,” said Keri Gavin, a partner with Hanold Associates and leader of the search firm’s Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion practice. Hanold Associates is a proud sponsor of this year’s report. This report will help organizations prioritize DE&I as a business imperative that drives greater competitiveness, innovation and business results. Get it now! 


The vice president of DEI will be expected to serve as coach to the 20-person leadership team on ensuring a DEI framework to lead teams, supervise staff, consider staff advancement, and manage staff retention, said the search firm. He or she must also provide training to HR team members to do the same.

A Consultative Approach

It is critical that the vice president of DEI build and foster strong relationships with various groups across the company. The individual must take a consultative approach to understanding business needs with the goal of ensuring that processes reflect the Ceres’ DEI objectives. Among other responsibilities, he or she will also champion and inform the development and design of new policies and procedures to reflect Ceres’ priorities and ensure DEI principles are embedded into sustainable business operations.

Qualifications for the role include 10 years of relevant strategy and culture change work experience in roles of progressive responsibility, said DRi. Prior experience leading DEI efforts in a growing organization is also essential. Candidates should have a proven track record of results-driven strategic management, including demonstrated success in guiding senior staff to achieve goals.

A demonstrated record of working with senior staff to develop and achieve goals is required for this position. Prospects should also have experience supervising staff, including ability to provide feedback, training and support staff professional development. A broad understanding of how to build effective collaborations across organizational departments, and with different levels of staff across the organization is also expected. Interest in being part of a diverse workforce and willingness to support Ceres’ commitment to inclusion and equity is essential.

Related: DRi Tapped by The Jed Foundation to Find Chief Medical Officer

Founded in 1989, Ceres leverages its networks and advocacy to tackle the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, including climate change, water scarcity and pollution, and human rights abuses. Based in Boston, the organization’s mission is to transform the economy to build a sustainable future for people and the planet.

Helping Non-Profits

DRi is an executive search and strategic consulting firm committed to helping non-profits. For over 15 years, the firm has served more than 350 of the most innovative and respected non-profit institutions operating at the local, national, and international levels. DRi has placed hundreds of executive leaders and worked side by side with them to adopt strategic plans, design fundraising programs and build staffs.

With offices in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, Denver, Omaha, Austin and Seattle, the firm is led by co-founder, president and Ms. Dunlap and COO Nancy Racette, each of whom spent more than 25 years as leaders with non-profit organizations such as CARE, the American Red Cross, United Way, Easter Seals Society, and Girl Scouts of the USA.

Since founding DRi in 2001, they have built a senior team of experienced non-profit leaders supported by specialists in research, communications, and candidate relations and have had great success with placing candidates both domestically and internationally.

Ms. Dunlap’s personal experience as a senior non-profit leader with a proven track record has made her a highly valued adviser and partner to DRi’s clients. Over the last 15 years, she has led executive searches for CEOs who have reinvented non-profit business models at blue-chip organizations such as AARP, Heifer International, League of Women Voters, NPR, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Ms. Dunlap has developed strategic plans and built high-impact fundraising initiatives that have driven major service expansions at start-ups and established organizations. Her strategic consulting has helped social service providers such as Martha’s Table, major academic organizations such as Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, arts, and cultural landmarks such as the Phillips Collection, and numerous other clients.

Related: DRi Seeks CEO for Atlas Service Corps

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media



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