Case Study: When One Retained Search Transforms Into Eight

Case Study CAM - image of person holding a magnifying glass to show an executive search for candidates for a nonprofit organization.

Case Study: When One Retained Search Transforms Into Eight

What happens when one retained search transforms into nearly eight searches? (And, while we’re at it, does that even happen?) Although it is a rare occurrence, Scion Executive Search can supply an incredible example of this exact scenario.

Scion Executive Search (SES) was retained by a tremendous organization that lives and breathes its mission of providing services relating to education, mental health, and vital needs to their low-income community members seeking assistance. The organization works to break down the barriers that impede access to necessary resources, actively helping individuals learn ways to support themselves and one another. Putting the needs of the community first, the organization’s bilingual and bicultural staff ensure that people are heard and seen, ensuring long-lasting change in support of equity and prosperity for all is achieved.

The organization was in a period of immense growth opportunities and Scion Executive Search was put on the case and ultimately produced incredible results.

The Situation

When SES was first engaged in this search to identify a Vice President of Early Education, the organization in question had simultaneously engaged several other search firms for multiple open positions, seeking not only the best match but also wanting to find one that would deliver exceptional results. Our executive search team dove into the search, surgically engaging with the organization to truly understand their needs for the role as well as the organization as a whole. Thus, in addition to looking into the specific search for the VP of Early Education role, our executive search team provided the organization with market data supporting overall organizational growth outcomes and regularly consulted with leadership to identify opportunities for achieving the organization’s overall growth goals. Through ongoing advising sessions, our team strategically identified what the organization was seeking and harnessed the opportunity to freely identify candidates who possessed skillsets the organization’s leadership were eventually looking to acquire.

So, What Happened?

When presenting candidates for the VP of Early Education, our search team identified candidates who were exceptionally skilled and a great culture match in addition to the full slate of candidates who met the qualifications of the education role itself. When our executive search team presented these candidates to Leadership, they were highly interested in several of the additional candidates and engaged with them to create new roles around their skills.

As our engagement continued, SES was called again to identify the organization’s new VP of Programs. At the launch of the new search, our search team created the space for a reset conversation to identify changes in the organization’s needs. Again, our search team sought not only to understand what was needed for the specific open role but to also uncover what pieces of the puzzle our client hoped to fit into their organization.

Throughout the recruitment and networking process, our search team identified individuals perfectly aligned with the VP of Programs opportunity, as well as searching for additional top talent with skillsets that could be useful for the organization. Seven amazing candidates were presented swiftly (in less than 60 days from when the contract was signed!), each offering unique and diverse backgrounds that were suitable for the VP of Programs position but still brought something extra to the table. An eighth candidate was even submitted in the middle of the first-round interviews (where the client engaged with the entire slate) because the executive search team isolated another incredible talent with another skillset that could be an asset to the team.  Using their usual forward-thinking mindset, our search team prepared each candidate through their initial engagements, sharing that their professional backgrounds would be a wonderful match for the organization because of the information provided through the initial intakes.  After conducting detailed conversations about the alternative roles available with our client organization, the candidates confirmed their interest and they remained invested in the organization, not just the VP of Programs position, and prepared themselves for whatever opportunities lay before them.

The stage was set for additional further learning conversations.


Ultimately, from the two retained searches that SES launched with this client, eight total candidates were hired, five of which came from one candidate slate submission. Of the six additional placements, three of the candidates filled open positions they were searching for through their own recruitment efforts, and three candidates had customized roles created around their skillsets and passions. Roles filled include the VP of Early Education, VP of Programs, VP of Behavioral Health and Training, Senior Director of Site Support, the Director of Wellbeing and Compliance, and more. The SES team’s unending drive to identify the best possible candidate and continuing to search for additional candidates after a preliminary slate of candidates had been presented contributed greatly to these incredible results!


The results of this search were made possible by our search team’s ability to determine the needs for the primary search launched as well as the organization’s overall growth trajectory. Another central element to this successful engagement was open and frequent communication, with our search team consistently asking, “What struggles are you experiencing now?” and “Where do you want to go from here?” From the information provided by the client, the SES team would begin a search, often without a complete job description in hand, but with a deep understanding of the needs of the organization.

SES enjoys identifying amazing candidates who add value and positively support the mission and organizational culture, all while bringing needed skillsets and expertise. Our search team lead for this engagement expressed, “We did our best to reach for the stars! We found candidates that checked all the boxes and more for what they needed, and together we found the perfect individuals to help the organization thrive and shine.” SES listened deeply, looked past the surface requests, and in turn- we found a whole sky full of stars.