Search Coordinator, Advancement Practice

Isaacson, Miller
  • Location
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Sector
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Posted
    Aug 19

Position description

Isaacson, Miller (IM) is the largest executive search firm dedicated to serving the leadership recruitment needs of the civic sector. Our clients include leading colleges and universities, environmental organizations, foundations, human service agencies, research institutes, academic medical centers, economic development enterprises, arts and cultural groups, and social justice and other national advocacy organizations. These institutions encourage the marketplace of ideas through research, teaching, and advocacy. They inspire innovation and arouse the charitable endeavors of private citizens through foundations and philanthropy. In 2018 alone, the firm placed 346 executives at mission-driven institutions domestically and internationally.

Led by partners Jack Gorman and Rachel Ellenport, Isaacson, Miller’s advancement practice has grown in response to a recognized need for sophisticated advancement practices to sustain our not-for-profit clients. The advancement practice includes associates, search coordinators, and reference specialists who are dedicated to identifying the leadership that will garner the necessary support for the long-term growth and success of these important institutions. 

A team of two to three search coordinators (SCs) partner with every member of the team to conduct approximately 20-30 concurrent searches. Primarily, SCs on the advancement practice serve as project managers and are responsible for all administrative and logistical support of their assigned searches. 

An ideal candidate will be collaborative and eager to participate in both team and firm-wide initiatives and projects. They will possess superior interpersonal skills, excellent judgment, and superb written and oral communication abilities. This individual will have strong attention to detail and excellent organizational skills. Equally as important, they will be able to assess and adjust to competing priorities in a fast-paced, dynamic setting and anticipate and address potential issues as they arise. Experience with, knowledge of, and a passion for the nonprofit sector and advancement are preferred. 

This is an exciting opportunity for a driven, thoughtful individual who shares IM’s dedication to the success of mission-driven organizations and who wishes to have a significant impact on the caliber and diversity of leadership within those organizations. Employees of IM enjoy a collaborative, team-oriented environment and are expected to contribute to the culture, cohesion, and overall success of the firm.

About Isaacson, Miller

Isaacson, Miller was founded in 1982, and from the beginning, it has been committed to strengthening and diversifying leadership in the civic sector. Staff members share a fundamental dedication to its clients’ missions. 

Today, IM conducts searches nationwide, and increasingly overseas, across the entire civic sector and across all core functions within its client organizations. The firm has enjoyed rapid and consistent growth in recent years, and has expanded its staff to keep up with strong client demand, reaching over 200 employees across offices in Boston, DC, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. While most of its clients are nonprofits, IM works occasionally with public agencies and select for-profit companies, particularly those with ties to education and science, as well as some socially responsible corporations. The firm aspires to be the dominant provider or serious competitor in each of the major fields in the nonprofit sector. 

The firm has a commitment to diversity that has been at the heart of its mission since its earliest years, regarding diversity in all of its forms as critical to the strength and well-being of the civic sector. Inclusion of diverse voices enhances creativity, expands ways of learning and thinking, and challenges individuals to be open-minded. It is also a foundational element in building a just and equitable society. Beyond these stated values, IM may be unusual among large search firms for its consistent and statistically significant track record of success in recruiting candidates from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to key leadership positions throughout the country. Since its founding in 1982, 24 percent of the successful candidates in its searches have been people of color and 44 percent have been women. 

IM nurtures a culture of learning and experimentation in a context of warm collegiality, team spirit, shared values, and a sense of the whole being much greater than the sum of the parts. Employees across the firm are encouraged to contribute beyond specific practices or formal job titles; recent firm-wide efforts include a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee, a civic engagement committee, and an engagement (social) committee. Indeed, corporate citizenship is frequently considered when evaluating staff for promotion within the firm. 

This dedication to mission and general esprit de corps attracts a remarkably diverse and talented staff, many of whom have held senior leadership positions in universities and colleges, advocacy organizations, public sector agencies, and human services organizations.

About the Advancement Practice 

Since 2002, the Boston-based practice has grown from two members to its current size of 23, including associates, search coordinators, reference specialists, and a practice manager and special assistant. Team members come from a variety of professional backgrounds: finance, nonprofit development, for-profit consulting, legal and higher education administration, healthcare, and administrative roles, among others. Their academic fields span a broad range as well, including anthropology, business, computer science, English, foreign languages, government, history, international relations, marketing, mathematics, music, nursing, philosophy, psychology and social entrepreneurship.

The team has a strong history of promoting its search coordinators: since 2008, nearly half of its SCs have progressed to a senior search coordinator, associate, senior associate, and even managing associate role. Beyond IM, SCs have also pursued careers in development and marketing, become Fulbright Scholars, and attended some of the country’s most selective graduate schools. 

As individuals and as a group, the team enjoys volunteering at local nonprofits and has developed ongoing relationships with important local organizations including the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), the Boston Living Center (BLC) and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC).

Search Coordinator Position 

Isaacson, Miller seeks an organized and motivated individual to provide high-level project management for the advancement practice. Reporting to Cathy Cotton, practice manager, and directly supporting partners Jack Gorman and Rachel Ellenport, this person will work collaboratively with the other SCs to provide logistical and operational search support and manage additional projects for the team. The practice’s SCs are the central points of contact for associates, clients, and candidates, and are responsible for all scheduling and logistical planning, information management, and written material production.

We seek applicants with broad intellectual curiosity, excellent written and verbal communication skills, interpersonal effectiveness, technological expertise, relevant experience, and a commitment to supporting mission-driven organizations.

Key Responsibilities

• Provide project management for multiple, concurrent search assignments based on individualized timelines; anticipate administrative needs for all searches, and remind team members of upcoming deadlines.

• Act as an administrative liaison and central point of communication between clients, candidates, partners, and other team members; ensure efficient and consistent communication between these parties.

• Coordinate travel arrangements for searches and team-related meetings. 

• Schedule and coordinate client meetings and conference calls, as well as candidate videoconferences and in-person interviews at client site, IM, or off-site venues. 

• Manage production and dissemination of search committee presentation materials. 

• Ensure accurate information is entered into internal databases in a timely manner. 

• Partner and collaborate with fellow search coordinators to manage the distribution of assignments and additional projects.

• On occasion, travel nationally with partners and associate(s) to meet with client leadership and other key stakeholders to discuss client institution’s needs and challenges, or to help facilitate the semi-finalist interview process. 

• Recognize opportunities to improve team operations or efficiencies and bring those to the attention of the partners and larger team; accordingly, lead efforts to implement new procedures or systems. 

• Participate in firm-wide meetings, team-specific meetings and meetings with the broader search coordinator cohort. 


• Bachelor’s degree required; one to two years of professional experience preferred.

• Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects and competing priorities, delivering high quality work within established timelines.

• Superb organizational skills and attention to detail.

• Ability to anticipate potential issues in advance, paired with an aptitude for creative problem-solving.

• Demonstrated ability to work independently and with discretion. 

• Professional and service-oriented approach and demeanor; attentiveness to colleagues, clients, and candidates. 

• High level of proficiency in Microsoft Office, particular expertise with Outlook a must; previous experience with calendar management and scheduling. 

• Prior experience with databases; strong overall technological skills.

• Strong personal integrity and work ethic, as well as a sense of humor and perspective. 

Application instructions

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