Pictured: Susan VanGilder. Photo courtesy of Google Images.
By Richard Pryor III
In the discussion and dissection of the selection of the search committee for the next Vice-Chancellor, the role of the consultant has been overlooked by the larger community who primarily focus their discussion on the members of the committee itself.
In this search for Sewanee’s next leader, Susan VanGilder, a partner at Storbeck Pimentel & Associates (S/P), an executive leadership firm, repeats her role as the lead consultant to the committee after assisting with the search in 2010 that brought John McCardell to Sewanee. Additionally, S/P has assisted in searches for associate vice president for University relations, dean of admission, director of the Babson Center, and executive director for communications and marketing, as they proudly boast on their website that 80 percent of their searches are for returning clients.
VanGilder, an alumna of the George Washington University, has been involved in executive search processes for over 25 years and has been at S/P since 2007. Over the last year, VanGilder has assisted in searches for vice presidents or presidents for the Hebrew Union College, Michigan State University, The College of Wooster, and Reed College, as well as St. Lawrence University’s search for vice president for student affairs that selected former Associate Dean of Students Hagi Bradley to serve in the role.
What does VanGilder do, exactly? According to S/P’s website, “We work proactively and energetically to recruit excellent and diverse pools of candidates in every search we conduct.”
She has already been present at the open forums for the community members, and will later recruit some candidates, assist in the assessment of applicants, assist in referencing, and then advise on the hiring and transition process.