Executive Transition Consultant

Consultant Details:

Contact: Polly Williams, Founder
Name of Firm: Polly Williams, Purpose Partners Group
Language Spoken: English, Spanish
Website/LinkedIn URL: www.purposepartnersgroup.com

Consultant Expertise

Organizational assessments, Board development, Executive coaching, Transition consulting & project management

Program Areas

Arts and Culture, Education, Health, Human Rights, Information and Communications, Philanthropy, Public Affairs, Sports and Recreation

Legal Structure of Organization:

Independent Contractor

Year Practice Founded:


Number of Individuals in Firm:


Names and Titles of Individuals in Firm:

Polly Williams

Names and Titles of Individuals in Firm:

Polly Williams

Firm or Consultant Address:

3480 Carlsbad Boulevard

RFQ Contact Name:

Polly Williams

RFQ Contact Phone:

(213) 447-2229

Geographic area currently served by firm (select all that apply):

Los Angeles, California, USA

How would you describe the range of diversity reflected in your firm’s consultants and leadership (or self, if sole practitioner)?

I am a sole practitioner, but my commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is longstanding – as evidenced by the team I assembled at United Friends of the Children, where I was CEO for 15 years.

Please describe your mission, values, and approach:

I am a former nonprofit executive with decades of experience who provides coaching, strategy and support for nonprofit organizations with an emphasis on new leaders and immediate impact. I believe that the best organizations are run with a mystical balance of evolved leadership and smart professionalism. When you engage my services, you have access to all of the lessons I learned as a CEO and Executive Director as well as my experience as a member of the Board of Directors for various organizations. This, combined with my consulting experience, gives me a broad perspective on the roles, responsibilities, and challenges of all involved. My approach is personalized, individualized, and reliant on open communication.

What expertise or perspective do you bring to organizations looking to ground their collaboration practices in values of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Diversity, equity and inclusion are core values. I have long believed that the most effective nonprofits are lead and staffed by people representing diverse identities, experiences, and perspectives and I have experience creating a culture in which everyone is celebrated, valued and respected. A key focus area of my consulting is to support new leaders and first time CEO’s and to encourage Boards of Directors to promote BIPOC candidates who have all the qualities necessary for success, but who may never have served before in the top job. We all know how much is required of nonprofit executives – we expect them to have subject matter expertise, be strategic thinkers, possess business acumen, have management skills, understand good governance, know how to manage risk, and be successful fundraisers. That is a wide set of skills and I believe we have a responsibility to give new leaders the time to build their experience base. It’s not enough to promote someone into the job, we need to provide them with support too.

Please describe your ideal engagement. Feel free to include issue area and scope of project:

Ideal engagements take many forms, but at their core they all involve the same things – open communication, clarity around goals and objectives, and people who are willing to work together to benefit the nonprofit organizations they serve. In the case of an executive transition, an ideal engagement might shape up like this: an outgoing CEO and/or a Board chair calls and asks for help. They are considering engaging an executive search firm, but have reached out to me first because they have an internal candidate or two that warrant consideration. The candidate has subject matter expertise and embodies the organization’s values, but does not have prior experience as a CEO or Executive Director and there are concerns. I provide an assessment of the internal candidate(s) and their readiness for promotion and put a plan together to support their successful transition into the leadership role. As a part of the transition plan, I partner with the new CEO and provide hands-on, executive coaching services for the first year of their tenure. This allows the new leader time to build the broad base of expertise required to run a successful nonprofit organization and provides them with a qualified and easily reachable sounding board for support.

How many executive-transition related projects have you or your firm been involved with?

The bulk of my experience in this area is based on a career of making executive level transitions myself. I understand how important and harrowing the moment can be for all – and have witnessed and participated in both successful and unsuccessful transitions. That experience forms the basis of my work.

Please describe your fee structure:

$250 per hour, by retainer, or on a project basis.

What percentage of your clients are within the nonprofit sector?


Are you open to remote engagements?


Briefly name and describe 1-3 examples of executive transitions with which you have been involved as a consultant (please prioritize NSI-funded and/or LA-based organizations).

I was engaged by a national organization to provide leadership coaching to a newly promoted, first-time executive director. The organization had experienced significant turnover in the position in the preceding years and the Board was looking for both stability and success with an internal candidate. The executive director I was hired to coach had subject matter expertise and all of the intangibles you would look for in a leader, but had never run an organization before. I was placed on retainer and we met on a weekly basis over Zoom for six months. I served as a coach, mentor, and sounding board. In addition to our weekly sessions, I was also available by phone, text and email to troubleshoot emerging issues and provide advice. She had the benefit of my many years of experience as day-to-day issues arose and could be open with me about both what she was experiencing and what she needed to be successful. Working together, we were able to catch issues that, had they proceeded unaddressed, could have mushroomed into major roadblocks. It was an incredibly cost effective, successful partnership that continues to this day.

Add any other information you feel would aid in understanding the value you or your consulting firm can bring to an organization preparing for or implementing an executive transition:

Please list up to 5 Consultants from your firm

Polly Williams Polly is a former CEO and Executive Director with decades of experience who believes the best nonprofits are run with a mystical balance of evolved leadership and smart professionalism. She has built teams, grown organizations, raised lots of money, created programs and projects out of nothing, and worked together with like-minded individuals to achieve the seemingly impossible. From a first opportunity doing fundraising and special events for a major performing arts center to 15 years as the CEO of a trailblazing nonprofit serving foster youth, Polly has devoted her professional life to the greater good. She understands the pleasures and pitfalls of being a nonprofit leader and knows how to create an environment that supports success. pollywilliams515@gmail.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/purposepartnersgroup/

Do you always conduct an organizational assessment as a part of your scope of work?

How (or do) you involve senior staff and other stakeholders in the process

Prior to narrowing the pool of candidates for a client, do you make it a practice to share the full list of applicants with the client?

Do you identify/place interim executives?

Do you have a minimum fee?

What percentage of your searches are for LA-based organizations?

What is your track record of placing BIPOC candidates?

Do you have a guarantee policy or an “off-limits” policy?