Hutchinson Group: Connecting Leaders

TWU and Hutchinson Group have a shared common goal: raising leaders for the marketplaces of the world. The Alumni Office is proud to have Hutchinson Group as the title sponsor of the Alumni Weekend 2013’s community stage.

We connected with David Hutchinson, President and CEO of Hutchinson Group, to discuss a hot topic in today’s non-profit sector: succession.

Succession is anticipated to be one of the greatest challenges faced by charities in the next ten years as the majority of Canada’s 86,600 charitable organizations struggle to find new capable leaders.

TWU business alumnus David Hutchinson (’88), is ready to take on this challenge. He has a vision for helping build strong non-profits in Canada that are led by capable and passionate leaders.

David’s executive search firm has a strong understanding of the needs and challenges faced by non-profits. They specialize in finding skilled professionals who can lead and build non-profit organizations.

David sees succession as the biggest, most important issue facing the charitable sector. In Canada, there is a need for more qualified candidates to fill the leadership positions at non-profits, particularly in fundraising. The reason for this is a generational gap in talent. The charitable sector has not always been considered a desirable career choice.

Current leadership is made up of baby boomers who didn’t study non-profit business, but are qualified through years of experience. Non-profit leadership specialization in higher education is a growing area of study.

As a result, though the next generation desires a profession in the charitable sphere and seeks formal training, it lacks any practical experience. Therein lies the gap between the two generational groups—one is ready to retire, the next isn’t prepared to take over, or is waiting for the opportunity.

While succession is a major issue, David recognizes that there is a solution. “The key to succession,” he says, “is succession planning—identifying and developing leadership potential internally. Organizations need to ask themselves who will be their next leader. Recognizing potential internal talent and nurturing it is essential for the longevity of a non-profit.” Proactively developing a talent pool of both internal and external candidates is key in order to identify the most qualified individual.

“At Hutchinson Group, we want to identify the best talent for our clients’ needs while being realistic and embracing the charitable sector’s evolving nature, compared to the corporate and private sectors,” says David. “We look for people with a heart for the cause.”

David encourages current students and new alumni of TWU’s School of Business to not underestimate the potential within the charitable sector. There is a growing convergence within business practice: money is no longer the bottom line—some investors value social impact as well as they do financial return. This is seen through organizations giving, creating, and partnering with charities. Consequently, there is room in all areas of business for strong Christian-value-based leadership and an understanding of charitable business practices. “An understanding of how to make an impact with hearts and souls is invaluable in today’s marketplace,” says David, “and that is not limited to charities.”

Currently, Hutchinson Group has partnered with the University to assist in the search for TWU’s next president—a big job, but one that it is very qualified to take on.

Learn more about Hutchinson Group.

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