YMCA

CEO & National Secretary

Overview

The YMCA is the largest and oldest youth charity in the world. It is a global, faith-based movement responding to the needs of young people around the world. From its humble beginnings in the City of London in 1844, the YMCA has grown to become a worldwide organisation reaching around 45 million members in 119 countries. As the founding ‘country’, YMCA England plays an important role in the worldwide movement and YMCA Europe.

Following a competitive process, Warren Partners was selected by the YMCA England Chairman and Board of Trustees to undertake the search to find a new Chief Executive Office / National Secretary. YMCA England sought an exceptional individual able to provide inspiring leadership to the Movement - a federated structure comprising 125 YMCAs each of which is an independent, self-governing charity that affiliates to YMCA England - whilst ensuring the organisation’s role in society and the voice of young people continued to gain increasing prominence and influence. A personal commitment to the Christian faith was a genuine occupational requirement of the role and added a further unique dynamic to the nature of the search.

“Thank you for giving us the support to achieve the result we were looking for; genuinely the best person for the job.”

Challenge

Like many charitable organisations, YMCA England continues to face considerable challenge and change. Ambitious goals for the future are being faced at a time when statutory funding is decreasing and there is an ever more reliance on fundraising and the support of donors in order to create a more sustainable organisation. Ensuring the YMCAs continue to have a national voice whilst at the same time, as a representative body, advocating for the needs of the most vulnerable young people in England were crucial considerations requiring strong powers of tact, diplomacy, emotional reliance and commercial know-how. Additionally, achieving a proper balance between managing the demands of the YMCA Movement, a complex external stakeholder landscape incorporating YMCA Europe and a YMCA World Alliance, as well as managing a sizeable operational management team, were considered key determinants in the Chief Executive’s success in the role.

Outcome

Feedback courtesy of Martin Houghton-Brown, Chief Executive Depaul UK & Trustee, YMCA England…

“…Dear Rupert,

No task can be more important than hiring for the top job. As a trustee of YMCA England I had the privilege of being on the selection panel for the new Chief Executive and therefore also engaging with Warren Partners as the agency supporting the process and as such I felt it appropriate to give you some feedback. I have worked with many agencies but this was a very different experience. I felt that your expertise in selection was strengthening every step of the process.

You were acutely aware of the needs of all of our stakeholders and this was demonstrated in the care with which you undertook your research. One of the welcome surprises in the process was your 'career coaching' for unsuccessful candidates. Genuinely helping those for whom is was not the right job, was completely in tune with YMCA's values and demonstrated our respect for those candidates.

Of course most importantly we found the right Chief Executive. We are confident that we have the right person for us and that through your rigorous process we have thoroughly tested her both against our benchmarks and against her peers. Thank you for giving us the support to achieve the result we were looking for; genuinely the best person for the job.

Kind regards, Martin….”


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