Finding Our Next Leader
(And a Transition Update)
I have a mixed relationship with January. From a work perspective, it energizes me because I consider the start of a new year as a clean slate. While I loathe New Year’s resolutions, my focus shifts to what success looks like for me at the end of the year. It provides a longer runway to reach the goals I establish instead of setting myself up for failure by assigning an artificial deadline that is never realistic.
Socially, there is a slower, more intentional pace when it comes to what my husband and I do together and with whom. I have always been frustrated by December’s pace and those back-to-back holiday parties where you get to see everyone a lot. However, when January rolls around you long for human contact and wish some of those parties were something to look forward to.
When it comes to CAMP Rehoboth, January is all about the year ahead. One of the biggest tasks is approving our annual budget which is more challenging than ever given so many unknowns. Take inflation’s impact on every expenditure CAMP Rehoboth makes, especially those related to our core services. For example, Letters would not exist without the paper it is printed on, yet the cost of paper continues to rise due to supply chain issues.
The cost of talent continues to rise even when the workforce is stable. CAMP Rehoboth’s healthcare costs are calculated based on the age of our staff which skews older currently, and overall insurance rates are expected to increase this year by five percent.
Speaking of the year ahead, the search for our next Executive Director is top of mind for the board. Cooper Coleman President Johnny Cooper (the firm we hired to conduct the search) asked if he could provide an update at our January board meeting. As I mentioned in my last column of 2022, Cooper Coleman was selected because of their experience placing senior executives in nonprofits, including those like CAMP Rehoboth.
In addition to conducting over 20 one-on-one interviews with various board members, staff, volunteers, donors, and other organizations that partner with CAMP Rehoboth, Johnny came to tour the campus and see Rehoboth Beach firsthand. He shared that finding the right candidate is a combination of identifying people with the right skills who have a passion for serving the LGBTQ community, and who want to work in a place like Rehoboth Beach.
Johnny explained that successful searches happen when Cooper Coleman paints a complete picture of the role. That includes describing what day-to-day life is like in a beach community located within driving distance of—but not really near—a major city.
During his visit, he toured the campus, met the staff—along with CAMPcierge Joe Vescio—and was introduced to Rehoboth’s most iconic resident: Tony Burns. Tony just happened to walk in at the same time as Johnny.
I explained Tony’s long history with CAMP Rehoboth and how his photos have served to chronicle our history over the past 30 years. We discussed how readers of Letters often turn to the CAMPshots pages first when a new issue comes out to see if they made our version of Page Six.
Johnny reviewed their search process approach as well as what had been accomplished to date. Since the search went live on January 18, Cooper Coleman has posted it far and wide on go-to websites for candidates seeking their next nonprofit role: LinkedIn, CenterLink, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Association of Fundraising Professionals, and Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement. They also reminded us to share the position announcement with CAMP Rehoboth’s networks, which includes the staff, board, volunteers, and members.
People often ask me who I think is the right person to fill the vacancy and my answer has changed slightly since hiring Cooper Coleman. Instead of describing the type of skills, I now say this: the next Executive Director of CAMP Rehoboth is passionate about serving the needs of a thriving LGBTQ community that includes a growing retiree population, second homeowners who live here part-time, full-time residents with children, and visitors from around the country.
This person is CAMP’s external ambassador and champion, a charismatic, engaging leader with a passion for building community and making genuine connections with donors, elected officials, and organizations throughout Delaware with which we do and can partner, who provide services for this diverse constituency. Finally, it is someone who has a vision and experience implementing a strategic plan that enables CAMP Rehoboth to continue being the largest and only organization of its type serving the needs of LGBTQ people in Rehoboth, greater Sussex County, and throughout the state of Delaware.
Here’s your opportunity to help us find the best candidate possible. Please share the job posting with your personal networks on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or send it directly to anyone you think would be a great fit or would know a person to recommend. You can find the job posting on our website by clicking on About Us then Press. Please make sure to include this link—coopercoleman.com/current-searches—which takes readers to the page where the listing is located. ▼
Wesley Combs is CAMP Rehoboth Board President.