Congratulations to Year Up and Willow Bechtel!

Pillar's Search Success

Pillar Search is pleased to announce the placement of Willow Bechtel as Senior Director of National Accounts with Year UpYear Up is an award-winning national 501(c)3 organization striving to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults ages 18-24 with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Through a one-year intensive training program, these young adults complete a unique combination of rigorous, hands-on technical and professional skills training, college credit, and corporate internships.


Willow will work with major Fortune 500 corporate partners in need of talent, providing trained, high-potential urban young adults with internship opportunities. She will provide strategic direction, collaborating with colleagues at the national and site levels across the Year Up network.


Willow joins Year Up from Miller Heiman Group, where she has worked in both enterprise and global sales, most recently as Sales Director. Prior, Willow held the roles of Director of Sales Operations, Sales Training Manager, and Business Development Manager with M Squared Consulting. Earlier in her career, Willow served in a variety of sales and sales management positions with Apple and Xerox. In addition to her impressive sales career, Willow held fundraising roles with schools in California and Australia. Willow is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.


Hire the best! With personalized service and proven results, Pillar Search & HR Consulting provides retained executive search services for exceptional non-profits and socially responsible for-profit firms. A woman-owned business, Pillar is based in Boston, MA, and works on the national level. To learn more about how Pillar can assist with your search needs, please contact Cindy Joyce at

Executive Director Pro Bono Posting for SLAM! Program Los Angeles

SLAM! Program Los Angeles, a project of Community Partners, is a nonprofit, school-based program whose mission is to provide students from underserved schools with accessible, contemporary and tuition-free music instruction.  Our program is delivered through a network of volunteer college students, creating opportunities for mentorship and professional development through a shared experience of music. Our program offers a variety of classes at each partnering school, including Piano, Guitar, Percussion, Voice, Music Production, Songwriting, and Rock Band.


Core Values

  • Self-Esteem: The arts build community, which directly enhances students’ self-esteem.
  • Learning: Learning music is not a privilege, but a necessity for a well-rounded education.
  • Access: Every student deserves access to quality and affordable music instruction.
  • Musical Expression: Students need a voice that transcends language and dialect.


We believe that a strong student-teacher relationship has the power to change lives.


Starting out as a small pilot program in 2011, SLAM! has since grown into an expansive network that serves more than four hundred students across eleven Los Angeles middle and high schools, supported by one hundred volunteer instructors matriculating at the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, and Musicians Institute in Hollywood. In March of 2013, SLAM! became a fiscally sponsored project of Community Partners in order to support growing demand for SLAM! programming at additional schools. SLAM!’s Advisory Board recently completed a formal strategic plan which will guide the organization’s strategic priorities and financial growth from an operating budget of $170,000 to a projected $300,000 budget in the coming three years.


Executive Director Job Description 

The Executive Director of SLAM! Program Los Angeles is responsible for partnering with the Advisory Board to develop and implement the overall vision and strategic objectives for the organization. The individual will report directly to the Advisory Board, currently comprised of 9 members, and supervise 3 full-time and part-time staff members who oversee the delivery of our program model at each of our university chapters and middle and high school partners.


SLAM! offers a unique opportunity for an entrepreneurial, high-energy, and self-directed leader to build the foundation for growing our movement. The ideal candidate for this role is a passionate, committed organizer who can drive the impact of a lean and high-performing start-up organization. S/he will bring experience managing a team, executing against an agreed upon strategic direction, and familiarity with the broad education landscape in Los Angeles. The Executive Director’s responsibilities include: Fundraising and Development, Program Operations and Management, Board Governance and Strategic Vision, and Marketing and Community Relations.


Fundraising and Development (40%)

  • Provide organizational leadership in all aspects of fundraising and development, establishing personal relationships with key funders and donors in order to facilitate the creation of new and renewed sources of major gifts and philanthropic support
  • Work closely with the Advisory Board to develop annual fundraising plans and resources, consistently meeting or exceeding established goals
  • Work with relevant staff members to prepare grant proposals and reports, identify new grantmaker prospects, and meet all grant compliance requirements
  • Develop a robust individual giving program to cultivate existing donors for ongoing support and seek new and diverse donor prospects
  • Identify and maintain strong relationships with key community partners to diversify and expand the organization’s donor base


Program Operations and Management (25%)

  • Communicate and collaborate consistently with Community Partners, SLAM!’s fiscal sponsor, regarding all financial management, human resources, and legal counsel needs
  • Provide guidance, coaching, and supervision to the staff team in the high quality implementation of the SLAM! program model at all university chapters and partner schools
  • Oversee the school outreach and intake process as a liaison and ex-officio member of the Advisory Board in alignment with the organization’s projected growth
  • Execute a rigorous, timely, and professional hiring process for any available staff positions
  • Orchestrate the purchase, storage, and upkeep of a comprehensive equipment and supplies inventory across all SLAM! partner sites and central storage facilities
  • Encourage staff satisfaction and retention by fostering meaningful opportunities for their professional development and growth
  • Review position descriptions, ensuring they are up-to-date and that compensation is current with industry standards, and complete annual professional performance reviews
  • Appropriately address job performance issues in a timely and direct manner
  • Supervise financial activities in consultation with Community Partners’ Finance team to ensure that all revenues, obligations, reports, and filings are collected, paid and submitted



Board Governance and Strategic Vision (20%)

  • Provide visionary and inspirational leadership to all board members, staff, and volunteers, helping to build an innovative, entrepreneurial and nimble organization that is responsive to the needs of volunteers, school partners, and broader community
  • Establish strong working relationships with board members during and outside of board meetings, encouraging all members to participate actively and facilitating their involvement beyond board meetings
  • Provide the board with appropriate materials prior to each meeting and inform board members of any critical issues that need to be addressed
  • Oversee the annual preparation and monitoring of the budget in consultation with the board
  • Identify new board members whose talents, background, interests, experience, and commitment will further the mission and expand support


Marketing and Community Relations (15%)

  • Create and implement a comprehensive marketing and communications plan including: brand consistency, social media engagement, online communications, and related activities
  • Provide leadership and guidance to staff members and board members responsible for supporting marketing and communication efforts
  • Develop and distribute consistent digital communications to all organization stakeholders
  • Actively participate in the Los Angeles arts and education communities, attending conferences, receptions, workshops, and events to boost the organization’s visibility
  • Increase widespread knowledge of SLAM!, ensuring that the public as well as current or potential partners and funders understand its value and potential




Qualified applicants will have:

  • A deep passion for arts education, youth mentorship, and leadership development
  • A minimum of 5 years experience in a leadership role within an organization
  • Demonstrated track record of fundraising or business development through corporate and private foundations, event planning, and individual giving
  • Demonstrated ability to inspire, empower, and uplift others in a professional setting
  • Expertise in planning, organizational development, and team or culture building
  • Ability to balance day-to-day demands with big-picture vision and strategy
  • Familiarity with the Los Angeles school system and education policies specific to after school program providers
  • A broad network of contacts and potential partners eager to move the mission forward
  • An entrepreneurial mindset and interest in social entrepreneurship
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to balance multiple priorities
  • Excellent organizational skills, strategic thinking, and problem solving orientation
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills, both oral and written, with individuals across a variety of developmental and professional stages
  • Strong technological fluency (Microsoft Office Suite, Google Apps for Nonprofits, Mailchimp, WordPress, and database management, etc.)
  • The ability and flexibility to travel to partner schools across Los Angeles and work remotely with consistent access to:
    • High speed internet
    • Personal laptop with current operating system capabilities
    • Quiet and professional environment for phone or online meetings
  • A bachelor’s degree, master’s degree preferred


Compensation and Benefits

Position can be structured as a full or part time role. A comprehensive compensation package commensurate with experience is provided through Community Partners and includes full medical, dental, life, and long-term disability insurance benefits. SLAM! Program Los Angeles, a fiscally sponsored project of Community Partners, is an equal opportunity employer. The organization will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring.


For more information, please visit and


To Apply

Please submit a resume and cover letter to with your name in the subject line and all attachments. Applications accepted until position is filled.

Another Successful Search for Year Up from Pillar Executive Search!

Pillar's Search Success

Pillar Search is proud to have successfully partnered with Year Up on the search for their new Associate Director of Partner Relations and to announce the placement of Deborah Matteson.

Year Up is an award-winning national 501(c)3 organization striving to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults ages 18-24 with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Through a one-year intensive training program, these young adults complete a unique combination of rigorous, hands-on technical and professional skills training, college credit, and corporate internships.

Based in Year Up’s Boston office, Deborah will manage existing partner relationships, facilitating interactions between Year Up, interns and corporate partners to create mutually beneficial business relationships. As part of the Corporate Engagement team, Deborah will help to connect top corporations in need of talent with high-potential urban young adults, ensuring high levels of partner satisfaction.

Deborah has extensive experience in sales and account management, and has worked with companies such as Brafton, Aberdeen Group, Nth Degree Events, and Monster. Deborah earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University.

With personalized service and proven results, Pillar is your partner in executive search and human resources consulting. With over 20 years of experience, Pillar provides retained search services for exceptional non-profits and foundations and early-stage or rapid growth for-profit firms. A woman-owned business, Pillar is based in Boston, MA, and works on both a local and national level. To learn more about how Pillar can assist with your search needs, please contact Cindy Joyce at

Onboard or Onward: Ensuring the Success of Your New Executive Hire

“About 40% of executives who change jobs or get promoted fail in the first 18 months.”

Fortune Magazine

Where does it all go wrong? Too often, the onboarding process is where things fall apart. I am not talking about “orientation”, which often is done day one and generally involves the basics of assigning a building pass, conducting a benefits overviews, meeting the team and reading a few policies. Onboarding is a longer process, and if done well (typically in partnership with Human Resources and managed by the new executive’s manager, or the Board Chair if they report to the Board of Directors) can almost guarantee fit. It is holistic and gradual. It is also very deliberate, and will require constant check-ins and open communication.  Here are five key activities that will help to ensure that your new executive will be successful in their new role:

Start to Onboard Before They are Actually ON BOARD!

The time between an offer being accepted and the executive starting is sensitive. They may be dealing with a counteroffer, having to say goodbye to much-loved colleagues, and are nervous about this new venture. Keep in touch. Reiterate your excitement to have them joining the team, and have a few people in the organization reach out. If there are organizational overviews, annual reports, strategic plans or other things that that they can read up on ahead of time, get those to them during this time so that they start to feel like part of the team.

Send an announcement out to the staff and the board a few days before their start date explaining their background and the job they are filling. This will help make them seem more familiar to the team when they come through the door, and as an added benefit they will not have to review their resume and background with absolutely everyone in their first week or so.

Relationship Before Task 

Ideally, new executives will meet with their team and people across the organization. One-on-one meetings are great, but remind those who will be meeting with the executive to get to know them before delving into the inner workings of their role or the issues they face. Building rapport with new colleagues and direct reports is critical in the early days.

Learn By Doing 

Too often, in an effort to get all the information to a new hire as soon as possible, they are introduced to processes way too soon. Guess what? They will not remember how to do an expense report or change their password or complete a sales report 30 to 60 days in when they actually need to do it if they are taught how to do it their first week. Have the right people meet with them at the start to review the process at a high level, and then have them set up a time to do it later when they can sit down with real data and learn from it real-time.

The Buddy System 

What we learned in grade school still applies: the buddy system works when the new kid starts. This should not be the executive’s manager, but a peer or high-performing direct report who has longevity and the personality to be an effective buddy. The buddy can manage the nicety of taking them to lunch on day one and being available to explain the intricacies of culture, relationship dynamics, and certain pitfalls to avoid, which are things that the executive may not be comfortable asking of higher-ups.

Check In Early & Often

I too often hear that executives join, get a ton of attention the first day or two, and then are largely left on their own. It does not feel welcoming, and it runs the risk of them going in a direction that is difficult to course-correct later on. Meet with them daily, even for 10-15 minutes, in the first few weeks. Move on to twice weekly, weekly….you get the point. Let them know where they are doing a great job. Let them know where they need to take a different approach. But LET THEM KNOW. Being clear on what is a success will lead to more success.

While by no means a complete onboarding process, following the steps above will help to ensure that your new executive hire is one of the 60% who will be a success in the first 18 months.

Cindy Joyce is an Executive Recruiter and the Founder of Pillar Search, an Executive Search and HR Consulting firm located in Boston that works with clients nationwide. She can be reached here.

Landing a Job With Your Professional “Crush”

We’ve all seen them: The job posting that grabs your attention and you cannot get it out of your mind because it is your dream job. Be it working for a cause you adore, as part of a celebrity nonprofit whose founder you admire, on a fantastic product team, or with an artist who you are a huge fan of, the dream job does not have to be merely a dream. Before zipping off your resume, take a deep breath and follow some of these tips to ensure that you showcase your killer talents and skills in the best light. Drumroll, please:


  • Look at the job description very closely. If it is truly a match, pass go, collect $200, and apply immediately! If not, think before you apply. I have done searches for a celebrity-related organizations, rock star status money managers, and arts organizations that receive literally hundreds of unsolicited resumes each week because people are so excited to work there, but for the most part they are not a match in terms of experience fit.  Sending a resume to a job that you are not qualified for will not get the results you want. Wait for a job that fits your skills, as the competition for these “sexy” positions will be fierce.
  • Research the role and the company or organization. Go beyond their website. Who do they partner with? Are they on social media? Do they do a signature event? Check out similar organizations as well. If it is a non-profit, look at Guidestar. If it is a for-profit, check out their annual report. See what press is available about them so that when you craft the cover letter, and hopefully when you have an interview, you can demonstrate that you walk the walk and talk the talk.
  • Write a thoughtful cover letter that highlights your skills and what makes you the ideal candidate. In the cover letter, do not tell the designer that you love her shoes. Do not tell the movie star that you loved their latest movie. They have fans. They need an Executive Director, PR pro, Personal Assistant, or whatever role they have open. Their focus will be on the person who is best equipped to fill that need, not on the one who is most star-struck.
  • If it is a mission-based organization (i.e., nonprofit or foundation), you can and should share if you are a believer in their cause and how their mission resonates with you, but be sure to temper it. Human Resources and Executive Recruiting firms will see right through if it is not sincere. I know someone who worked in the marketing area of a Major League Baseball team’s charitable foundation and she applied despite the fact that she despised baseball. She shared with me that she adored their mission and the work they did with children’s health and education and said she was willing to “put up” with the baseball to get the job working on a cause she loved. That kind of passion shines through.
  • Do not use social media to announce that you are interviewing with a company or organization. It happened during a search and let’s just say that it was not viewed kindly. Organizations with celebrity and/or brand name affiliation will expect discretion.
  • Most importantly, be yourself. Yes, this may be a dream job, and you are probably chomping at the bit to get it, but be real. Be you. I have seen finalists in incredibly competitive searches who meet with the top person or board hiring committee and do incredibly well by relaxing, letting their guard down, and showing their true and talented self.


Best of luck in your job search!


Cindy Joyce, Founder, Pillar Search