Crucial Executive Director Search for a Growing, Impactful Organization

The Client.

The Honnold Foundation promotes solar energy for a more equitable world. Founded by professional rock climber Alex Honnold in 2012, the Honnold Foundation supports community-based organizations worldwide that provide solar energy to underserved communities. Partners are supported through grants, project management, and storytelling resources to increase solar energy access, provide job training and amplify energy self-sufficiency initiatives that reduce environmental impact and improve peoples’ lives. 

Executive Search, Executive Director.

OE [formerly Schaffer&Combs] was hired by the Honnold Foundation to replace their long-term Executive Director who built the organization in partnership with the Founder and Board. OE was asked to place a practiced Executive Director who could continue to grow the organization. 

Contexts and Challenges.

The Honnold Foundation search committee was eager to bring in an experienced Executive Director that could continue to expand the organization’s reach and increase its impact. They also wanted someone who was fluent in another language, ideally in Spanish, so as to more authentically connect with some of their partners. This left a narrow window in the marketplace for candidates that could check all of the boxes.

Consultant Strategies.

Expanding our sourcing parameters, OE adopted additional search tactics to specifically connect with potential candidates that spoke fluent Spanish or another second language (after English). We were able to identify a candidate that had both the nonprofit ED experience that the Honnold Foundation needed but also spoke fluent Spanish and French, and conversational Hindi.


After processing 132 candidates during a five-month process, OE was able to place a strong Executive Director, Emily Teitsworth, who had 17 years of experience developing, growing, and evolving programs in the mission driven space.

Client Reaction.

“During my job search, I had the opportunity to interact with several of the major executive search firms in the Bay Area, and without a doubt, your team was the most engaged and responsive from the applicant perspective” 

– Emily Teitsworth, candidate hired for the Executive Director role

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