Opportunity as President to lead prestigious foundation seeking to improve global food security
The World Food Prize Foundation heralds the breakthrough achievements of great agricultural scientists and leaders working to end poverty and hunger in the developing world. The organization also convenes important stakeholders to address the multidimensional challenges of food security and major agricultural issues.
The Foundation has retained Kincannon & Reed to recruit a President to succeed an exceptional leader who will retire in late 2019. We seek talented, highly-respected leaders from the food and agriculture sectors, academia, and non-profit organizations who have a passion for food security, humanitarian work, and the developing world and significant experience in inspiring stakeholders to tackle pressing global issues.
About the Foundation
Based in Des Moines, Iowa, the World Food Prize Foundation (www.worldfoodprize.org) honors “the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.” The Foundation coordinates the World Food Prize award, the Borlaug Dialogue, and youth programs to focus on global food and agriculture issues and to inspire the next generation of scientific and humanitarian leaders.
The World Food Prize is an international award founded by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug – the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. He envisioned a prestigious, international award given each year to honor the work of great agricultural scientists working to end hunger and to inspire breakthrough achievements. Since 1986, the Foundation has honored 48 individuals as World Food Prize Laureates for their vital contributions to improving global food security.
Borlaug infused the Foundation with his philosophy that confronting hunger and poverty can bring people together across even the widest political, religious, ethic, or diplomatic divides. Each year, in conjunction with the laureate ceremony, the Foundation conducts a symposium, known as the Borlaug Dialogue, that attracts more than 1,200 attendees from over 65 countries. The week-long program of events convenes a wide array of scientific experts, policy leaders, business executives, and farmers. Their discussions cover pressing global issues of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, disease, burgeoning global population, and climate change.
The Foundation is deeply committed to youth activities and education to help further the discussion on global food security issues and to inspire the next generation of hunger fighters. Participants of these programs are encouraged to apply for the prestigious World Food Prize internship programs for positions with international research institutions, USDA research and policy offices, and the Foundation. Through these unique learning experiences, many interns are inspired to embark on a career in science, agriculture, and global development.
In 1990, the business leader and philanthropist John Ruan Sr. established a $10 million endowment to support the World Food Prize and relocated its headquarters to Des Moines. Today, over 80 companies, foundations, and individuals are donors to the Foundation. The Ruan family plays a key role in continuing the vision of Dr. Borlaug.
The World Food Prize Foundation is based in an award-winning facility in downtown Des Moines. In 2009, the Foundation’s $30 million project transformed the historic former public library into the home of the World Food Prize and its staff. The “Hall of Laureates” is a public museum, educational facility, and a place of inspiration.
The current President of the Foundation, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, joined the organization in 2000 after a distinguished career in the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service. During his exemplary service at the Foundation, Quinn built a passionate team of staffers, led the organization’s annual fundraising, guided the Foundation’s programs and awards, and represented the Foundation and its mission around the globe. In late March 2019, President Quinn announced that he will retire from the Foundation in January 2020.
About the Position
With his visionary leadership and commitment to Dr. Borlaug’s legacy, Ambassador Quinn guided the growth of the Foundation’s programs and helped develop the award into the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture.” The next President will build upon the organization’s sterling reputation in the global food and agriculture community and will have significant influence on the long-term direction of the organization.
Reporting to the Foundation’s Board and working closely with the Council of Advisors, the President is responsible for championing the organization and catalyzing support for its mission and programs. S/he will lead the organization (budget and staff) in its program development, fundraising, and external relationships. Together, the Board and the President will carry out the Foundation’s mission, vision, and goals and ensure the accountability of the World Food Prize to its diverse constituents.
Specific responsibilities include:
- Guide the Foundation’s review, development, and execution of its vision, mission, strategy, and annual and long term goals with the staff and Board. Provide insights that facilitate the Board’s oversight and governance;
- Prepare the Foundation’s annual plan and budget for approval by Board. Manage budget implementation and ensure the organization’s fiscal responsibility, long-term sustainability, and management of finances;
- Lead the planning and implementation of two annual events – selection, announcement, and award ceremony for the World Food Prize Laureate and the week-long Borlaug Dialogue symposium. Provide guidance and support to WFP’s growing youth education and internship programs;
- Exhibit passion for improving global food security and supporting scientific and humanitarian leaders working to end hunger. Actively engage with the broader scientific, agriculture, food, development, and governmental communities to influence thinking, advocate for Foundation goals, and gain support for shared objectives.
- Serve as the senior Foundation spokesperson in the global food and agriculture community and with external stakeholders (e.g., media, interest groups, development organizations, policymakers, and public). Communicate regularly to build awareness and strengthen the brand and profile of the Foundation and its programs;
- Identify and cultivate partnership and funding opportunities. Build and maintain strong working relationships with donors and partners. Balance interests of all stakeholders. Work closely with the Board and other advisors to help the Foundation achieve its fundraising goals;
- Lead the day-to-day operations of the Foundation. Manage the infrastructure and human resources to grow and optimize operational and financial performance;
- Build a strong team by selecting and developing key management. Establish staff priorities and objectives. Implement clear standards of performance, measurement of results, and appropriate reward programs, including compensation, benefits, and incentives;
- Maintain organization reputation by communicating its core values, ensuring transparency, and leading with integrity. Ensure compliance with laws and regulations relating to operations of a nonprofit foundation.
The position is based at the Foundation’s offices in Des Moines, Iowa. In this locale, residents find affordable living, vibrant downtown amenities, welcoming suburbs, world-class education and commute times averaging 20 minutes or less. The metro Des Moines area is no longer a well-kept secret. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked the city as #5 Best Place to Live in the U.S. and #3 Best Affordable Place to Live in the U.S. Also, it was ranked #7 Best Place for Business and Careers (Forbes, 2018) and Top 10 Most Artistic Medium-Sized City (Expedia, 2018).
The Foundation seeks an executive with exceptional executive presence, leadership skills, and results-orientation to take the Foundation to its next level of impact, influence, and recognition among international and national decision-makers, stakeholders, and peers. S/he will be a strategic thinker, persuasive communicator, and effective manager with a demonstrated passion for improving global food security and/or humanitarian issues. More specifically, the Foundation seeks candidates with most or all the following experiences, skills, and personal characteristics:
- Professional experience in food and agriculture systems, preferably with public and private organizations. Broad global network, including familiarity with relevant private and public national, regional, and global institution;
- Knowledge of contemporary issues related to food and agriculture and an understanding of the role that science and policy can play in improving the livelihoods of the resource poor in developing countries;
- Success in the hands-on management and oversight of a business, nonprofit, or government agency. Proven ability to successfully manage budgets and lead fiscal management activities;
- Experienced leader-coach who can attract, retain, and motivate high-caliber, diverse talent, connect with staff/volunteers at all levels, and foster a culture of results-orientation, collaboration, and mutual respect;
- A track record of success and organization growth in advocacy, marketing, communications, philanthropy, diplomacy, and/or community/corporate relations with the ability to contribute to “brand building” efforts;
- Understanding of fundraising and development. Intuition to cultivate stakeholders and confidently ask for their time and resources;
- Demonstrated capacity to forge innovative and strategic partnerships with diverse partners to help assure program quality, relevance, and impact.
Skills and personal characteristics
- A strategic thinker who understands the importance of a clear vision and focused mission with measurable outcomes. Demonstrated ability to break down broad goals into achievable milestones with associated action plans and deliverables, to anticipate and solve problems, and to take advantage of opportunities;
- Excellent communication skills. Experienced in making persuasive presentations to diverse internal and external stakeholders from across the globe;
- A strong executive presence that portrays confidence, initiative, and a straightforward tenor to interpersonal relationships. A collaborative leadership style that inspires his/her team to perform at their best;
- Sound judgment and unquestionable integrity. High emotional intelligence, political discernment, and sensitivity. Strong work ethic, flexibility, and physical/intellectual energy. Self-confidence, yet humble;
- An affinity for agriculture, food, food security, and the people involved in it around the globe;
- Willingness to travel domestically and internationally.
For consideration as a candidate or to suggest a prospective candidate, please contact in confidence:
Jon Leafstedt, Managing Partner +1 515 267 9400 firstname.lastname@example.org
Heiri Gugger, Managing Partner +1 919 349 8871 email@example.com
Elizabeth Olsen, Director +1 206 842 2522 firstname.lastname@example.org
Florrie Wallace, Director of Research +1 903 534 3673 email@example.com