Helbling partnered with the institute’s Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and related Directors as well as a talent acquisition manager and a senior recruiter on the search for a Senior Director, Facilities Strategy & Operation. Following a planning session with the client team, our search consultants identified proficient facilities leaders from higher education and healthcare facilities, research institutes, biopharmaceutical research organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and tech companies. The corporate sector was included on this list because the client understood that it might produce candidates with greater financial and general business acumen.
The Helbling team also honed in on specific skills crucial for the role. Primarily, it was important to identify candidates who understand the complexities of working within a research environment, specifically an academic research environment. As the search evolved, the COVID-19 pandemic substantially impacted how our client viewed their working space requirements. Space planning experience and the ability to think strategically and provide innovative solutions to facilities and space challenges became more critical factors to evaluate in prospective candidates. Equally important, the leader needed to have the capacity to engage and communicate effectively with various stakeholders, including the institute’s board and end users. In addition to strong verbal communication skills, candidates were required to have excellent writing skills because a responsibility of the Senior Director is writing grant proposals for the institute.