Case Studies

Here’s a few case studies to showcase some of our service offerings

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Auction of Washington Wines
Project: Search Management, HR infrastructure building
Company Type: Non-Profit

HRSI functioned as a virtual HR department for AWW leading the development of an employee handbook, guiding the Executive Director through a sensitive performance evaluation process and working with a statewide Board of Directors in the strategic hiring process for two C-level roles.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Vietnamese Friendship Association
Project: On-site, Interim Leadership and Search Management
Company Type: Non-Profit

The Vietnamese Friendship Association is a leader in building relationships in the Vietnamese, API and Refugee and Immigrant community to support students to be college ready, families to be self-reliant the community to be heard and represented.

HRSI engaged in a 6 month classic ‘Be the Executive Director, find the Executive Director’ project acting as Interim Executive Director and spearheading the search from this internal vantage point. During this period we worked with all levels of the organization in the areas of board training and development, complex new project management (multi fund sourced bilingual preschool) and hiring new capacity building roles (grant writer) within VFA.

Client: Hilltop Children’s Center
Project: On-site, Interim Leadership, Search Management, Executive Coaching, and Retreat Facilitation
Company Type: Non-Profit

HRSI has provided year over year agile consulting services to Hilltop Children’s Center in the capacity of Interim Executive Director, Search facilitations, significant organizational change initiatives, Board of Director and internal retreat facilitation, employee relations guidance, emotional intelligence training and senior team executive coaching. Our consultant has remained a resource and lead consulting in HCC’s new organizational arm ( Hilltop Learning Institute) and has functioned as a senior business advisor.

Client: Hilltop Children’s Center
Project: Executive, Management Team & Staff Coaching
Company Type: Childcare, Learning Institute

HRSI supported this organization over the course of 18 months through targeted coaching with the Executive Director, Management team and teaching staff. Utilizing a real time human centered design approach to coaching, we were able to focus each leader and team on clarifying their thoughts, re-framing behavior, developing outcomes and creating a strategy to move into execution.

Coaching included a basic ‘Intake Phase’ characterized by deep listening, honest reflection and identification of personal leadership strengths and challenges.

Next was the ‘Requirements Phase’ including clarifying the leader and teams optimal outcomes, barriers and formulating a Personal Development Plan.

Lastly was the ‘Developmental Phase’ focusing on growing a personal tool kit through coaching, external readings and exercises to move the leader and team to the next aligned decision making step.

Through this process and the individual identification of leadership styles, we were able to leverage team member strengths to clearly define roles and responsibilities, achieve a high level of collaboration and successful outcomes in a new line of business.

  • As we embarked on our search to replace our Executive Director, we were mindful to honor the culture and history of our organization. In accepting the position of Interim Director, Carmen D'Arcangelo recognized the necessity for undertaking an in-­-depth review of HCC’s programs and personnel to fully comprehend the context in which she would be working. As Interim ED, not only did she perform the broad duties of the ED, she shepherded us through the search process for finding a permanent ED. Carmen provided Hilltop with an incredible amount of support throughout the transition and expertly strategized the search activities. Through the process of the search, she inspired our Board to recognize that we had an internal candidate that embodied the qualities we were seeking in an executive director.  Based on the Board’s enthusiasm around this candidate, Carmen devised an Executive Director in Residence program to help mentor this individual to assume the ED role. Assisting in evaluating Strategic Planning consultants, serving as a sounding board throughout the Strategic Planning process, and launching the Institute at Hilltop are among the initiatives with which she assisted.

    Hilltop Children's Center
recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Cornish College for the Arts
Project: Board Facilitated 360 Presidential Review Process
Company Type: Non-Profit

HRSI was brought in to spearhead a 360-degree performance review process for the President of Cornish College. Our consultant worked with the Executive Committee in planning, building and executing the review process culminating with a data review and debrief and strategic consultation on next steps based on the review process.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: WSFFN
Project: Board of Directors Merger Process Facilitation, Executive Search, and Retreat Facilitation
Company Type: Non-Profit

HRSI was brought in to spearhead and orchestrate the due diligence and merger considerations for WSFFN and another non-profit. Working closely with the BOD merger committee and the complete board we conducted a methodical inventory of considerations and critical choice points in the merger process. After deciding not to merge, WSFFN decided to engage with HRSI on leading their annual BOD retreat culminating in the launching of an official Executive Director search.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Housing Development Consortium
Project: 5 hour Membership Training
Company Type: Membership Association

HRSI provided highly interactive training to members of a senior leadership consortium in the areas of emotional intelligence, brain neurology, the impact of stories and conflict resolution.

After an initial assessment of the groups desired outcomes, we populated the training with their unique goals of managing from the middle. Exercises included worksheets, partner drills and individual reflection.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Pyramid Communications
Project: Variety of HR projects and programs
Company Type: Communications, Branding and Public Relations firm

A full-service agency, Pyramid delivers communications solutions for their clients. With expertise in branding, social media,and web design and more, Pyramid’s team brings a fresh perspective to amplify the positive impact of their client’s work.

As a founder-run business, Pyramid has developed a unique culture and values, but with less than 50 employees, the team is not quite big enough to have a dedicated HR leader. Our consultant was hired to focus on leadership development for the agency. We worked with senior leadership to develop a set of unique competencies that fit the values and culture. These competencies were carried throughout their HR practices – – from leadership hiring to performance management across the agency. Customized training from HRSI helped build confidence for leaders stepping into new roles to support agency growth.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Partners for Our Children
Project: On-site, Interim Leadership
Company Type: Non-Profit

Partners for Our Children is committed to improving the lives of Washington state foster children through rigorous research, analysis and evidence-based information. The organization, founded in 2007, is a collaborative effort of the University of Washington School of Social Work, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, and private funders.

POC engaged our consultant to step into an extremely unique organization – – based at the University, with a board representing all three sets of stakeholders, POC’s mission is extremely complex and high profile. After significant organizational change and restructuring, we led the organization and provided integral support to the executive search for the first 7 months of project. After successfully supporting the hiring and onboarding of the new Executive Director, we were asked to continue working on projects, including guiding the strategic planning process for the future of this child welfare research leader.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Thrive by Five Washington
Project: Variety of HR projects and programs
Company Type: Non-Profit

Thrive Washington is the state’s nonprofit public-private partnership for early learning. Thrive mobilizes the long-term statewide commitment to early learning, so that families and caregivers have the information and support they need to help their children succeed in school and thrive in life.

Our consulting team has had the opportunity to work closely with Thrive’s board and leadership staff over a number of years. As a small nonprofit, Thrive doesn’t have a dedicated HR leader, and leverages the HRSI team for various HR projects. Our team has worked closely with Thrive’s board on the supporting the CEO’s review process.

In partnership with Thrive’s leadership team, HRSI has supported recruiting, organizational development, performance management and review and values and culture development processes. We are proud of our ongoing affiliation with this exciting partner.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Washington Trails Association
Project: HR projects and programs; board and staff planning facilitation
Company Type: Non-Profit

Washington Trails Association (WTA), is the voice for hikers in Washington state. WTA believes hiking trails are our link to the wilderness. They protect hiking trails and wild lands, take volunteers out to maintain trails, and promote hiking as a healthy, fun way to explore the outdoors.

After an Executive Director transition, WTA’s board leadership invited our consultant to provide organizational development support to help the team make the right decision with their new Executive Director hire. What started as a small project has expanded to allow our consultant to engage in facilitating multiple board and staff retreats, executive coaching of the newly hired ED, and ongoing support of other HR projects.

  • “WTA had the pleasure of working with Christine for over two years.  She led retreats for both board and staff , provided guidance for our Executive Director transition, built our employee compensation program and lead our latest Strategic Planning process.  Christine provided strong leadership, superb expertise of the non-profit world, and an instinct for innovative and forward-thinking planning.  I look forward to working with her again in the future.”

    Executive Director Washington Trails Association
recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS)
Project: On-site, Interim leadership and Search Management
Company Type: Non-Profit

PEPS helps new parents to connect and grow. Parents come together each week to share the joys and challenges of parenthood and develop confidence in their own parenting abilities. For many parents, their PEPS Group becomes part of their extended family, a supportive community that lasts a lifetime.

Our consultant was fortunate to be selected to support PEPS during a recent leadership transition. This dynamic organization hired our consultant as the Interim Executive Director and Search Manager. While juggling the day to day management of PEPS programming, fund raising, staff management and board support, our consultant was able to successfully complete the hiring process in less than 4 months. Through community outreach and creative recruiting, we identified a fantastic new leader and worked closely to support and train the new ED helping to set the stage for the next generation of PEPS programming.

The board and staff were thrilled with the efficient process of our initial assignment and PEPS remains a HRSI client for other HR projects.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Plymouth Housing Group
Project: On-site, full-time human resources leadership.
Company Type: Non-Profit

This compelling organization builds sustainable housing options for formerly homeless individuals in the Seattle metropolitan area. With 13+ properties in the area and a budget of $15M, Plymouth employs over 100 staff members in all facets of program and facility management. Despite a strong history in Seattle and a large staff, Plymouth’s human resource practices lacked impact.

Our HRSI consultant joined the team in an interim HR leadership role at a critical juncture for the organization. We completed a full audit of all HR practices, and working with the executive team, made significant changes to process, tools and systems.

In just 3 short months, our team saved the organization 15% in benefit expenses, helped to bring a number of programs into compliance, and hired and trained an experienced HR leader to join the team.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: PlayStream, now a division of VitalStream
Project: Outsourced HR Support and Project Management
Company Type: Streaming Media Start Up

PlayStream, an innovative audio, video and multimedia content delivery service, initially brought HRSI in to lead a downsizing initiative with a focus on risk management, transparent and proactive communication and culture enhancement.

In weekly coaching sessions with the Founder and CEO a performance review process was created that aligns with future business objectives and cultural competencies. Over a 12 month period recruiting initiatives, handbook development and benefit communications were led by HRSI.

With the basic HR infrastructure in place, HRSI continued to administer and support PlayStream CEO and employees as the outsourced HR function in a wide array of projects.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Ventures (formerly Washington C.A.S.H.)
Project: On-site, Interim leadership
Company Type: Non-Profit

Ventures provides the business training, supportive community, and capital to help enterprising individuals with limited financial resources gain self-sufficiency through small business ownership.

During a time of significant transition for this entrepreneurial non-profit, our consultant stepped in as the Interim Executive for a period of 8 months. During this project, the team and the budget grew by 20%. We provided leadership to the relocation of the organization’s store, ‘Ventures’, vastly improving the sales prospects and opportunities for clients. The program also expanded to provide services in three new languages. We also successfully created business metrics and processes that helped the board better manage the organization, establishing best practices that serve the organization today.

recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: The Mockingbird Society
Project: Executive Search for Executive Director
Company Type: Non-Profit

The Mockingbird Society- a non-profit advocacy organization focused on improving the foster care system and ending youth homelessness- came to HRSI for help hiring their second Executive Director.  Replacing Jim Theofolis, the highly respected founder and leader of the organization for fourteen years, was a tall order.  The Board of Directors had run a search to replace Jim on their own earlier in the year that had not yielded the caliber of candidates they sought.  Thinking that the prospect of succeeding a successful and beloved founder was intimidating to a broader candidate pool, the Board opted to hire an Interim ED, Laura Pierce, and try the search again at another point.

Laura is a seasoned interim who is accustomed to managing an ED search for her clients but in this scenario she wanted to partner with a search expert to do a deep and broad outreach campaign to target a variety of candidates.  Karen worked with Laura to flesh out a comprehensive list of potential candidates and sources, and methodically worked through the list to encourage people to share the job description or consider the position themselves. 

Several passive candidates were engaged through the process, including one who initially declined to discuss the role based on her perceived deficiency in qualifications.  Karen persuaded her to just talk about the position and in that process discovered that despite not having prior Executive Director experience, she had a deep expertise on foster care and youth homelessness issues at the local and national level, and a personal story that would resonate strongly with the youth the organization serves as well as legislators.  After thoroughly describing the position and organizational context she convinced that prospect, Annie, to officially apply for the position and interview with the Transition Team.

After Karen interviewed fifteen candidates- presenting eight strong, diverse candidates to the Transition Team for review- the team opted to interview six.  Throughout the interview process all candidates were impressive in their own way but Annie, to quote a board member “rose head and shoulders above the rest.”  Annie became convinced through the conversations that her areas of weakness would be supported through the collective expertise of a strong staff and board. The interview team, comprised of board members, staff, and youth advocates unanimously agreed that Annie would be an inspiring and effective leader.  References conducted by Karen were absolutely glowing and it became clear that not only was Annie a highly competent, passionate, and driven leader but that she was a very special person who would be well equipped to speak convincingly on behalf of the disenfranchised population the organization serves and lead them into a new era.   An offer was made and enthusiastically accepted and all parties are thrilled with the results.

  • It has been a pleasure working with Karen and Christine at HRSI.  As a professional Interim Executive Director, I often lead the search project for my clients.  At The Mockingbird Society, I was able to partner with Karen to complement our work at a fraction of the cost of most search firms.  We relied on Karen to expand our candidate pool and conduct phone screenings.  Without Karen’s outreach, it was unlikely we would have engaged our successful candidate.  Karen was highly skilled and professional, and was able to focus on recruitment and keep the process moving better and faster than I would have otherwise.  We are delighted with the results of our search.

    Interim Executive Director Mockingbird Society
recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Child Care Aware of Washington
Project: Interim Executive Director, Organizational Development and Strategic Planning
Company Type: Non-Profit

HSRI’s principal consultant, Christine Martin, was asked to step into a role as Interim Executive Director in mid-2014.  Child Care Aware of Washington serves as an intermediary organization responsible for leading and directing quality improvement initiatives, education and professionalization of the child care workforce.  They direct funding and programmatic support for 7 regional agencies across the state of Washington.

When HRSI stepped into the Interim ED role, the 25 year old organization had grown dramatically, with a $14M annual budget, including a Federal Race to The Top Grant, which was scheduled to sunset in just over a year from the commencement of our assignment.  Restoring relationships with partners and funders, and establishing future funding were key immediate priorities for the transition and stability of the organization.

In one year of leadership, Christine supported a number of projects and initiatives, CCA’s advocacy efforts were increased, leading to the State of Washington investment in the Early Start Act.  This investment took CCA of WA’s budget to $24M in the subsequent fiscal year.  She lead an organizational redesign, hiring and planning efforts and helped support the significant growth and development of CCA of WA’s statewide board.  The organization continues to growth and thrive in their efforts to ensure quality early learning opportunities for children across our state, with a newly strong foundation, funding and team.

  • Christine was an amazing leader at a time when we needed one most. Her leadership, big picture thinking and unwavering support has established a firm foundation for the future of our organization, well into the future. She has set CCA of WA on the right path for success and we could not have had a better leader guiding us through such a critical time. I’d love to work with her again.  

    Director Team Child Care Aware
recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Splash
Project: Recruiting & Executive Search
Company Type: Non-Profit

Splash contacted Karen Rea and HRSI after a challenging experience with another search firm they had hired to conduct a previous search.  After a negative experience they were understandably wary of search firms and wanted a thorough review of the search process that HRSI would manage.  After several in-person meetings and successful reference checks, they decided to hire Karen.

Splash is an internationally focused, Seattle based non-profit led by a visionary social entrepreneur.  Their mission to bring clean drinking water to orphanages and schools throughout the developing world is ambitious, but they’ve had tremendous success.  With the departure of a successful Development Director they were seeking a replacement of an atypical background. They wanted an individual with less of a traditional non-profit development background and more private sector business development skills.  Adding to the complexity of the search was that they wanted someone with expertise in South Asia- particularly India- to help them make the necessary connections to support their work in that region.

Karen did extensive sourcing to produce a slate of candidates that represented different facets of what the role required.  In the end the candidates were narrowed down to two very strong candidates with different but complementary skill sets.  One had a background in fundraising for a large and successful non-profit operating throughout India and other developing countries.  Her relationships with institutional donors who would be interested in the Splash mission would be valuable to the role.  The other candidate was raised in India and had a varied background that included business development and management for international investment firms, combined with experience as a CEO with a water and sanitation NGO that focused on the developing world.  He too had extensive connections that would be invaluable to advancing the Splash mission.  The hiring team realized that together these two candidates would make an amazing team so- although it was not in the plan and would require stretching the budget- they took the leap and hired both. 

Because Karen was performing the search for a flat rate that had been agreed upon up front, the additional hire was covered as part of that fee.  The client was not only thrilled with their two amazing new hires but felt much better about the wonderful results that can come from working with a strong search partner.

  • "Karen demonstrated  exceptional understanding  of our business and excellent support and engagement throughout our recruiting process ~ The fact that we hired two finalists for what was expected to be one opening, sourced through you, pretty much tells the story.  We highly recommend working with Karen.”

    Director of Operations / Director of Strategy Splash
recruitment, non-profit, headhunter, recruiter, succession planning, hr consultant, executive coaching

Client: Cranium (now a division of Hasbro)
Project: On-site, full-time executive level human resources support the acquisition of the company.
Company Type: Games/Consumer Products

Cranium, the Seattle based business that brings amazing and creative games to the entire family was started by Richard Tait and Whit Alexander, two former Microsoft Executives, in 1997. The business was sold to Hasbro in 2008.

HRSI was hired during one of the most challenging periods of Cranium’s history. The organization was in the process of completing due diligence with Hasbro, the world’s largest developer of family games. Our consultant was immediately able to support and impact the founders, executive team and employees during the acquisition.

Both the Hasbro executive team, and the leadership team at Cranium felt that our consultant was integral in helping to ensure that the transaction was completed within the shortest period of time, with no loss of staff, while ensuring that the Cranium values were integrated into all phases of the merger and acquisition process.