Leadership Challenges and the Changing World

It’s a new era in leadership and executive recruiting. In this video, four of WittKieffer’s new senior partners in its Education Practice share their insights and aspirations for the future of leadership in academia and in the world of executive search.

Amy Crutchfield wonders, “What are the biggest trends and changes affecting higher education, and in executive search?” She notes that candidates are very mobile and looking for new opportunities, but are carefully “scrutinizing an institution’s health and stability as they consider moves.” In regards to improving leadership diversity, she says, search committees need to be more flexible, and institutions need to do better with their own leadership pipelines.

Natalie Derry of our WittKieffer International team addresses what skills will be important for higher education’s next leaders. She points to three key qualities, including: a) emotional intelligence; b) cultural intelligence; and c) being digitally fluent and tech savvy. These skills will be critical as global higher education leaders address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other key challenges faced by academia.

Suzanne Teer believes that the current era is “certainly not for the faint of heart,” but it’s also a time of great opportunity for leadership. Today’s top academic leaders, she says, must undertake a “top down and bottom up reexamination of the systems and structures upon which higher education is built.”

Mercedes Chacón Vance considers what matters most to candidates and clients today. “This era has made people reflect on their own happiness and well-being,” as they seek meaning and balance in their lives. Today’s leaders don’t want a straight climb up the ladder, but rather to find new, more fulfilling challenges than in the past.

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