Amy Wishnick is passionate about organizations. With skill, sensitivity, and good humor, Amy works with diverse organizations to enhance their management, leadership, and adaptive capacities. Since founding Wishnick & Associates in 2004, she has worked with an array of nonprofit clients on executive search and transition, strategic planning, organizational assessment and development, board development and governance, and more. Wishnick & Associates works successfully with nonprofit organizations of all sizes and budgets in the Chicago area and nationally. Clients include human services agencies, arts, cultural, education, advocacy, workforce, and community development organizations, foundations, associations, and religious organizations.

Amy began her career in Washington, D.C. at the National Endowment for the Humanities. Upon returning to Chicago, she worked at Mayer Brown & Platt, an international law firm, managing the law school recruiting program and lateral hiring. Immediately prior to starting Wishnick & Associates, Amy spent seven years at CMC Consultants, a boutique executive search firm.

Amy has served on and chaired nonprofit boards and committees. She is currently a member of the board of directors of KAM Isaiah Israel Congregation and is slated to be a Vice President for FY2019.

From 1993 to 1995, Amy had the unique opportunity to serve on the United States Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS), a committee of civilian volunteers appointed to advise the Secretary of Defense. As a member of the executive committee, Amy designed and implemented a training program for new committee members on how to conduct domestic military installation site visits and was the primary author of two reports for the Secretary of Defense highlighting findings and making recommendations from the executive committee’s overseas trips to military installations in Europe (1994) and Asia (1995).

As a member of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits since 2004, Amy was president from 2009 to 2011 and served on the board from 2006 to 2012. She co-authored the association’s 2013 publication Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Hiring and Engaging Consultants. She is an advisor member of Forefront. Amy taught strategic planning at the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management’s annual BootCamp for New Nonprofit CEOs from 2011 to 2017. In addition, Amy served on the selection committee for the Alford-Axelson Awards for Managerial Excellence from 2010 to 2017.

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Ignore Infrastructure at Your Nonprofit’s Peril

In my experience working with nonprofits in the arts, education, human services, and more — no matter the mission, a solid infrastructure is essential.

HALT – So Your Board Members Can be Their Best Selves

During his freshman orientation, my younger son was introduced to HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired – a stress management technique. For entering college students, it was supposed to help them increase self-awareness and understand what was going on with themselves and how this affected their interactions with roommates and others. It was geared to help them from becoming less pleasant versions of their normal selves. HALT resonates with me. Especially regarding nonprofit boards and board meetings.

Orienting New Nonprofit Board Members – Don’t Make it Sink or Swim

Does your nonprofit bring on new board members annually as a class, rather than randomly throughout the year? If they start out together, I commend you for choosing this wise approach. If not, I hope you will consider making a change after reading this.

Why Aren’t They Talking to Each Other at Board Meetings?

When I read a story or hear about a nonprofit in extremis, I wonder if the leadership has been asleep at the wheel. Did no one see the signs? Why did they not point these things out to each other? What were they (or were they not) talking about at board meetings?

Are You Ready to Manage Staff Transitions?

If handled well, a staff transition can boost an organization’s well-being and capacity, but if handled poorly, morale and service continuity can suffer.

Hiring a Nonprofit Executive: Cautionary Tale – Epilogue

After more than a century, a nonprofit organization just closed its doors. I can’t help but wonder whether the situation would have been different if, years ago, the board of directors had not “settled” when selecting a new executive director.