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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Hiring a Nonprofit Executive: Cautionary Tale - Don't Settle for Less!

This by Amy Wishnick article is the first of two that discuss what can go wrong when hiring a nonprofit executive. She cautions against settling for less.

Capacity Building Readiness Assessments – A Meaningful Diagnostic

Over the years, I have conducted many assessments for nonprofit organizations. In every instance, the findings have been, in one way or another, revealing. This post discusses the value of capacity building readiness assessments.

Happy Fiscal New Year – a New Beginning

The start of the fiscal year, even if not recognized with champagne and fireworks, often signals new beginnings. In the months and weeks leading up to July, there is often a burst of activity in nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit executives and their boards of directors create and ratify new budgets. Perhaps the governance or nominating committee puts forth a slate of new directors. Officers sometimes step into new leadership roles. In some years, there will be a new board chair; in others, a board chair may be considering how to have an impact during the final year in office.

Leadership Succession Planning: What’s on the Other Side?

Consulting with nonprofits on strategic planning and organizational development, I’ve seen how succession planning has emerged as a very important task for the board and executive leadership. Succession planning involves developing talent within an organization to assume higher levels of responsibility, as well as identifying a plan for seamless continuity when the executive director/CEO leaves.

A Case Against Playing Good Cop, Bad Cop with the Board

Bad news is a fact of life, including organizational life, and it can be difficult to deliver. There are times, for example, when budgets are tight and the staff needs to be cut, is asked to take voluntary furloughs, or must accept delayed paychecks. Or, services or hours of operation need to be cut back. It can be tempting to blame these unpleasant decisions on the board, since the board may be a mysterious, unseen reality that staff rarely encounter. But avoid this temptation...

Three Reasons Why the Strategic Planning Process Is as Important as the Plan

If you have ever been involved with your organization’s strategic planning process (and I’m assuming you have), you may have had concerns about the overlay of activity on an already high-tempo organization. However, there is wisdom to the time commitment required in strategic planning. The process of creating the strategic plan necessitates a deep and…