Prepare, Pivot & Thrive - Succession, Strategy, Sustainability & Search

About Us

About TransitionGuides


Successful organizations leverage turning points – in leadership, economics, and culture – to become stronger, more vibrant, and of greater service. Transforming change into opportunity, especially in today's competitive world, requires a partner who can help navigate challenges and achieve sustainable leadership excellence.

Advancing Leadership Excellence

At TransitionGuides, we value every organization's essential need for talented leaders, positioned to enable the nonprofit to survive and succeed. Our consulting firm finds, supports, and guides nonprofit leaders to build and sustain effective, vital organizations. Our consultants, all former nonprofit leaders themselves, specialize in working with senior level executives. Since 1995, our team has led over 500 nonprofit leadership search, transition, and succession planning projects for organizations across the country. TransitionGuides, with extensive nonprofit experience and knowledge, offers guidance and processes that deliver proven results.

Delivering Long-Term Leadership Solutions

Our services cover the full leadership continuum, from hiring to supporting powerful leaders. We divide our services into four categories:

  • Succession Planning - We help clients anticipate and address changes in leadership that can make or break an organization.
  • Executive Search - With deep expertise and a wealth of contacts in the nonprofit world, we find diverse, exceptional leaders who invigorate organizations.
  • Transition Management - We believe ensuring a smooth transition is just as important as hiring the right person. Our decades of experience will help you do both.
  • Sustainability - We help leaders identify and address challenges and build organizations that are enduring community assets.

Investing in the Best Leadership

For nonprofits, the stakes could not be higher. Each organization's mission of service relies on strong, effective leaders at the helm now and in the future. TransitionGuides is the partner nonprofits count on to deliver strategies and resources to prepare for and manage change and to emerge even more capable of producing an important impact. When the risk is high and the opportunity cost is great, TransitionGuides is the guide proven to help nonprofits better serve those in need.

To find out how we can help you make the most of your turning points, call us at (202) 955-5000.


Our Team


Founded by pioneers in the area of leadership transition in nonprofits, TransitionGuides has assembled a diverse team of outstanding consultants with extensive track records in working with nonprofit organizations and leadership transitions. Our team offers a full range of leadership succession, executive search and transition services for nonprofits. Individually and collectively we bring years of nonprofit executive and senior management experience to our practice. Our consultants offer a unique blend of experience with organizational development, strategic planning and executive search.

tomTom Adams - President. Tom leads succession planning, executive transition and search projects as well as serving as the practice leader for TransitionGuides' educational services and our research and program development efforts. Tom has been leading executive transition projects since 1991 and has over 30 years experience serving nonprofit organizations as an executive director, senior manager of a national organization and as a consultant. His research and practice in the area of nonprofit executive transitions includes five years as director of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation's Community Development Leadership Project and nine years as a private consultant to nonprofit boards and foundations. He served as the project manager and lead consultant for the Annie E. Casey Executive Leadership Transition and Capacity Building Project and helped create the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations' Executive Transition Initiative. Tom writes on leadership transition and related topics and regularly presents at conferences and leads workshops. He is the author of The Nonprofit Leadership Transition and Development Guide: Proven Paths for Leaders and Organizations published by Jossey-Bass in 2010. Earlier in his career, he was the first executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services and has a particular interest in coaching and supporting founders and long-term executive directors.

Tom received his BA from St. Mary's Seminary and University and his MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

adarAdar Ayira - Consultant. Adar has more than 20 years of management and organizational development, membership, and fundraising experience gained through her tenure in both locally and nationally focused nonprofit, community-based, social justice organizations. Adar is also an experienced anti-racism/anti-oppression education trainer. In addition to conducting "Training of Trainer" workshops in the field of anti-oppression education, she was also a long-term volunteer trainer at The Support Center of Washington. Her training workshops included "Managing a Small Nonprofit", "Asking for Money In Person" (a workshop that developed skills in major donor fundraising), "Fundamentals of Management", and "Everything an Executive Director Needs to Know About Fundraising", among others. She was also a faculty member for the Support Center's National Leadership Development Institute, co-developing and facilitating its "Leading the Organization" workshop, and providing "coaching" services to those executives who participated in the NLDI program.

Adar has degrees in Public Communications and Sociology from American University in Washington, DC.

catreseCatrese Brown - Consultant. Catrese has worked with TransitionGuides since 2002. She leads executive transition and search projects, provides related organizational planning and post-hire services. She also a member of our training team and presents and facilitates workshops nationally on executive transition management and succession planning. With over 20 years experience in nonprofit organizations, Catrese's diverse experience includes organization development consulting, including board development, serving as an interim executive director, education and training, facilitating strategic planning processes, and managing leadership transitions.

Catrese has BA in Sociology from Chestnut Hill College and a MS in Human Resource Development from what is now Towson University. She also is a certified administrator of the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator.


lisaLisa Burford - Consultant. Lisa has led executive transition and search projects for TransitionGuides since 2003. In addition, Lisa's specialties include board development workshops and retreats, facilitation and executive coaching. She is a native Washingtonian with over twenty years of experience in the nonprofit community. Throughout her career, she has served the nonprofit sector in a variety of capacities including grassroots organizations, local affiliates, as well as national nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and universities. She is involved in a number of local initiatives, including Leadership Washington, is a founding member of Black Female Executive Directors Developing Capacity, and she has served on the committee for the Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.

Lisa has a BS in Business Administration (BSBA in Marketing) from The American University and a Master of Nonprofit Organizations' (MNO) degree from Case Western Reserve University.

jeanie3Jeanie Duncan – Senior Consultant. Jeanie’s career has spanned more than 20 years in the nonprofit sector and includes leadership positions for arts organizations based in the south. She serves as adjunct faculty for the Center for Creative Leadership, and is President of Raven Consulting Group, a business she founded that focuses on organizational change and leadership development in the nonprofit sector. Known for innovation and executive effectiveness, Jeanie uses the practical wisdom of 20 years in the nonprofit sector – most recently, as President and CEO of the United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro and previously for LifePath Hospice of Tampa, Elon Homes for Children, and the Music Academy of North Carolina. Jeanie’s board service experience includes the Women’s Professional Forum, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Arts North Carolina, and Americans for the Arts.

Jeanie holds her BA in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the CFRE designation from CFRE International, a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University, and her coaching certification from the Coaches Training Institute. She is a frequent speaker, trainer, workshop facilitator, and author of numerous published articles related to nonprofit management and leadership.

david epDavid Erickson-PearsonSenior Associate. Based in Denver, Dave leads CEO and other senior executive searches. He joined the TransitionGuides team in 2010 bringing over two decades of experience leading executive search, leadership succession and planning projects for nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. Prior to establishing his search practice in 2003, he served as Vice President and Senior Associate for Chicago-based Boulware & Associates Inc. for 11 years. Before moving into the executive search field, Dave worked for 10 years in senior management roles with citywide and neighborhood-based community development nonprofits in Chicago, including United Way of Chicago Hull House Association.

Dave has led search projects for Shorebank Corporation, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Mercy Housing, NeighborWorks Capital, Enterprise Community Partners, National Association of Charter School Authorizers and many other national and local nonprofit organizations.

Dave earned his BA in Urban Studies, summa cum laude, from North Park College, and a Master of Divinity degree from North Park Theological Seminary, with studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. An active citizen, he served on the Board of Denver’s Urban Servant Corps for 9 years and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development in Oakland, CA.

ginnaGinna GoodenowExecutive Search Consultant. Ginna has worked on over 50 leadership searches for TransitionGuides since joining our team in 2007. In addition to building strong, diverse candidate pools through exceptional outreach and qualifying candidates through extensive research, she maintains a vast network of contacts among leaders in key segments of the nonprofit community. Ginna brings over 18 years of experience in marketing, communications, strategic and event planning to TransitionGuides. A large span of her career is in private sector. Her work experience has overlapped with the association and non-profit arena since 1995. Ginna has served in a leadership capacity with several national and international associations and is currently involved with a host of philanthropic organizations.

Ginna holds a BA with a triple-major in English, Marketing and Sociology from Austin College.


dorisDoris Kiser - Administrative Consultant. Doris has been a member of our recruiting team since 2007. She handles many of the search support functions including developing and editing position profiles, placing online and print advertising, and managing the resume database and candidate communications. She also manages our website, creates and analyzes surveys, and edits our documents. She is detail and technologically oriented. Doris has a background in writing, editing and graphic design. Prior to joining TransitionGuides, she worked in the accounting, medical billing, and graphics design fields. She is active in her church community and plays guitar for her worship team. She has a fascination with the way things work, and is willing to dig in and fix whatever needs to be fixed.

Doris has a BA in English from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and holds an MA in Publications Design from the University of Baltimore. She has taught calligraphy at the local community college.

bobBob Hoffman - Consultant. Bob has been a Human Resource Development consultant for over 35 years and has worked throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, and Africa with both private and public sector organizations.  As a consultant and trainer he has worked with major corporations, leading nonprofits and private foundations, including Fannie Mae and Annie E. Casey Foundations. He has also held many leadership positions, including executive director of nonprofit organizations; director of training, DC Office of Neighborhood Self Help Development; manager with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department; and City Council member for four years. Bob is founder and CEO of Spirit Sanctuary, a mountain retreat and conference center in Elton, West Virginia, a place of meditation, spiritual healing and celebration of African-American arts and culture.

Bob has a BA from Kean University and a MA in Personnel and Guidance from Montclair State University. He has completed additional course work in Gestalt Psychology, Large Scale Systems Change and Appreciative Inquiry. He has taught at numerous colleges and universities, and is presently a Senior Fellow at the James McGregor Burns School of Leadership, University of Maryland.

karenjKaren Gaskins Jones - Consultant. Karen serves as our senior trainer and leads succession planning and executive transition projects. Her expertise is in training design, facilitation, evaluation, and organization development consultation. Karen has over 20 years of experience as a trainer/consultant, which includes working in different international settings and within diverse communities across the United States. As a consultant, she has provided training and organization development services to a variety of government agencies and large, small and medium-sized organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors within the United States and abroad. Her work results in people and organizations achieving their maximum operational potential. She is certified to administer the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, the Strength Deployment Inventory and is a student and practitioner of Appreciative Inquiry and NLP. Karen is a founding member and chair of the board of directors of the Diversity Leadership Forum (DLF), a national association of multi- disciplinary practitioners devoted to the development of the field of diversity and multiculturalism. Also, she is the president of the board of directors for the Bureau of Rehabilitation, Inc.

Karen has a BA in Mathematics from Spelman College and holds a MA in Education from Texas Southern University.

katherineKatherine Morrison - Consultant. Katherine started working with TransitionGuides in 2007. She has worked in the nonprofit sector since 1982, including 15 years as president and CEO of The Campagna Center, an Alexandria, VA-based nonprofit with a budget of $8.5 million serving 1,500 children each day. She leads executive transition projects, specializing in interim leadership, resource development, program implementation and oversight, board development and strategic planning. Katherine has served in a leadership capacity with numerous local organizations including Leadership Greater Washington, the Women's Giving Circle of the Alexandria Community Trust, the WETA Community Advisory Council, the Virginia Prevention and Promotion Advisory Council, the Rotary Club of Alexandria, Alexandria Call to Community, Washington Street United Methodist Church, Arlandria Health Clinic Coalition, Northern Virginia Coalition of Nonprofit Human Services Agencies, Hopkins House Board of Trustees and the Junior League of Northern Virginia.

Katherine holds a BA in Sociology and Psychology from Duke University and a MA in Gerontology from George Washington University.


helleranHeller An ShapiroConsultant. Heller An has been coaching executives and leading executive search and transition projects for TransitionGuides since 2008, completing executive searches for nonprofits with budgets from $300,000 to $30,000,000. Prior to this she was with the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation where she managed her own successful transition after 10 years as executive director. She has worked in nonprofit and volunteer management since 1984, with local, national and international nonprofits. Earlier in her career she founded MVP Arts: Managers of Volunteer Programs in the Arts, a networking and education group. She served on the board of the National Health Council and the Association for Volunteer Administration. She is frequently published in The Washington Post, professional journals and nonprofit websites. She is the author of the Christmas in April - USA Board Building Manual; a chapter in Managing Volunteer Diversity; and Emily’s First Day, a storybook and resource guide for children with mild osteogenesis imperfecta, their teachers and school personnel. As a consultant, she frequently advises Board members and CEOs on change management, growth management, strategic planning, empowering leaders, surviving organizational transition, volunteer management and nonprofit management issues and trends. She has trained prospective executive directors and coaches new executives.

Heller An holds a BA in Psychology from Vassar College, and an MA in Psychology from The American University. Honors include a President's Volunteer Action Award and Leadership America.

karen_sKaren Schuler - Executive Vice President - Search & Operations . Karen's work with clients has focused on helping organizations maximize their ability to fulfill their missions by engaging in strong strategic planning, building effective Board-staff relationships and streamlining operational infrastructure. She brings more than 25 years experience in strategic planning, business management and development, including extensive work in the nonprofit sector. She has served as Chief Operating Officer and Acting Executive Director for local nonprofits and has consulted with private educational institutions and service-based nonprofits 9including female focused prevention and intervention programs) to support their executive transition management processes, revitalize business functions and improve management-Board relations.

Karen received a BA with Honors from Duke University and has an MBA in Strategic Planning from the University of Maryland.


donDon Tebbe - Cofounder & Consultant. Don leads executive transition and search projects and serves as the practice leader for TransitionGuides' leadership consulting services. Don has been leading executive search and transition projects since 1995. He spent his first decade in the nonprofit sector as an executive for several statewide organizations and as a founder and leader in several national groups. He was a cofounder of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations, served as one of the early leaders in the movement to develop statewide associations of nonprofits and helped form a national unemployment insurance trust. Since starting his consulting practice in 1993, he has focused on advising nonprofits on leadership transitions as well as helping them develop more effective strategies and business models. He has served a wide variety of organizations from grassroots startups to international organizations, including the world's largest child welfare organization. Don is the author of Chief Executive Transitions: How to Hire and Support a Nonprofit CEO published by BoardSource, which won the 2009 Terry McAdam Book Award. He is also the author of For the Good of the Cause: Board Building Lessons from Highly Effective Nonprofits, a report based on case studies that explored the link between governing board behavior and nonprofit effectiveness, published by the Center for Excellence in Nonprofits.

Don holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois-Springfield where he has also pursued graduate studies in nonprofit administration.

melodyMelody Thomas-ScottSenior Program Director. Melody provides leadership, management, and direct sustainability and succession planning services.  She serves on the marketing and business development teams. Melody manages all executive education programs and serves as a co-facilitator. She successfully completed the Executive Consultant Training Program and has supported many nonprofit organizations with leadership transitions, sustainability and succession planning, compensation and benefits research, bench strength and product development. Melody leads internal and external communications and manages social media campaigns. She serves as an active member of community associations and formerly served as president of the YMCA Calomiris board of directors.

Melody holds a BA in Business Administration from Columbia Union College, a MA in English and a MA in Entrepreneurship from University of Maryland College Park.

grizelGrizel Ubarry - Consultant. On the TransitionGuides team, Grizel serves as a project technical advisor on management and community economic development. She also serves as a coach to executives and Board of Directors who are retooling their organizations or experiencing transition. Prior to starting her consulting practices in 1985, she served as the Director of the County of Essex Division of Housing and Community Development, responsible for the planning and administration of a $7 million program assisting eighteen municipalities to improve their housing stock, rehabilitate their neighborhoods and revitalize their business districts. Prior to that she served as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Human Resources Administration in New York. Previously she was on the staff of Aspira Inc. of New Jersey and served its Executive Director for six years.

Grizel has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Public Administration from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She has served on the Board of Trustees of the Newark Museum since 1982. She chairs the Museum Latino Advisory Board that spearheads a wide range of Latino related exhibitions and programs. Recently she received the Museum Centennial Meritorious Service award for 24 years of service. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice based in Newark.


Our Clients


Who We Have Served

This is a sampling of organizations served by TransitionGuides. It includes executive search, executive transition management, succession planning and other services.

National and International Organizations

  • Academy for Educational Development
  • American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Biomass Energy Resource Center
  • CAEAR Foundation
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest
  • Child Trends
  • Farmers Legal Action Group
  • Global Action for Children
  • IMA World Health
  • Institute of Cultural Affairs
  • Institute for Educational Leadership
  • International Student Conference
  • ISED Solutions
  • Landscape Architecture Foundation
  • National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
  • National Center for Children in Poverty
  • National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
  • National Council for Geographic Education
  • National Economic Development and Law Center
  • National Health Policy Forum
  • National Human Services Assembly
  • National Low Income Housing Coalition
  • National Women's Law Center
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of America
  • Nonprofit Risk Management Center
  • Society of Women Geographers
  • The Arc of the United States
  • US Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation


  • American Society of Home Inspectors
  • Association of Academic Physiatrists
  • Center for Nonprofit Advancement
  • Development Training Institute
  • Environmental Support Center
  • Hearing Loss Association of America
  • Interim Ministry Network
  • Intn'l Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services
  • Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations
  • National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
  • National Association of State Energy Officials
  • National Association of Investors Corp.
  • National Cancer Registrars Association
  • National Coalition of STD Directors
  • National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association
  • North American Folk Music & Dance Alliance
  • Public Campaign
  • Public Risk Management Association
  • Society of Research Administrators International
  • Unity Journalists of Color
  • Voices for America's Children

Behavioral Health/Developmental Disabilities

  • CHI Centers
  • Georgia Options
  • Maryland Center on Developmental Disabilities
  • Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County
  • Mountain States Group, Inc.
  • Potomac Community Resources
  • Revisions Behavioral Health Systems
  • Santa Cruz Community Counseling Center
  • TLC – The Treatment and Learning Centers
  • Woodley House

Children, Youth and Families

  • A Gift for Teaching
  • Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families
  • Baltimore Education Network
  • Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust
  • Bet Yeladim Preschool
  • Carson Scholars Fund
  • Center for Family Life
  • Center for Women and Children
  • Centers for New Horizons
  • Charles Village Community Benefits District
  • Children First for Oregon
  • Children's Scholarship Fund
  • Coalition for Juvenile Justice
  • Connecticut Voices for Children
  • Georgetown Day School
  • Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia
  • Fairfax CASA
  • Fight Crime: Invest in Kids
  • Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth
  • Maryland Mentoring Partnership
  • MCCP Foundation
  • North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute
  • Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
  • Southeast Youth Academy
  • South Dakota Voices For Children
  • Teen Living Programs
  • The Child Center of New York
  • Tri-County Youth Services Bureau
  • Voices for Illinois Children
  • Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, Inc.


  • Baltimore Museum of Industry
  • Glen Echo Partnership for Arts & Humanities
  • The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay

Food Banks

  • Maryland Food Bank
  • Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
  • Vermont Foodbank

Foundations, Funders and Philanthropy

  • Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Associated Black Charities
  • Baltimore Community Foundation
  • BoardSource
  • Council on Foundations
  • Endowment for Health
  • Friends of the Library
  • Goldseker Foundation
  • Grantmakers for Children Youth & Families
  • Local Management Board of St. Mary's County
  • Medical Care for Children Partnership Foundation
  • Mid-Shore Community Foundation
  • National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
  • NeighborWorks America
  • Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement
  • Southern Partners Fund
  • Town Creek Foundation
  • Washington Area Women's Foundation
  • Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Healthcare and Health Related

  • Alpha-1 Foundation
  • American Pain Foundation
  • American Society for Clinical Oncology
  • COPD Foundation
  • Hospice Network of Maryland
  • La Clinica Del Pueblo
  • Neurofibromatosis, Inc. Mid-Atlantic
  • Prevention Works
  • Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Inc.
  • Talbot Hospice Foundation

Housing and Community Development

  • Alabama Arise
  • Arlington Community Temporary Shelter
  • Arlington-Alexandra Coalition for the Homeless
  • Cabrillo Economic Development Corp.
  • CDC of Tampa
  • Centro Campesino
  • CentroNia
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership
  • Citizen Planning & Housing Association
  • Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative
  • Community Design Center – Louisville
  • Community Ministry of Montgomery County
  • East of the River CDC
  • Fifth Avenue Committee
  • Fresno Community Ministries
  • Good Shepherd Housing & Family Services
  • Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc.
  • Highbridge Community Life Center
  • Historic East Baltimore Coalition Action Committee
  • Homeless Person Representation Project
  • Homestretch, Inc.
  • Hope Communities
  • Housing Partnership of Northeast Florida
  • Interfaith Housing Alliance, Inc.
  • Latino Economic Development Corporation
  • Manchester Neighborhood Housing Services
  • Marshall Heights CDC
  • Mississippi Valley Neighborhood Housing SVCs
  • Montgomery Housing Partnership
  • NCS of Barberton
  • Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago
  • Park Heights Renaissance Corporation
  • PathStone
  • Rebuilding Together Baltimore
  • Reservoir Hill Improvement Council
  • Save Middle East Action Commission
  • Tri-County HDC, Ltd.
  • Wesley Housing
  • Westside Housing Organization
  • White Center Community Development Association
  • Women's Housing Coalition

Human Service and Other Organizations

  • Abramson Center for Jewish Life
  • AIDS Interfaith Residential Services
  • Alternative Directions
  • Ayuda
  • Capital Area Asset Building Corporation
  • Center for Intergenerational Learning, Temple University
  • Computer CORE
  • DC Area Health Education Center
  • Deaf Independent Living Center
  • Florence Crittenton
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Leadership Montgomery
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • Mary's Center for Maternal and Child Care
  • Media Access
  • Michigan League for Human Services
  • Moveable Feast
  • Neighborhood Legal Services Program
  • Northeast Action
  • Penn. Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Project Plase
  • Rape Crisis Intervention Services of Carroll County
  • REAP
  • SCO Family of Services
  • Shepherd's Table
  • SMYAL - Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League
  • Surrey Services for Seniors
  • Thompson Markwood Home
  • Transitional Work Corporation



The Next Steps Workshop
Succession and Sustainability Planning for Nonprofit Founders & Long-Term Executives


Thursday-Friday, July 13-14, 2017 - Washington, DC
Time: 900am-4:00pm, both days
Location: Raffa PC
Audience: Chief Executives and Founders
Registration: $650
Registration Includes: resource materials, continential breakfast, lunch,
workbook, complimentary book, and a free 30-minute coaching session
Downloadable Flyer: Click Here
Register Now: Click Here

For more information, email Samantha Sadiv at or call (202) 955-7235.


For the latest information on Next Steps Workshops, click here.