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Three Questions With: Courtney Bickert, Senior Consultant at DRiWaterstone

Meet DRiWaterstone’s senior team! This week, we’re sitting down with Senior Consultant, Courtney Bickert, to find out, in her own words, what drives her and why DRiWaterstone is one of North America’s top executive search firms for the non-profit and social impact sectors.


DRiWaterstone (DRiW): How do you describe what DRiWaterstone does?

Courtney Bickert (CB): We’re an executive recruiting firm, but we’re a recruiting firm that works, and has worked for over 23 years, exclusively in the nonprofit and social purpose space.  We see our role in that space as a very important one because we’re working to match amazing, powerful talent to organizations with important, essential missions.

DRiW: How do you describe your role at DRiWaterstone?

CB: One of the things that’s unique about DRiWaterstone is that our Senior Consultants lead the searches ourselves – so we’re not only engaging regularly with the client, but we’re also doing a lot of the work on the back end as well.

We basically do everything. We all lead our business development, that is, (finding organizations with an important mission who need to find the right talent for a specific role or roles).We then work with clients to figure out what the positions are, getting position overviews written in a way that reflects both the culture and the values of the organization, as well as the role they’re hiring for.

We look for candidates. I make a lot of phone calls – to my network, to people I find through LinkedIn, and to people in our database – to identify the right people and put together a robust pool of candidates for the client to review. And then we work with the clients all the way through until they are making an offer and even afterwards.

DRiW: What advice do you have for organizations looking to attract top talent in today’s job market?

CB: Culture is key. We know that culture is important to talent these days – it’s important that they feel like they’re working someplace that’s doing something good for the world and for society.

More and more, people are choosing an employer that has a consistent, strong, positive culture and where it’s not just talk about work-life balance, or a good place to exchange ideas. People sense that lack of authenticity very quickly when they’re interviewing and they’re being picky! They want to go to a place that has a supportive culture, where culture isn’t just a set of values on your website, but something that’s lived in the organization. So, take the time to identify the cultural niche that your organization has and really live into it.

We know that in the social impact space, often you’re not rewarding people through salaries as much as corporates can. So how are you rewarding the team? How are you encouraging your staff? How are they talking about your organization to people who might want to come in? It’s important in attracting new talent that your current talent is happy where they are.

Read part two of the conversation with Courtney.


At DRiWaterstone, we work with mission and purpose-driven organizations across the U.S. to help them build mission and purpose driven teams. We’d love the chance to work with you – reach out today and book a meeting with our team and find out how we can help.

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We’re continuing our conversation with Senior Consultant, Courtney Bickert, to find out, in her own words, what drives her and why DRiWaterstone is one of North America’s top executive search firms for the non-profit and social impact sectors. 


DRiWaterstone (DRiW): Why should mission and purpose-driven organizations consider working with a firm like DRiWaterstone to fill their leadership roles?

Courtney Bickert (CB): In particular with DRiWaterstone, we are very passionate about purpose and social impact organizations. That’s why I work here. We have a true appreciation for the specific challenges that nonprofit and purpose-driven organizations face in terms of talent acquisition and retention and therefore work with our clients as partners.

Working with an executive search firm in general, you’re going to save a lot of time, and time is money. We can focus 100 per cent on finding your candidate while you’re doing however many other jobs you have to do. Also, we can help expand the pool of talent that you’re able to access because we have a database full of people who come exclusively from the social purpose sector. Our team all come out of the nonprofit and purpose sector as leaders ourselves, and we have our own networks, so we can really expand who you’ve got access to as you’re looking for talent. If you’re doing a search internally, you’re reliant on your advertising channels and your own LinkedIn, and when you bring on a firm like DRiWaterstone, we go well beyond that. Having access to a broad candidate pool is essential for bringing new experiences and perspectives into the organization and for ensuring diversity in your staff.

DRiW: How does your background in the nonprofit and social impact sector influence your approach to executive search?

CB: I have over 30 years of experience in international development and foreign affairs. A lot of that was in executive leadership roles, and it was across various functions within an organization and across many sectors. So, I bring the experience of having done the jobs that we are hiring for, and of being in the position of our clients who are hiring for these key roles.

From a client perspective, I can relate and be more of a partner in really helping them sort out what it is they really need, how they can make the arguments they might need to make to their Board to justify the salary, etc. I can be their partner in this process because I’ve done it myself. And from a candidate perspective, I’ve been in the roles they’re applying for. That enables me to ask the right kind of questions, but also to provide support as they’re thinking about finding the exact right fit for themselves.

DRiW: What do you want candidates to know about working in the non-profit/social enterprise space?

CB: The fantastic part about the sector is that you get to feel good about what you’re getting up to do every day. That is amazing. At the same time, there are a lot of challenges that you face in the social impact space that are often unique in the sense of frequently struggling with a shortage of resources and having to work beyond a specific job description because of that, really scrambling to get the resources to cover key initiatives, and more. Working in this space can be very intense in terms of effort and often emotional energy. So, it’s important to pick a place where you really, truly do care about the cause, because that’s what’s going to get you over any of the other frustrations.

Also, find places where you have the chance to find new ways to solve old problems and where there’s space to do that. Find places where there is room to grow – and that’s not always about growing into the CEO role, but it can be about finding a place where you’re going to be able to grow in what you’re doing, the types of activities you’re doing, and the things you’re responsible for.

Read part one of our conversation with Courtney.


At DRiWaterstone, we work with mission and purpose-driven organizations across the U.S. to help them build mission and purpose driven teams. We’d love the chance to work with you – reach out today and book a meeting with our team and find out how we can help.

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