How to Make Yourself an Outstanding Candidate for Nonprofit Leadership (Shana Plott)

September 2021

As a nonprofit leader, you've likely encountered both sides of the talent development equation: seeking a new opportunity for yourself, or finding the perfect person to fill your nonprofit's most important vacancy. Regardless of whether you're looking yourself or trying to hire a rock star, Shana Plott is the perfect guest to help you on your quest.  Shana has spent most of her career helping organizations find talented leaders, and she's also counseled dozens of potential leaders on how they can better position themselves for success in the hiring process. In episode #124 of the Path Podcast, Shana first unpacks the current state of the search market for nonprofits, and offers practical advice both for those seeking a new job and for those about to launch a search themselves, especially those nonprofit leaders determined to bring a more diverse pool of candidates to their organization. 

"Some of the best interview questions are not about your successes, but about those teachable moments. If you had an opportunity to do it over, what would you do differently?"


As CEO, Shana Plott manages all facets of Coleman Lew Canny Bowen, and leads executive-level search for her clients. Shana is heavily involved in the search industry on an international level and serves on the Council of the Americas for the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC). She is also committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in leadership and serves on the Advisory Board for the Director Diversity Initiative through the UNC School of Law. Prior to joining the firm, Shana worked for several years in retained search with the Carolinas office of Heidrick & Struggles, serving as associate director and successfully completing retained searches for CEOs, CFOs, and other senior executives across many industry sectors. Shana spent almost 20 years in the healthcare and nonprofit sectors. She began her career as a certified recreation therapist in acute and long-term care. She then transitioned into management, ultimately serving in director-level roles in development, marketing, and communications. Most recently, she spent seven years as development director for KinderMourn, Inc. Shana graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in recreation therapy. She is a member of the Junior League of Charlotte, a founding board member for SouthPark Engineering and Robotics Clubs, and currently serves on the board of Loaves and Fishes. She and her husband have three children.

​​​​​​About PMA Nonprofit Leadership 

As a firm, PMA Nonprofit Leadership is constantly developing content and programs to help you in three distinct ways.  The first way is to help you be a thought leader in the nonprofit sector by producing weekly content through our podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership. The second way is through individual coaching, training and our unique Mastermind Nonprofit Leadership program. The third way is to help your nonprofit organization through support of its strategic planning, board & staff development, and fundraising. Through our exclusive partnership with the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, we also  guide aspiring nonprofit leaders thought the virtual New Development Professionals cohort training program, as well as the annual Leadership Gift School, now entering its 10th cohort season.  Let us know how we can help you! Join our community by signing up for our free resources here, and schedule a call if you'd like to learn more about ways we can help you on your journey to nonprofit leadership.