Live Baltimore


For people moving to the area locals affectionately call Charm City, Live Baltimore provides a consolidated resource for everything from buying a home to researching the city’s many neighborhoods. The organization deals with people in transition every day, but a few years ago, it had a major transition of its own.

When its executive director left after 9 years of service, Live Baltimore faced a predicament that, according to one national survey, will be faced by a whopping 65 percent of organizations by the end of the decade. They realized it wasn’t enough to just put out the call for a replacement. For the new executive to be successful, Live Baltimore needed to be crystal clear about its future direction – and the kind of executive it wanted to hire. Managance was called upon to assist Live Baltimore’s Transition Committee with leadership planning, as well as a strategic review of the organization’s objectives and goals.

“This was a time of anxiety for us,” said Betsy Nelson, who chaired the Transition Committee. “We didn’t know how much of what we were going through was standard, and how much was unique to us. Managance really helped anchor us, and helped us to clarify the issues we needed to deal with.”

Managance created all the materials for both Live Baltimore’s organizational review and its executive search plan.

“This was all enormously helpful, because the review materials helped us clarify what we want to do, and where we are going as an organization,” Betsy said. “It was really beneficial to sort that out during the transition period, because that helped us realize the qualifications we needed for our new Executive Director.”

Live Baltimore did the executive search on its own – and the outcome was a success. The new Executive Director, Anna Custer, has been on board for more than a year now, and the Board and staff are very satisfied with her job performance.

Along with her role on the Transition Committee, Betsy happens to be an executive director herself. She holds that position with the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.

“From working with Managance, I feel I know more about the process of executive transition planning,” she said. “One of the things I really find reassuring about them is that it’s never just about the specific work. It’s about institution building and making sure we can all see the big picture.” Betsy feels no hesitation about recommending Managance to other socially responsible organizations.

“I’ve already referred them quite a lot,” she says, laughing. “They are consummate professionals and I am proud to be associated with them.”