Executive Search Firm Placement: Mark Welther, President and CEO, Call of the Sea.

Susan Brown

After more than two decades as an executive recruiter in the highly competitive corporate world of Silicon Valley, Susan joined CVNL in the spring of 2018 to meld her previous nonprofit volunteer interests with her professional commitment to excellence in search. Her extensive experience with global search leaders Korn-Ferry International, Boyden, and Booz Allen, working on behalf of corporate leaders and complex client organizations, has served her well in her move to the world of nonprofits.

Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) is pleased to announce the placement of Mark Welther as the new President and CEO of Call of the Sea. Mark began his new position in January 2022 and looks forward to bringing his love of traditional sailing ships, plus 23 years of experience leading conservation and education nonprofits to serve the organization’s programs and clientele. 

Mark began his nonprofit career at the California League of Conservation Voters, serving for nine years as Development Officer and Membership Director. He then stepped in as Founding Executive Director of the Spaulding Wooden Boat Center, where he pioneered the innovative and diverse Youth Boatbuilding & Sailing Program, partnered with the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding, and directed the initial restoration of Freda, the oldest private sailing yacht in San Francisco. 

In 2009, Mark returned to conservation to serve as the Executive Director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society, leading the award-winning Eco-Education Program and the raptor-protecting Altamont Pass repowering project. From 2013 to 2021, Mark led the nonprofit Redwood Forest Foundation as President & CEO, managing the nation’s largest community-owned working forest. Among his achievements at RFFI were a $5 million salmon stream restoration project and registration of California’s largest carbon offset project, which addressed climate change by sequestering more than 5,000,000 metric tonnes of carbon. 

Mark learned to sail at Berkeley’s OCSC, and raced on a championship J-29 team. He also restored a Tayana 37 cruising sailboat, and owned and raced an Olympic class Finn. Mark held a U.S. Sailing Small Boat Level One Instructor Certificate, and served as volunteer crew for two seasons on the Pegasus Youth Educational Project 50-foot Alden ketch Pegasus

The right person in the right position makes all the difference.

Many thanks to Susan and her team for working with us constructively at all times, even through hiccups like switching up our search committee head on her midstream. The background work and advice Susan offered was instrumental to a successful outcome.

– CEO Search for Greater Farallones Association, Jeff Loomans – Board President

We had a great experience working with Susan and CVNL. She took the time to get to know our agency, and the specific program we were hiring for. We knew we had a challenging position to hire for, and I felt reassured that she would stick with us through the full process, and the way she handled the details and logistics was a huge relief. The communication with the CVNL team was easy and consistent. I trusted Susan’s expertise about candidates and the search process, and we ultimately found someone we are very happy with. We would absolutely use CVNL again, and would recommend them for any agency who is searching.

– School Principal Search for Edgewood Center for Children and Families (NPS), Justine Underhill – Chief Program Officer

About CVNL Executive Search

Change is inevitable. When nonprofit organizations experience leadership transitions, many lack the time or resources to maintain stability and resilience. Our Executive Search Firm offers expert support in executive search, placement of experienced interim leaders, succession planning, and on-boarding. Learn more.