Sammie’s Friends

Executive Director

To Apply

Sammie’s Friends has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Elly Kirschner, Senior Director
Harris Rand Lusk
260 Madison Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10016

Please send resume and cover letter with “Sammie’s Friends” in the subject line of your email to:


All positions at Sammie’s Friends  are filled without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, HIV/AIDS status, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.  All are encouraged to apply.

It all started because of Sammie, the beloved Shar-Pei of Cheryl Wicks and Curt Romander.  Realizing what a great life Sammie had, Cheryl felt compelled to help other dogs in the community who weren’t so lucky. So, in 2001, she and Curt started a volunteer program to help shelter dogs and cats. This proved to be just the beginning: in 2004, the volunteer program became Sammie’s Friends, a 501(c)3 devoted to providing medical care for the animals of Nevada County, be they in the shelter or with loving families who needed financial assistance.  In 2010, Sammie’s Friends continued its growth – operating the county shelter and providing a safe and caring place for neglected, abandoned, and abused animals to be cared for and adopted into loving homes.

Today, with the help of more than 100 volunteers, Sammie’s Friend’s not only provides safe haven and medical care for animals at the shelter but also pays for veterinary bills for more than 600 pets a year through its Community Progam.  In addition, Sammie’s Friends provides 1500 spay/neuter vouchers to pet owners who need them.

The Position
Sammie’s Friends is seeking an Executive Director who shares the founders’ and board’s commitment to and passion for the mission with a vision for the opportunity. They will be a dynamic leader and fundraiser able to advocate tirelessley on behalf of the organization.  Confidence is key – the ED will be the face and voice for the animals so must be outwardly oriented to support fundraising, special events and media opportunities. The ideal candidate will have strong management experience and, if not already knowledgeable, a willingness to learn about the challenges of pet adoption and delivering quality medical services to animals, as well as the issues that affect pets and their caregivers. They will be non-judgmental and tactful in communicating with pet owners who receive services from Sammie’s Friends.

The ED will have an entrepreneurial mind-set, someone with a high-level of energy who wants to build upon Sammie’s Friends considerable successes, ensuring its future in the communities that it serves. They will be a strong manager and non-profit leader who understands the importance of relationship building with diverse stakeholders in the community, and has had proven success in building, cultivating, and maintaining significant partnerships. The outgoing team will work with new leadership to help make introductions and help with the transition. The ED must have strong fundraising and marketing skills and be capable of making the connection with influencers and funders who will support Sammie’s Friends programs.  Additionally, they will have the operational acumen to grow and maintain a financially stable and sustainable organization.

The ideal candidate will have excellent strategic and problem-solving abilities, as well as outstanding communication and negotiation skills; they will be a persuasive presenter before diverse audiences that include corporate and non-profit leaders, elected officials, and the general public.

Specific Responsibilites:

  • Maintain Sammie’s Friends position at the forefront of delivering animal welfare services and extend the organization’s reach into new programs and communities
  • Provide leadership for all staff and programs, promoting a culture of collaboration, openness and inclusiveness and a management structure that is flexible and responsive to changing conditions
  • Direct the operations of the organization, including recruitment, hiring, and development of staff, as well as administrative policies and procedures
  • Maintain strong financial oversight; set long- and short-term financial objectives
  • Serve as chief relationship builder and fundraiser while supporting cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship with all current and new donors
  • Build relationships and collaborate with peer organizations, when appropriate, to carry out the mission and programs of Sammie’s Friends
  • Oversee all marketing and public relations activities, including the development of content and design of Sammie’s Friends website, and social media 

All candidates should have proven leadership, fundraising, and management experience as well as:

  • Bachelor’s degree; at least five years of executive-level or relevant management experience
  • Ability to provide transparent, visionary and credible leadership and advocacy for Sammie’s Friends to ensure its continued excellence and provision of programs/services
  • Accomplished fundraiser at ease with and proven success in the role of seeking and asking for individual and major gifts, as well as grant writing
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative builder who has had success growing an organization
  • Strong organizational skills with proven ability to focus, prioritize and execute
  • Comfort with technology and social media platforms
  • Strong interpersonal skills with a “soft heart and a hard head” i.e. effective, confident, compassionate
  • Demonstrated ability and success maintaining a financially stable and sustainable organization including budget preparation, analysis, decision making and reporting
  • Exceptional oral and written communications abilities, including persuasive presentation skills for diverse audiences
  • Highest levels of integrity and professionalism

Location: Sammie’s Friends is located in Grass Valley, CA, in the Sierra Foothills.  Grass Valley is the perfect combination of a small rural folksy friendly, animal loving community with a lot of cultural activity, entertainment and great food. Walking in downtown Grass Valley or neighboring Nevada City, one is carried back to the California Gold Rush. The mild climate all year around provides ample opportunity to explore many interesting hiking trails and the Yuba River. Grass Valley has a Center for the Arts where local and national level artists perform. In the winter, skiing is just an hour away in Truckee and Lake Tahoe.  Perhaps most importantly, Nevada County is a great place to have a pet.

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168