Boston—July 21, 2021—The Bridgespan Group today announced both the appointment of Echoing Green’s President Cheryl Dorsey as Co-chair of the organization’s Board, and Partner and Head of US Advisory William Foster as the new Managing Partner of the firm. Since its inception more than 20 years ago, Bridgespan has been led by founders Tom Tierney and Jeff Bradach, with Bradach serving as Managing Partner and Tierney as the organization’s Board Chair. Dorsey has served on Bridgespan’s Board since 2017, and Foster first joined Bridgespan in 2002.
Bradach will remain at Bridgespan and transition his full-time focus to client work, research and knowledge projects, expanding the firm’s global reach, supporting its work on racial equity, and continued Board service. Foster will take on the daily leadership, working in concert with organizational leadership
to manage staff and client development, operations, finance and fundraising. Tierney will remain as Co-chair of the Board with Dorsey
Speaking of her new role as Board Co-chair Dorsey said, “This really means a lot to me. I have been a client, a consumer of Bridgespan thought leadership and tools, and have seen the difference Bridgespan advisory teams have made, including in my own organization. I have watched, listened and learned during my time on the Bridgespan Board. It is an honor to join Tom Tierney as Co-chair and I am so looking forward to working even more closely with William and walking alongside the rest of the Bridgespan team.”
According to Bradach, “Bridgespan was always conceived of as a partnership and these changes are part of living into an updated operating model Bridgespan has mapped out for itself.” He said, “We are embracing an ethos of distributed servant leadership, where all partners are leaders of the firm, supported by a subset of the partners who take operational management roles, including the role of Managing Partner (MP). Going forward, MPs will serve four-year terms, with an opportunity to be renewed one time. We aspire to retain Managing Partners subsequent to their term and have them continue to contribute to our mission and those we serve. While the new model may look like an unusual structure for a nonprofit, we believe it is exactly what we need to unleash the full potential of the organization in service of others as we work to move the world toward greater equity and justice.”
Tierney added, “After an incredibly in-depth review that included myriad interviews with the partner group and others, the Board made the unanimous decision to offer William the role and we are thrilled that he accepted. He has been an outstanding contributor to clients and to our knowledge work over the years, and his skills as a strategist, in developing people and teams, and his commitment to our equity and global strategy goals are among the many reasons he was selected for this inaugural role.”
Foster said, “I am immensely grateful to Tom, Jeff, the Board and my colleagues for everything I have learned and continue to learn from them, for building this amazing organization, and setting us on a course to have even greater impact in the world. I am humbled by the trust being placed in me.”
Foster also noted that he would continue to lean into the firm’s racial equity commitments and strategy and its broader equity work globally. “We seek to be a global multi-racial organization. We are making solid progress towards that goal, but know we have much more to do.”
Bridgespan reports that once these role changes take effect, its leadership team will be 50% female, and 58% BIPOC (17% Black, 42% Asian or Asian American). “As an American white man stepping into this position, I recognize that I have much still to learn from my colleagues and others whose experiences have long been grounded in the equity movement, and that we must look for ways to use the power inherent in this role to advance the work of others. I expect this collective effort to make us a stronger, better organization. Bridgespan’s ultimate impact is measured by those we have the opportunity to serve—and an important priority for us will be to deepen our capabilities with advocacy, movement, and other groundwater organizations in order to help really shift systems and structures that stand in the way of making the world more just and equitable,” William said.
“As we turn the page to our next chapter,” said Bradach, “I am hopeful and excited to see what Bridgespan will accomplish in the next 20 years. We are at an inflection point for civil society and philanthropy and Bridgespan has a distinctive opportunity to support social change leaders. With William and the leadership team at Bridgespan charting the path forward, I am confident we will continue to learn, grow, and serve in ways that make the world a better place.”
The Bridgespan Group (www.bridgespan.org) is a global nonprofit that collaborates with social change organizations, philanthropists, and impact investors to make the world more equitable and just. Bridgespan’s services include strategy consulting and advising, sourcing and diligence, and leadership team support. We take what we learn from this work and build on it with original research, identifying best practices and innovative ideas to share with the social sector. We work from locations in Boston, Johannesburg, Mumbai, New York, and San Francisco.