About AtlaExecutive Director Search

Atla announced in January 2022 that Brenda Bailey-Hainer will be stepping down from her position in August after eleven years as Atla’s Executive Director.

In her message to the Atla community, Bailey-Hainer shared:

“It’s hard to say goodbye to Atla’s members, affiliated organizations, collaborators, and business partners. It’s the right time for me to leave but also the right time for Atla. Atla is financially strong, with both a solid base for annual operations and a steadily growing endowment. I know that the next Executive Director will find the support and resources needed to move Atla forward. I’m confident that I’m leaving Atla well-positioned for another 75 years of success.”

Read the full press release.

The Search Begins

The Board has launched the nationwide search, facilitated by Isaacson, Miller, for Atla’s next Executive Director.

View Job Posting

News & Updates

Executive Director Search Update

Kris Veldheer, Atla Board Member and chair of the Executive Director search committee, shares an update on the committee's progress.

Atla Board Shares Transition Plan for New Executive Director

Atla Board President Christina Torbert responds to the news of Brenda Bailey-Hainer's retirement and shares the Board's transition plan.

Atla Announces Leadership Transition

Atla announced Brenda Bailey-Hainer will be stepping down from her position in August as Atla’s Executive Director. Learn what's next.

Atla Executive Director Brenda Bailey-Hainer Announces Retirement

After eleven years with Atla, Brenda Bailey-Hainer will be retiring as Executive Director on August 31.


When will the current Executive Director be retiring?

Brenda Bailey-Hainer will be retiring as of August 31, 2022.

What search firm will the board be working with to select a new Executive Director?

The board has selected Isaacson, Miller as the executive search firm they will work with to conduct a nationwide search for the next Executive Director of Atla. Jackie Mildner is leading this search with Rachel Brown and Pamela Carty. View a PDF for more information.

The search firm will handle information gathering, vetting of candidates, and coordinating various search-related activities. 

Who will serve on the search committee?

The search committee is comprised of current and former Atla board members, a representative of the Atla staff senior leadership team, and an individual with library consortia and association experience.

What process will the search committee follow?

The board is working to define the process and how input will be sought from key stakeholder groups, including staff and members.

What is the timeline for selecting a new Executive Director?

The board is working to define the timeline for the search process.

What process will the search committee follow?

To start, the search firm will hold listening sessions with key stakeholders, including Board, Atla members, and staff. Isaacson, Miller (IM) is eager to learn more about Atla and this critical leadership role.

After IM has had an opportunity to meet with members and other key stakeholders, they will synthesize what they have learned into a position profile that lays out the key opportunities and challenges ahead for the Executive Director. This document will be a compelling description of Atla, its history, and mission, as well as a realistic and enticing picture of the challenges, measures of success, and ideal qualifications for the role.

Once approved, IM will share this document broadly with prospective candidates and key sources. IM will be eager to hear the names of individuals recommended for the role or as sources in their networking. Thoughts and suggestions may be sent to IM at this link: https://www.imsearch.com/search-detail/S8-433

When are the listening sessions for members?

Isaacson, Miller (IM) has scheduled two listening sessions for members:

If you would like to attend one of these sessions, contact us to receive the Zoom meeting link.

In preparation for the discussion, please consider the following questions:

Members who are unable to attend either session may send thoughts and suggestions to IM at this link: https://www.imsearch.com/search-detail/S8-433

Will there be an Interim Executive Director?

At this time, there are no plans to have an Interim Executive Director. The board anticipates designing the search timeline to select a new Executive Director prior to Brenda’s retirement.

Will the new Executive Director be expected to live in Chicago, Illinois, USA?

As of February 2021, Atla’s workforce is completely distributed. The new Executive Director will not be expected to reside in Chicago, Illinois, USA. However, since Atla maintains a small office in Chicago, travel to that location will periodically be required. Successful candidates for the Executive Director position must be legally able to work in the USA and be based in the USA.