Introduction to Interim Executive Solutions


Interim Executive Solutions:  Mission

Interim Executive Solutions is a small, independent team of highly experienced, seasoned executive problem solvers dedicated to helping non-profit organizations continue their mission and operations during times of transition in the organization’s leadership.  We are interim executive directors, available to work with non-profits in the southern New England area.

We know that a change in leadership can seem like a risky time for an organization’s Board members.  We believe it can be an excellent time for the organization to take stock of where they are and to think strategically about where they want to go.  We want to help the organization “keep the trains running” while the Board members engage a search firm to find a new Executive Director.


What Do Non Profit Organizations Need?

About every 7.6 years Organizations may need an interim Executive Director.  According to a recent study out of Temple University and University of Missouri, focusing on small and medium size businesses, the average Executive Director holds office for 7.6 years, but the optimal tenure length is 4.8 years. Many Executive Directors lose their effectiveness too soon. Whether the Board intervenes at the earlier interval or the Executive Director exits for another opportunity, the change can be jolting to an organization. In many situations a transition can be easier with an interim Executive Director who can move the organization forward while helping the Board and staff to identify issues, assess future needs and work with the non-profit’s executive search firm to determine the qualifications needed in a new Executive Director. Interim Executive Solutions offers Boards, Foundations and Executive Search firms an opportunity to bring in seasoned Executive Directors to manage the non-profit during this transition.


Situation: Executive Director Leaves Unexpectedly?

 Board and Staff are unprepared to fill the position immediately.

Either the Executive Director leaves without giving adequate notice for the non-profit to undertake a search for a replacement. Or the Executive Director is forced out. The Board needs time to conduct a thorough search for the new Executive Director and work with the staff on a transition.

Interim Executive Solutions (IES) provides an experienced professional to serve as the interim Executive Director until a permanent Executive Director is appointed.


What type of Interim Executive Director would make your organization’s transition go more smoothly?

  • Placeholder?
  • Operating Procedures Reformer?
  • Problem Solver?
  • Community Relations Builder?


Situation: Non-Profit Needs Planning Time?

Board and Staff need extra time to clarify their vision for the next stage in the non-profit’s life.
Perhaps the organization has some specific, difficult challenges that can be addressed by an interim manager creating a healthy environment for the arrival of a new, permanent Executive Director. Or the Board believes a caretaker arrangement in the interim between the old and new Executive Directors would allow time for needed Board and staff reflection on the direction and long term needs of the organization.

In some situations the organization may require additional specialized short term assistance.  IES, through its’ NonProfit Transitions office, can provide the following additional short term special services to our client organizations:


  • Strategic Planning
  • Fundraising and Development Planning
  • Software Review, Assessment and Recommendations
  • Human Resources Guidelines Review, Assessment and Recommendations



Interim Executive Solutions (IES):  How We Work

 IES provides, through our main division, interim executive directors on a temporary basis.  The price is based on the non-profit organization’s budget for an executive director.  A typical engagement can last 4 to 9 months.  An IES partner will meet with a member of the Board to get a better understanding of the organization’s needs.  IES will recommend a member of our interim executive director team to work for the organization.  When a non-profit contracts with IES, it gets the continuing support of the entire IES organization, the lead “interim”, the partners and the technical team, as needed.

IES also provides a team of technical experts to solve specific problems for non-profit organizations.  Whether it is coaching an executive, facilitating a Board of Directors retreat, building an information dashboard, improving website and social media, reviewing operations or financial controls – Interim Executive Solutions, through our Non-Profit Transitions technical and consultation resources, can help.


Interim Executive Solutions Partner Team

 Christian W. Dame, Partner

Chris has been managing change for government, business, and nonprofit organizations for over 40 years. He founded Non Profit Transitions (NPT) in 2003.  He has direct experience managing large-scale government and development projects involving design, finance, market research, legal issues, and community relations. Later he served as a consultant to closely-held businesses throughout the northeast and internationally. He has served as Interim Executive Director (IED) for many different kinds of organizations including a major homeless veteran’s shelter, Rhode Island’s largest Hispanic social service agency, a regional nonprofit housing development agency, a child care center, and a $30 million social service agency. He’s consulted to funders in several states about nonprofit turnarounds.

Christian W. Dame

Chris has a Masters in City Planning from Harvard University. He completed the Third Sector New England Interim Executive Directors training program. He speaks frequently at conferences, and he is a certified professional mediator. He is also an experienced international mountain climber and photographer.



 Franklin Reece, Partner

Mr. Reece is a seasoned executive with over 40 years of management experience in both industry and not-for-profit organizations. An enthusiastic entrepreneurial leader, he has established strengths in strategic planning, fundraising and financial management, product and program introduction,  marketing, organizational transition management, and board development.  After serving as President of the public entity, Frank transitioned from his for-profit to his not-for-profit career with an interim experience serving as a Senior Fellow at Tuft’s University’s College of Citizenship and Public Service. More recently Frank has dedicated his leadership energies to the non-profit arena, particularly environmental science education for urban youth and experiential learning through horticulture and the natural world. He co-founded the Global Habitat Project and oversaw the merger with the Urban Ecology Institute.  

Frank is a graduate of Harvard College and resides in Cambridge Massachusetts with his wife of 45 years, “Sam”. Their two grown children, Tom and Bettina, also live in the Greater Boston area. He continues to learn about the wonders of life from his two young grandchildren.




Barbara Thornton, Managing Partner

Barbara Thornton is an entrepreneur with a solid skill set in initiating new projects, working with problem solving, organizational development, change management and strategic facilitation. She brings a combination of deep experience in public policy, internet technology, social services and theater.  She offers a strong educational background and a passionate interest in issues facing organizations in transition.  Her background includes experience working with populations in need of special support including policy and financial interventions.  She worked in the “war on poverty” for the Fort Green Community Corporation in New York City.   She served as Director of Planning for the Dept. of Mental Retardation during the deinstitutionalization of state schools and helped develop the statewide network of community residences and sheltered workshops.  She ran a federally funded demonstration program in conjunction with the Cambridge Housing Authority to provide housing and services to homeless women and their children. As a member of the Charlestown Working Theater in Boston, she raised money to acquire and develop the property and plan a series of special neighborhood programs.  She served as the Director of the Local Officials Human Services Council, a part of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, to work with the state’s cities and towns to strengthen their human services related capacities, including health services, veterans services, senior centers and councils on aging, and children’s services.

Barbara Thornton

Barbara earned a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Master in City Planning from Yale University, School of Art and Architecture.  She and her husband live in Arlington MA.  Their two children are now grown, busily expanding the brand and creating good works in other parts of the country.