Ep 100: The Professional Interim Executive Director (with Margo Amgott)

by Joan Garry

When your Executive Director is actually the “Interim Executive Director,” it means something went wrong… right? Well, maybe not.


Subscribe on Apple Podcasts
Subscribe on Android
Subscribe on Google Podcasts
Subscribe on Spotify

When your Executive Director is actually the “Interim Executive Director,” it means something went wrong… right?

What caused this dilemma and what are the consequences? A failed leadership search? Organizational vulnerability? A big fat red flag for potential donors?

Not long ago I spoke with a board chair about lessons learned from a failed search. What my guest today calls “the accidental interim.” I asked him what the biggest lesson was. “Oh that’s easy,” he said.

“I would have hired an interim CEO.”

Really? Well I certainly have a few questions!

This idea wasn’t a “thing” a while ago. But now we have professional interims. But doesn’t this bring up a whole bunch of issues? How do you establish credibility and trust with staff and board? Do you have any authority? Doesn’t it just prolong that “pause” or ‘wait and see’ button that donors hit during a transition?

I figure if I had these questions, you would too.

And so I went and found us an expert. A professional interim E.D.

Today’s guest, Margo Amgott who provides transitional support and project management to mission-oriented non-profit organizations, joins us to answer some big questions about being a professional interim executive director.

Listen for advice given to boards in transition who are trying to make a decision on whether or not an interim ED is the right choice for their organization.

Learn what should be expected of an interim, how long should they be in place, and whether it’s a one size fits all approach.

About Margo Amgott

Margo Amgott provides transitional support and project management to mission-oriented non-profit organizations through her consulting company, Amgott Interim LLC. She has served in leadership roles in state and local government, higher education and leading nonprofits. Amgott holds a master’s degree from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a BA from Barnard College. She currently serves as interim executive director for Studio in a School, overseeing visual arts instruction by teaching artists to more than 30,000 students each year in publicly-funded schools in New York City. Previously, she served as Interim CEO at Hearing Health Foundation, the largest non-profit funder of hearing and balance research in the U.S. and a leader in driving new innovations and treatments for people with hearing loss. She served as interim executive director at Jewish Community Project Downtown, interim associate provost at Hunter College and executive director of the NYU Child Study Center. Earlier in her career, Ms. Amgott directed the City’s Early Intervention Program for children with developmental delays and disabilities at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and spent more than 15 years at Columbia University overseeing programs providing student health and campus wellness.

In this podcast

  • The difference between an acting ED and an Interim ED
  • Is the schedule and learning curve for an Interim ED the same as a regular ED?
  • Are interims fixers or assessors?
  • How long is it appropriate to be an interim?
  • How to market an interim to stakeholders. What works and what doesn’t?
  • Is this only an internal job or can it be external?
  • How to build trust with staff
  • What should the interim involvement be, if any, in the full time search?
  • Do interim EDs make asks? How is revenue impacted?