From Animal Care to Nonprofit Recruiting: Kris McFeely’s Journey to Executive Search

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Kris_McFeely_CircleKris McFeely has worked with the Campbell & Company Executive Search team since its founding days—joining nearly two decades ago and advancing in her career as the practice grew. As a Senior Consultant, Executive Search, Kris leads high-profile searches for prominent organizations across the country. Her experience spans the nonprofit sector and encompasses a long list of successful client partnerships.

Internally, she plays an important role on the team, managing the project work and professional development for Executive Search Consultants and Associate Consultants. Despite her long tenure with Campbell & Company, Kris hasn’t always been anchored in the search world. Before joining our firm, she worked as a Senior Animal Care Specialist at the Shedd Aquarium.

We caught up with Kris to learn what motivated her to make the change, why she’s passionate about her work, and how she honors her roots in conservation. 

Moving from animal care to executive search

As a child, Kris dreamed of becoming a dolphin trainer. After graduating from high school, she began volunteering with Shedd and was soon hired. She spent the next 10 years providing daily care to beluga whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, sea otters, and three species of penguins.

Beyond her hands-on work with the animals, Kris managed the Aquarium’s expansive college internship program, a role which she took to immediately. “There are still people working at Shedd that I hired as interns,” Kris remarked. “That’s the best feeling—to go back and visit them, knowing that I had a part in bringing them there. The same is true for executive search.”

After a decade with Shedd, the opportunity to come onboard with Campbell & Company arose. Kris decided to make the transition, knowing that her work with interns and familiarity with behavioral cues would translate well in this new context.

Taking pride in her work

Kris-McFeely-Callout-1From the start, Kris worked to advance the Executive Search team, helping to implement systems in an administrative position before taking an active role in searches. Over the years, she has strived to build out the team’s work in the environmental and conservation sector, an accomplishment close to Kris’s heart.

On the team management side, she takes pride in developing Campbell & Company’s emerging leaders in Executive Search: watching them grow, sharpen skills, and move up in their careers. “Managing teams of people is just as rewarding for me as finding a good placement who can make an impact for our client organizations,” Kris affirmed.

Staying true to her inner-conservationist

When she’s not leading a search or mentoring, coaching, and managing, Kris enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids. “We’re big national parks people, and we’re on a quest to visit all 50 states and as many parks as we can,” she explained. “So far we’ve visited over 30 states and 30 parks, and we learn something new every time.” Besides their enthusiasm for the national parks, Kris’s family also shares a love of scuba diving.

What does the future hold for her? A trip to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park, her 10-year-old son’s scuba diving certification this summer—and, of course, many more searches finding standout candidates for mission-driven nonprofits.  

Talent Management, Executive Search

Molly Saks

Molly Saks is a Marketing Content Associate at Campbell & Company. She works with all of the firm’s service areas to drive thought leadership strategy and create multichannel content.

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