Mary Lee Montague: Executive Search Consultant, North America

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Mary Lee Montague

Mary Lee Montague is an award-winning search consultant and leads DHR’s Nonprofit Practice for North America. Read more >

Mary Lee Montague is an award-winning search consultant and leads DHR’s Nonprofit Practice for North America.

Mary Lee brings a unique background and real-world, bottom-line philosophy to nonprofit C-level recruitment. Her expansive pedigree includes both internal tenure and external consulting for a wide range of local, domestic and global nonprofit clients.

Personally, she is a sought after fundraiser and board member, deeply versed in the challenges of the nonprofit world in which she’s chosen to concentrate. With this background, she has developed a reputation for going beyond what organizations may initially seek in executive leadership to ensure they get the leader they absolutely require to accomplish their goals. This approach has led to record-setting retention levels, excellent diversity placement (35-50%), client satisfaction and repeat client engagement. 

Recognized as a thought leader, Mary Lee recently co-authored with DHR’s Global Technology Partner, a highly touted white paper documenting the importance and trend of having a CIO ‘at the nonprofit table’. She has been interviewed by NBC News, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Investors Business Daily. And frequently lectures at Northwestern Kellogg School of Management Center for Nonprofit Management.

Her personal commitment to philanthropy and mission as well as service-based organizations underscores her expertise. She currently serves International Women’s Forum (IWF) Leadership Foundation Board of Directors and recently participated in their Harvard Executive Leadership Program.  She also serves on the IWF Chicago Forum Board of Directors.   

Her past Board appointments include: World Foundation of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts; Young Women’s Leadership Charter School (Co-chair Development); Anixter Center, a human services organization for people with disabilities. She was Co-chair, Civic Affairs Committee, Executives’ Club of Chicago and the proud Founding Chair, YWCA Board of Ambassadors.

A lifelong Girl Scout, Mary Lee spent 10 years as a Board member of The Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, and helped facilitate their national merger efforts.  She is also the co-founder of their highly successful initiative, CAMP CEO. 

Additional social service background includes 15 years at Chicago’s premiere PBS station WTTW; early years working on Capitol Hill; 25+ years as an active members of the Economic Club of Chicago; hands on volunteering including the Katrina relief mission, fundraising volunteer for the Chautauqua Institution, and the Junior League of Chicago. She is also a graduate of Chicago’s Second City Improv Ensemble.

Mary Lee is a true global citizen who works across North America, is based in Chicago at DHR’s corporate headquarters, but keeps grounded by working on local searches within her own community. < Read less



Chicago | North America


President of International Women’s Forum Chicago Board of Directors and the International Women’s Forum Foundation Board
October 2017

International Women's Forum Chicago Announce 2017-2018 Officers & Board

Mary Lee Montague of DHR International has been named president of the International Women’s Forum in Chicago (IWF Chicago) for the remainder of 2017 and 2018. More >

May 2017

DHR Completes Search for Shedd Aquarium Chief Development Officer

Global Executive Search firm DHR International is pleased to announce the successful placement of Gina Rodriguez as the Chief Development Officer of the Shedd Aquarium. Rodriguez will begin the position June 5. The search was completed by Managing Partner of the North American Nonprofit Practice, Mary Lee Montague. More >

October 2016 | Crain's

Experienced development directors a hot commodity

Good development professionals are as scarce and as expensive as "Hamilton" tickets. More >

October 2016

DHR International to head CASL's new CEO search

After an exhaustive and diligent process, CASL's Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has hired an award-winning search consultant, Mary Lee Montague from DHR International, to conduct CASL's search for its next Chief Executive Officer. More >

July 2016 | White Papers

The CIO's emerging role in the nonprofit sector

A growing number of nonprofits, in response to donor requests for outcome- and efficiency-related data, as well as needs from nonprofit programming, marketing and overall fundraising, are creating a Chief Information Officer position to further their technology capabilities.The need for a CIO at nonprofits has been influenced, in part, by the increase in information requests from various funding sources. More >

June 2015 | Hunt Scanlon Media

DHR Identifies CEO for United Way of Salt Lake

DHR International has recruited Bill Crim as the new chief executive officer of United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL). Mr. Crim, who has been in executive positions with UWSL since 2004, was the unanimous choice of a CEO search committee that had been vetting candidates during a nine-month process. More >

April 2014 | The Glass Hammer

Leaving Corporate for a Nonprofit: How to Adapt Your Leadership Style

According to the 2013 Nonprofit HR Solutions employment trends survey, 40 percent of nonprofits indicated an increase in staff size in 2013, and 44 percent had plans to create positions in the upcoming year. This percentage follows an increasing trend, up from 33 percent in 2011 and 43 percent in 2012. As the nonprofit world continues to expand, many women have made the transition, using their for-profit experience to succeed in their new roles. More >

January 2014 | Investor's Business Daily

Approach change with open mind and willing attitude

Change is opportunity to professionals. How to seize possibilities in the workplace. More >