Taking the Helm: Jacqueline Belsito’s Journey as the Sens Community Foundation President

Taking the Helm: Jacqueline Belsito’s Journey as the Sens Community Foundation President

At Keynote Search, we take immense pride in connecting exceptional executives with organizations that drive meaningful change in our communities. Our executive search team in Ottawa had the privilege of facilitating a transformative placement for the Sens Community Foundation just over a year ago with Jacqueline Belsito joining the organization as their new President.

We caught up with her to gather insights into her decision to join the organization, the exciting year she had, and the exciting initiatives ahead.

A Captivating Opportunity

Jacqueline Belsito’s decision to leave her dream job at the CHEO Foundation for the position of President at the Sens Community Foundation was not one she took lightly. In an unexpected turn of events, the challenge of revitalizing an NHL Foundation proved too enticing to resist. Belsito identified three key elements that made this opportunity perfect for her: the chance to collaborate with excellence, the entrepreneurial challenge of launching a Foundation for a renowned brand, and, most importantly, the opportunity to make a tangible difference for children and youth in Ottawa and the surrounding areas.

“This endeavor marries my passion, expertise, and the potential to create something truly transformative for children in our community.” she commented.

In her pursuit of the right role, Belsito emphasized the importance of diligence in the decision-making process. Working with Keynote, a trusted executive search firm, proved to be essential. 

“I knew that I needed to exercise diligence in the process. Working with a trusted recruiter was essential and I knew and trusted the leadership team at Keynote Search. Throughout the journey, Donna Baker’s transparency and unwavering support was invaluable. Her guidance and experience made a world of difference in navigating this pivotal career move.”

– Jacqueline Belsito, President, Sens Community Foundation. 

Future Initiatives for the Sens Foundation

Belsito sheds light on the exciting initiatives the Sens Foundation is currently spearheading. “Our focus is clear: to support those less fortunate and make a meaningful, lasting difference in their lives. Together, we are creating a brighter future for our community and those who need it the most.”

With the success of a recent fundraising golf tournament and the upcoming Sens Gala promising to be a highlight of the season, the Foundation is actively working to effect real change in the lives of children and youth in the community. Collaborating with donors, the community, players, and fans, the Foundation is committed to transforming philanthropic dreams into a reality, creating a brighter future for those in need.

Thriving Under New Ownership

The recent change in ownership for the Ottawa Senators has brought exhilarating developments to the team and its associated foundation. Belsito expresses enthusiasm for the new owner’s clear vision, focusing not only on winning the Stanley Cup but also on community engagement and support. The Foundation, under the leadership of the Board of Directors, is embarking on an exciting journey with an owner who shares their values and aspirations.

The Role of Executive Coaching in Transition

Brenda Kirkwood, the executive coach, played a crucial role in Belsito’s early integration into the new organization. Her guidance provided strategic insights and valuable advice, ensuring she was well-prepared and confident in tackling the challenges that come with such a significant role. 

“Having someone help me navigate the waters, offering strategic insights and valuable advice was indispensable. Brenda’s guidance ensured that I was well-prepared and confident in taking on the challenges that come with such a role. This type of support for both the employer and the employee is something that I would strongly recommend.”  

– Jacqueline Belsito, President, Sens Community Foundation. 

Insights into Hiring in the Non-Profit Sector

Belsito shares insights into hiring within the non-profit sector, acknowledging the unique challenges involved. With considerations for remote work options, diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as the specialized skills required for fundraising and leadership roles, finding the perfect match can be time-consuming. Belsito recommends leveraging personal networks and specialized job boards, but for key roles, the expertise of outside recruiters becomes invaluable. Their experience and insight facilitate the identification and engagement of the right talent, streamlining the process of finding the ideal team member.

Jacqueline Belsito’s journey to the Sens Community Foundation showcases the importance of aligning passion, expertise, and a commitment to making a positive impact. As she leads the Foundation into a new era, the community can anticipate transformative initiatives and a brighter future for the children and youth it serves.

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