Julie Hallman at the Falaise Foundation
(9 pages of text)
In May 2014, Julie Hallman was about to assume the presidency of the struggling non-profit arts organization, the Falaise Foundation, which offered a residence for small groups of artists and scholars from around the world to work on creative endeavours at its extensive property in the South of France. The foundation was suffering financially due to a combination of weak fundraising, high operating costs, an ineffective board of trustees, and a murky relationship between the founding family and the foundation. Complicating matters was Hallman’s personal situation: she was the daughter of the foundation’s founder, who had run the organization his own way for decades until health issues forced him to step down. As a documentary filmmaker with a degree in Fine Arts, Julie Hallman had no business background. She had to develop an understanding of the root causes of the foundation’s problems and identify a set of strategies and actions to effect a successful turnaround.
The case may be used in undergraduate, MBA, or executive programs in courses on strategy, organization, leading change, and finance/accounting. It also makes for an engaging case competition case. Its objectives are:
- To highlight the specific issue of founder’s syndrome and the conditions under which it can be a problem, as well as to suggest some possible solutions.
- To consider how a new and relatively inexperienced organizational leader, struggling to make sense of a highly challenging situation, can develop a plan that will offer a plausible chance of success.
- To grapple with issues affecting many non-profit and charitable organizations that cross a range of traditionally siloed areas: accounting, strategy, governance, leadership, and change.
United States, France, Small, 2014
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