USC Price School of Public Policy

Alumni Spotlight: Karin Stellar

Karin Stellar

Assuming the Leadership Role

from SPPD Community Connections Fall/Winter 2005

As an Associate in the executive search firm Morris & Berger, Karin Stellar helps nonprofit institutions identify and recruit new presidents, VPs, and other senior administrators.

“There are nine people in the firm, and we’re conducting 15 to 20 searches at any given time for universities, foundations, and other institutions,” she says. “I work on at least half of these searches.”

In August 2005, she found herself on the other side of the recruitment process, when she was chosen to serve as chair of the then year-old SPPD Alumni Association. As one of the association’s founding members, Stellar was on a shortlist of candidates to assume the leadership role from outgoing co-chairs Erroll Southers and Grace Cainoy.

“I had never really ended my connection with SPPD, even after I graduated,” says Stellar. So she was not surprised when she was asked in the spring of 2003 to serve on the advisory committee charged with helping to form the new association.

“It was exciting,” she says. “All of us working on the committee came to recognize that we shared similar goals and interests, even though we work in different fields.” Committee members included alumni who work as urban planners, real estate developers, public policy experts, public administrators, and healthcare managers.

“I think we’re all trying to make the world a better place-we just come at it from different angles,” says Stellar.

But first, she’ll be trying to make the alumni association an even better organization, and to do so, Stellar is focusing the board’s efforts on events and volunteer opportunities.

Stellar brings ample experience to her new role. From 1996 to 2000, she served as director of development for the USC University Libraries and USC’s Information Technology Services. In this role, she identified and cultivated donors and donor prospects and produced the division’s major events. She has also worked in alumni relations at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and in development at UC Berkeley.

“I want alumni to know that, whatever your field, we’re all under the SPPD umbrella,” she says. “All alumni can get something out of their participation in the association.”