Carnelian Search Carnelian Search

Introducing Carnelian Search

Finding the right person to take on a leadership position at a charity or social impact organisation is hard. Carnelian Search is a small, focused and mission-driven team dedicated to getting this important job right.

We focus on the appointment of board members, CEOs and their direct reports.

We take on only a handful of projects at a time, so we can give you the deeply personalised search process that is right for you. Our work is about people, not just processes. So we treat each client and every project individually. We take the time to properly understand your team, to ensure we find someone with just the right skills and experience to meet your needs.

If you have never used an executive search company before, we know just how to support you through our tried and tested method. And even if you’ve done this dozens of times, you’ll find Carnelian Search’s bespoke and thorough approach helps us fill even the most challenging position.

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In Spring 2022, Keychange approached Carnelian to support them in securing a new Chief Executive. Maddy Thomson, Chair of Trustees, described the process:

Having appointed an interim leader, we engaged Carnelian to help us find a new permanent Chief Executive to steer Keychange through a challenging time in our sector and on towards a new future. Throughout the process, we were kept informed of progress and in due course were presented with a varied longlist including candidates with a breadth of strengths and experiences. After a competitive series of interviews, the trustees were united in our choice of a preferred candidate. Carnelian remained on hand to support us through final discussions and communication with candidates, in due course securing our new Chief Executive who is now several months into the role. Carnelian were sensitive in understanding what it means for Keychange to be a Christian charity, assessing with precision both the character and skill we required in potential candidates. We would confidently work with them again.
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Maddy Thomson, Chair of Trustees Maddy Thomson, Chair of Trustees
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1. Our Approach

Our approach is tailored to the most senior and challenging appointments. We particularly enjoy developing strong partnerships with clients, listening well, conducting deep research, digging out the very best candidates, and crafting a bespoke approach to each search. We don't apply a one-size-fits-all formula.

This is what you can expect when partnering with us for your next executive search:

  • Thorough research

    Excellent executive search requires deep thought, a rigorous attention to detail and painstaking research. We normally spend considerably longer on the research phase than most search firms in the sector. This is the best way to make sure no stone is unturned and is the best model for the most senior and challenging appointments.

  • Consultant-led

    Each search is led by a consultant who personally gives it dedicated and detailed attention. We deliberately take on only a small number of searches at a time.

  • Sector expertise

    We only take on projects for charities and other mission-focused organisations, which means we have a focus and expertise in your field. We understand what is unique about recruitment in this sector and where to look to find the best people.

  • Creativity

    People are not cogs in a machine and search cannot be a box-ticking process. Each search requires wisdom, discernment, relational sensitivity and creativity. Although good process is important, we love to be imaginative and go beyond the obvious solutions when conducting any search. We are not interested in a formulaic approach or easy-to-fill roles.

  • Shared vocation

    We only work with organisations when we believe deeply in what they do. You are not simply a client to us, but someone we are excited to partner with because we share your passion to make a difference. Fundamentally, we are mission-driven.

2. Our Values

The way we work is different, because it is built on different values. Here’s what is important to us:

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3. Insights

We have had the privilege of working with a wide variety of organisations with a social or charitable cause, partnering with them in the appointment of outstanding leaders to drive their organisations forwards.

Click on the links to read some of our reflections on our work.

We have much more on how Carnelian Search was able to help charities like yours.

Read the insights

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We sent out a newsletter each quarter packed with insights, interviews and advice, designed to help you and your senior colleagues lead well and keep learning.

4. Our Team

Carnelian Search is nothing without the team of people behind it.


Allan Beckett

Allan Beckett

Consultant & Founder

Allan is the founder of Carnelian Search. He started his career in executive search at Lygon Group, helping some of the UK’s largest businesses to appoint C-suite executives and Non-Executive Directors. After working in the charity sector, he set up Carnelian with the goal of serving organisations that have a strong charitable or social purpose. He has led on CEO, trustee, and Director-level appointments for a wide range of clients. He has a master’s degree in Physics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford.

Jonathan Payne

Jonathan Payne


Jonathan was previously at the executive search firm Perrett Laver, where he was part of a growing practice serving schools and other educational organisations. Whilst there, Jonathan led the research for the appointments of Headteachers, Chief Operating Officers and other senior leaders for HMC schools in and outside the UK. He joined the Carnelian team in 2019. He holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford.

Abigail Marthinet-Glover

Abigail Marthinet-Glover


Abi graduated from Oxford University in 2019 having read History, and went on to do a MA in Early Modern History at King's College London. She joined Carnelian part-time whilst completing her masters, and is now one of our consultants. She sits as a trustee on two faith-based charity boards.

Emilia Pickering

Emilia Pickering


Emilia is a music graduate from King’s College London and completed her degree in 2020. She has since worked for a Christian music charity whilst also studying for a Diploma in Biblical Theology at Moore College, Sydney.

Deborah Cartmill

Deborah Cartmill


Deborah read English Literature at the University of Cambridge and graduated in 2021. She worked as a ministry intern for a year after graduation, before joining Carnelian Search.

Siobhan Breslin

Siobhan Breslin

Executive Assistant

Siobhan joined Carnelian part-time in 2018 to assist with administration. In 2019 she completed her second degree, in Psychology, having obtained her first degree in Business Studies from Nottingham Trent University. She enjoyed a career in corporate benefits before becoming a mother to her three children. Today, she also practices as a mental health counsellor.


Tayo Arikawe

International Director, Langham Partnership

Simon Barrington

Founder of Forge Leadership and previous CEO of Samaritan’s Purse

Andrew Barton

Fundraising and strategy consultant

Andy Dipper

Previous Principal and CEO at All Nations College

Jill Garret

Executive coach and mentor

Sir Charles Hoare

Trustee and consultant

Nola Leach

Previous CEO of CARE

Charles McLachlan

Executive coach and founder of the CEO Growth Academy

Alastair Reid

General Secretary TISCA and previous Headteacher

Ann Saunders

Director for People at Wycliffe UK

5. Get in Touch

Relationship is at the heart of what we do as Carnelian Search. Every search we carry out begins with an open conversation about your organisation and what it is looking for. Let’s arrange to talk today:


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