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Arts & Culture Leader Yoo-Jin Hong joins KEES as Executive Search Specialist

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Yoo-Jin Hong, a versatile strategist with a passion for community action and positive change, joins KEES as Executive Search Manager. Bringing nearly 20 years of non-profit experience and having held a variety of positions in performing arts and cultural organizations, Hong will serve clients and candidates in a multitude of ways. Specializing in Executive Search, Hong will be responsible for providing a full range of talent acquisition and leadership services with a focus on candidate relations and developing a diverse talent pipeline, while working collaboratively with clients nationwide to support KEES’s continued growth.

“Yoo-Jin is a strategic professional with a diverse background and an impressive skill set,” said Heather Eddy, President and CEO of KEES. “Her passion for nonprofits, in particular cultural organizations, will be a driving force to help continue to build and expand KEES work in the arts and culture space, and I am beyond thrilled to have Yoo-Jin join KEES.” 

Most recently as Founder and Consultant at SeventhAbove, Hong provided coaching, consulting, and management services for independent artists, creative collectives, and mission-driven arts organizations. Bringing together her experiences as a lifelong musician and a gritty non-profit leader, Hong has provided tailored services for organizations such as Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, Equity Arc, and Asian Musical Voices of America. She thrives on building supportive and inclusive environments for creative people to do their best work.

As the Executive Director of Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School and Festival, Hong was responsible for all aspects of organizational planning and operations, fundraising, financial management, internal and external relations, and oversight of the 15-acre campus grounds and facilities. During her accomplished tenure, she streamlined organizational practices to improve student experience and patron engagement. Hong also surpassed annual fundraising goals for 2021 and 2022 and increased unrestricted funds and cash reserve. Collaborating with the Board of Directors resulted in strengthened fundraising and donor engagement strategies and early planning of a multi-year capital campaign.

Prior to her time at Kneisel Hall, Yoo-Jin Hong served as Vice President for Guest Experience at the Adler Planetarium, where she oversaw the museum’s full portfolio of exhibitions, public programs, and guest services. In her commitment to equity and inclusion practices, Hong enhanced public programs to amplify underrepresented voices and launched collaborative programs with a variety of musicians, artists, Black and Latinx scientists, and LGBTQIA+ communities.

Building on her leadership experiences, Hong is excited to bring her expertise to KEES. “I was drawn to the way KEES personalizes the search work to each client partner as well as the candidates seeking career advancement. The KEES team really invests in learning each organization’s underlying culture, strengths, and needs to find the right match,” said Hong. “I’m thrilled to join KEES, whose dedication to the nonprofit and public sector resonates strongly with my own values. I look forward to contributing my experiences to the wider network of purpose-driven organizations throughout the country.”

As a classically trained flutist, Hong’s early career path included tenures at the League of American Orchestras in New York and prestigious arts organizations in the Chicagoland area, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. Hong holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL, and holds a third degree, in Orchestral Studies, from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. As an expert with knowledge and experience in her field, Hong was invited to serve as a Grant Panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts (Music Division) in 2016, 2019, 2021, and 2022.

Additionally, Hong has recently completed Cornell University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion certificate, and is currently working toward a professional coach certification at the Co-Active Training Institute. Hong is also an avid runner and triathlete. 


KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in nonprofit and public sectors. A woman-owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services, including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. To learn more about KEES, visit  


Jamie Sheffler,