At this moment, two things are true for me: I have never been prouder and more humbled by the privilege of serving as President/CEO of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland – and I am feeling called to a professional transition. It’s never easy to decide to leave an organization in which you have deep roots, that you believe is doing critically important work for your community, and that you see making a greater impact with each passing year. But I believe this is a moment when I can leave confident CFHZ is in a position of strength, set up for continued success and exceptional service to the Holland/Zeeland community.
That confidence has allowed me the peace of mind to know that this is the right time to make my professional transition. I have notified the Board of Trustees that I will be stepping down from my role as President/CEO, and have committed to remaining onboard until a new President/CEO is hired in the first half of 2023. I am working closely with the Board to ensure a smooth and intentional transition process.
Stewarding this season of transition well is extremely important to me because CFHZ has been a very important part of my life for the last 20 years, and it will continue to be important to me for the rest of my life. From my first introduction to the Foundation as a high school Youth Advisory Committee member, to serving as a Development Committee member, and then as a staff member for the last 11 years, CFHZ has been a constant in my personal and professional journey. Being entrusted to serve my hometown in these roles is an honor I will always cherish.
While there are many amazing, and impactful, organizations in our community, I believe CFHZ has a unique role to play in ensuring that our community thrives today, tomorrow, and forever. Our mission is timeless, and our organization is set up to be relevant for generations to come. We have a talented and dedicated staff, a wise and committed Board of Trustees, a strong financial position (including being in the midst of a record fundraising season) and a clear vision for stewarding our resources to create lasting, positive change for all.
Leaving while an organization is strong is a crucial element of successful leadership transitions. Another important element in a season of change such as this is a strong board that will bring their collective wisdom, perspective, and expertise to the selection of a new leader. The CFHZ Board is in an excellent position to conduct a thorough search, and they will be assisted by Kittleman & Associates a national executive search firm, dedicated exclusively to recruiting leaders for nonprofit organizations. Kittleman & Associates knows West Michigan well having recently supported multiple local foundation executive searches including the Muskegon and Fremont Community Foundations as well as the Frey and Steelcase Foundations out of Grand Rapids.
They are already working with the Board of Trustees to develop a position guide that outlines the preferred qualifications and characteristics for the next President/CEO. The finalized position description and application process will be available in the coming weeks. If you have any questions or comments during this transition period, please do not hesitate to contact our board chair, Diane Kooiker, at email@example.com. Please know that during this time, the board, staff, and I are fully committed to continuing to deliver at the highest level in service of our mission and our partners.
As for what’s next for me, I have not committed to what my next professional role will be. I’m focused on three priorities during this season. First, to lead CFHZ well through this transition, serving the board, staff, and community to ensure a seamless handoff to the next President/CEO. Second, to take some time off in between roles to invest in my family/friends, travel, and re-energize in a deeper way than is possible while leading an important community institution. Lastly, to fully embrace this moment to listen attentively to the possibilities that may be out there for me to stretch myself, grow in my leadership, and increase the breadth of my impact in the world.
While leaving a role and an organization I love was a hard decision to make, I am also genuinely excited to see what the next chapter will bring for the continued growth and impact of CFHZ in our service to the Holland/Zeeland community.
Thank you for all that you have done in partnership with CFHZ, and all that you will do in the future, to ensure that the Holland/Zeeland area thrives today, tomorrow, and forever.
With deep gratitude,