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Leadership Announcement - July 2021 


This Spring, the Compass Center Board of Directors, embarked on a search to identify the next Executive Director of Compass Center.  Out of a pool of more than 150 applicants, the search committee (made up of board members, staff, and community members), interviewed 13 semi-finalists and had several rounds of interviews with 3 finalists. Ultimately, Compass Center decided that none of the candidates were the ideal fit to lead the agency into the future despite their many strong qualifications. We are grateful for the feedback given by staff and community member volunteers that supported this decision. 


We have taken some time to put a plan in place for this longer than expected transition period that honors the wishes of our Interim leadership staff to step back into their usual roles and keeps all the work of the agency running smoothly. The Board is working to engage a search firm to help identify our next Executive Director, which we anticipate will take until the end of the year.

Compass Center is excited to share with you that Bethann West James has just started as our new Interim Executive Director. Bethann has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector and has served as Interim Executive Director a number of times at other organizations. Bethann shares, “I am incredibly honored to step in and support the great work accomplished by the highly qualified staff of Compass Center. My goal is to offer my leadership and prepare the organization and the team to receive their next great leader.” We are looking forward to working with her.


Susan Friedman, our Associate Director and Interim Co-Executive Director, will be leaving Compass Center on August 30 after 9 years with the agency. We are so grateful for her expertise and commitment over the years. Susan has been a strong guide and leader for Compass Center’s evolution from the merger in 2012 through our substantial growth in programming and staff in recent years. Her work to develop and implement our newer emergency housing, transitional housing, and therapy programs has been tremendous.


Ardith Burkes, our Grants Director and Interim Co-Executive Director, has returned to her Grants Director position to continue to provide steady and strong leadership related to our significant array of grant funding sources. 


We are delighted that LaKiera Grimes, our Self-Sufficiency Programs Director, will continue in the Interim Associate Director role as we complete a search for this position. LaKiera has adeptly managed many roles at Compass Center and her leadership has strengthened agency services.   


We are extremely grateful to Ardith, Susan, and LaKiera for stepping up to lead the agency since February. We are also continually impressed by each staff member’s contributions, skills and teamwork.  


The Board of Directors recognizes the strong community support for Compass Center and appreciates what all of our stakeholders do to help us to fulfill our mission. Thank you.


All our best,

Gill Hare, Board Chair, and Compass Center Board of Directors

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