A Message from Board Chair, Tom Davis

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Re: Interim CEO Announcement

Dear Friends,

Urban Edge has been blessed with Chrystal’s leadership and vision.  I, and many others, will miss her more than she can possibly imagine.

While Chrystal’s departure is certainly a major point of transition for us, she leaves the organization in great shape.  Our programs are growing in impact and in the number of families we serve.  Our real estate pipeline is solid.  We’re in excellent financial shape with a significant Board-restricted cash reserve – who’d have predicted that a few years ago?  We’ve established goals and priorities for the next few years through our new strategic plan.  Most important, Chrystal has assembled an incredibly talented staff, built a strong leadership team and developed an actively engaged Board of Directors.  We can’t thank Chrystal enough for her leadership, management, depth of commitment to our community and good humor in leading us to this place.  While we’re sad to see her move on, we’re excited for her and for the Commonwealth, as she brings great ideas and perspectives to her new role at DHCD.

As we contemplate this transition, the Urban Edge Board of Directors has moved quickly to put in place interim arrangements to make sure the organization doesn’t miss a beat.  I am pleased to announce that Susan Davy has agreed to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer during the transition period.

Susan is a proven leader with over 30 years’ experience in finance, organizational leadership and transitions in the non-profit sector.  She served for 17 years as Director of Finance and Operations (and equivalent titles) at three major New England institutions:  the New England Conservatory of Music, the Peabody Essex Museum and the Gardner Museum.  More recently, she has pursued a consulting practice as an Interim Executive Director and Executive Coach working with organizations as varied as a social service agency, a housing agency, schools and colleges and a repertory theater.  Throughout these engagements, her focus has been on fiscal stewardship, organizational management and transitions.

Evaluating our current situation, the Urban Edge Board determined that our needs during the transition lie in overall organizational management.  Susan will provide this strong organizational management and financial oversight, teaming with our talented staff for sector-specific knowledge and expertise.  We will also continue our ongoing relationships with subject matter consultants such as Peter Munkenbeck for real estate transactions to round out our in-house expertise.

We are very pleased that Susan will provide a steady hand for the organization as we work to identify a worthy successor to Chrystal.  The Board of Directors is moving quickly to establish a Search Committee, which will be up and running by the end of January.  Once the Committee is in place, we will establish a plan for the search process and select appropriate advisors to help us find a new permanent CEO.  We want to implement a deliberate search, allowing for robust participation from our staff and community, while still moving quickly to select new leadership.  We expect the search and transitional period to take between 6 and 9 months.  I’m pleased to report that we’ve already gotten inquiries from very talented potential candidates, so I’m confident Urban Edge will attract a strong candidate pool.  In many ways, it is an exciting time for the organization.

If you have any questions about our interim leadership arrangements, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, to any other member of the Board of Directors or to the staff.  Staff, Board and friends of the organization have worked hard to make Urban Edge vibrant, visionary, strong and responsive.  We’re focused on the stability and strength of the organization through this transition so that we can enhance and grow this wonderful organization and the good work it does in our communities in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.

Thank you all for your continued support and guidance.  Please join me in wishing Chrystal all the best in her exciting new endeavor with the Commonwealth and join me in welcoming Susan to Urban Edge.

Tom Davis
Board Chair