Childhaven President and CEO Maria Chavez Wilcox announced her resignation on Friday, July 22, 2016. She has accepted a position as the CEO of YWCA Seattle/King/Snohomish.
The Board of Trustees have appointed Beth Larsen, Childhaven’s current chief program officer, and Melissa Williams, chief financial officer, as interim co-presidents as it conducts a national search to name a successor.
Beth Larsen has overseen programs for the past four years, and has held many leadership positions during her 26 years at Childhaven. Melissa Williams has been in charge of agency financial operations for over 10 years. Their selection follows the policy outlined in Childhaven’s succession plan.
“We are incredibly confident in the leadership abilities of Beth and Melissa,” said Board Chair Carl Lovsted. “Their unique expertise allows Childhaven to best fulfill its financial obligation to donors, and safeguards our important commitment to children and families.”
In an effort to ensure a seamless and timely transition, Childhaven’s Board of Trustees has already formed a search committee. In the coming weeks, they will be selecting a search firm and posting the position nationally.
“Childhaven is in an amazing position to attract top notch candidates,” said Carl Lovsted. “We have an ambitious strategic plan, we’re financially strong, and our staff is outstanding. It’s exciting for us to imagine the impact we can make with a dynamic and visionary leader.”
During Maria’s five-year tenure, Childhaven’s position evolved greatly. The organization successfully completed a $20 million campaign and increased its net assets by more than $5 million. In 2015, it not only became licensed as a mental health facility, but also developed a comprehensive strategic plan. Additionally, Childhaven fully rebranded this year to support increased public awareness for stopping the cycle of child abuse and neglect.