A Message from Laura
Dear Nonprofit Community,
With a mix of emotions, I am writing to share that I plan to retire from serving as Executive Director of the Nonprofit Association of Washington in early 2024. October marked my 7th anniversary as Executive Director of NAWA, and we all know that a few of those years felt longer than usual.
It’s time for new leadership and new energy to help NAWA continue to innovate and lead on behalf of the nonprofit sector across Washington State. I’m proud of all that our team has accomplished since I arrived in Fall 2016. At that point, our organization was five years old—just getting established and gaining visibility. We are now more grown up, more influential, and still striving to provide the best possible supports and advocacy that nonprofits deserve.
In particular, I am glad we were able to be there for nonprofits during the early days of the pandemic, crowdsourcing ideas about how to move forward, teaching people to use Zoom (remember that struggle?), and helping organizations apply for PPP loans and Employee Retention Tax Credits. I’m also proud of our advocacy on behalf of nonprofits, resulting in better rules and regulations, championing a comprehensive overhaul and modernization of the Nonprofit Corporation Act, and ensuring that nonprofits participated and were funded to get out the count for the 2020 Census.
I am confident in our staff team and our board of directors carrying our work on in the future, with participation from all of you. Please take this moment to consider what your role might be in sustaining a strong nonprofit association. Is this job something that speaks to you? Might you step up to volunteer as a board or committee member, conference organizer, or partner in the year ahead? Will you check to be sure you are a member, and encourage colleagues to join? NAWA is a network made up of nonprofit leaders, and I encourage you to find a way to engage and contribute to our collective impact.
Thank you for this opportunity to serve and be a part of our vibrant nonprofit sector in Washington State. I have found a lot of joy in meeting many of you and learning about your heartfelt, powerful work. I am grateful for the ways in which you have educated and changed me. Working statewide and with many different types of people has forced me to break down some of the biases I carry as a white, urban woman, and it has made me more humble and more curious going into situations where views may differ. I have become more aware of the privileges I benefit from, resulting in greater gratitude and empathy for others and increased commitment to continuous learning.
After another break, I intend to continue working to strengthen nonprofits, and continue to be a part of our nonprofit community. I hope we will continue to cross paths.
A Message from the Board
The NAWA board of directors recognizes our responsibility to ensure a good leadership transition at NAWA as Laura steps away. We have had many good discussions and have developed a plan. We will bring in an Interim Executive Director while we launch our search in partnership with our search firm, the Valtas Group. We are choosing to bring in an interim because we know the value of organizational assessment and new perspectives after a long-time leader departs, and we also know that having an interim creates a buffer zone between old and new leaders and allows for a thoughtful executive search. This decision was made easier because we have a great interim candidate who knows us very well and is available to step in. Our former board chair, Erick Seelbach, will become our Interim Executive Director in January.
We will also launch the search for our next permanent Executive Director in January, and we will have a position profile to share with you then. In fact, we invite our members and partners to provide input regarding the qualities most needed in our next leader via this survey no later than December 15. We hope that we will have many candidates from within our membership, so please consider the opportunity yourself or share it with nonprofit leaders that you admire.
We appreciate Laura’s work over the past seven years, and we also look forward to new leadership and continuing success for NAWA.
NAWA Board of Directors