Dear Fellow Partners,
I am pleased to update you on SVP’s progress since I last wrote you in October.
In that letter we announced our appointment of Linda Hassan Anderson as Interim Executive Director of Social Venture Partners Portland, and the immediate search for our next ED. That search has now ended and we’ve made a selection. Before I make that announcement, I’d like to tell you about the process.
Upon Linda’s appointment, the Board directed her to conduct a comprehensive and objective assessment of SVP’s operations and staffing. Linda broke this assessment down into three main categories: staff talent, operational excellence, and fitness for growth.
In her subsequent report to the Board, Linda concluded that capable and experienced leadership, exceptional skills, and amazing dedication existed among the current SVP staff. While there had been previous operational struggles, the key ingredients necessary for excellence were present or within reach. Fitness for growth required a shift in resource allocation, but goals remained within sight.
In parallel with Linda’s review process, the Board considered essential questions that would influence our leadership selection decisions. How did we feel about the direction of SVP to date? What kind of Executive Director does SVP need to maximize impact in this next chapter? Where did we see the organization in 2019 and beyond?
After our consideration of these questions and an interview process — with input from staff, Community Partners, and Investor Partners — clear answers emerged. I am proud to announce the Board’s unanimous decision to appoint Lauren Johnson as SVP Portland’s new Executive Director, effective immediately. As our Senior Vice President of Community Impact for the past seven years, charged with providing strategic direction and oversight of SVP’s capacity building investments, Lauren has proven that she can deliver on our mission and commitments to the Portland community. Lauren has the requisite knowledge, talent, historical perspective, relationships, and leadership that we need to drive progress toward our goals moving forward. Furthermore, Lauren and her team have a strong and unwavering commitment to advancing racial equity and they continue to foster deep and trusting partnerships with our priority communities. Here are a few words from Lauren:
“I initially joined SVP as a Partner in 2006, and then joined staff in 2012 to lead SVP’s investment strategy and capacity building partnerships. My goal has been, and will continue to be, effective stewardship of SVP’s resources for maximum impact. Looking ahead, SVP has a great opportunity to build upon the growing momentum around the ‘Preschool for All’ effort. We have a unique role to play, investing in leaders, organizations, and initiatives with the greatest proximity to the communities they serve, and seeking ways to leverage our human, social and financial capital to ensure equitable access to early learning for our children. As Executive Director, I will also focus on the long term, sustainable growth of SVP as a valuable resource. I am tremendously passionate about SVP’s transformational impact through engaged philanthropy, and am honored to step into this leadership role.”
In selecting Lauren as the new Executive Director of SVP, the Board also has taken care to ensure Lauren’s transition to the Executive Director role will not have an adverse effect on the work she currently oversees. The leadership team and Board is focused on ensuring the organization is financially and operationally strong and steady through the staffing transition. Lauren and her team have developed a 2019 staffing plan, which includes a new Director of Community Impact position and maintains overall personnel costs at the current level.
Please find the job description here. This new hire will oversee SVP’s Community Partner investment portfolio, which is a key driver of future SVP impact. We invite you to share this information within your networks, which will help SVP identify an exceptional candidate for this important role.
Please join us in congratulating Lauren on a well-deserved promotion. We also want to offer our grateful thanks to Linda Hassan Anderson for her important contributions as our Interim ED during this critical period. (We’re also happy she’ll be returning to our Board soon.)
Lastly, we invite you to join us for an informal partnership gathering for lunch on Monday, February 11th, or happy hour on Wednesday, February 13th. Lauren and our Deputy Director Darren Davidson will be there, along with myself and SVP Board of Directors. At that gathering, we will share more about SVP’s plans for the year ahead. Please RSVP here.
In the meantime, please feel free to contact me or Lauren with questions, comments, or concerns.
Terry St. Marie