Months-long CEO Vacancy at Reston Association Remains

by Fatimah Waseem October 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm 11 Comments

Reston Association’s top leadership position of CEO remains unfilled following the previous CEO’s departure from the organization in late February.

Since former CEO Cate Fulkerson left her position in late February and transitioned into a special advisor role, RA’s Board of Directors has not yet found a permanent replacement. In a note to RA’s members, board president Andy Sigle said the board is working with human resources to expand the search for CEO and voted last month to hire an executive search firm to assist with the hiring process.

Larry Butler, RA’s senior direct of land use and planning, took over as acting CEO in mid-April after Robert Wood, the acting CEO at the time, stepped down to take another position at a non-profit organization in the District.

Since beginning the process of selecting a new CEO “in earnest” in May, Sigle indicated that no candidates advanced during a second round of interviews with the board in August. The board voted on candidates for the first round of interviews, which were held in June and July. Candidates were interviewed by an internal board search committee with RA’s senior leadership team and selected board members.

Here’s more from Sigle’s note to members:

Members can rest assured that the board is seeking a CEO who can work cooperatively and collaboratively in establishing short and long-term goals and priorities for the association. The CEO leads the effort to develop biennial budgets, so it is vitally important to the future of Reston that resources allotted in those budgets are used wisely. The board plays a fiduciary role in making sure your assessment dollars are spent in a way that aligns with the association’s Strategic Plan and focuses on the quality of life issues that make Reston a special place to live, work and play.

While there are an array of traits and qualifications we are seeking in the next CEO, the ability to lead and manage ranks near or at the top. Integrity, ethical conduct and the proven know-how to foster a climate that attracts, retains and motivates a diverse staff are important skills in leading any community organization, especially one as large and intricate as Reston Association.

Making the tough calls isn’t always fun, but it is a necessary requirement in overseeing a staff with over 100 employees working in a broad range of jobs that all focus on RA’s mission statement. The CEO position is a member-facing, rollup-your-sleeves job that requires the ability to smartly navigate through internal issues and also external policy matters involving Fairfax County and private businesses. Financial stewardship and extensive knowledge of customer service are at the forefront of what the board and RA members expect from a CEO.

While we wind through the process of hiring a new CEO, the board wants to express its thanks to the RA staff for stepping up to make sure that “the trains continue to run on time” in the interim. The importance of selecting the right person to lead RA can’t be overemphasized enough, so we continue to appreciate the patience shown by staff and members as we do our due diligence.

While board members come and go with each annual election, the CEO should bring a sense of stability and vision to the organization that will hopefully last for years. We will keep you posted on our progress and promptly introduce you to our new CEO when they are onboard.

Photo via Reston Association

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