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New Leadership at the What If? Foundation

Posted Apr 11th, 2019

Dear Friends of the What If? Foundation,

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After six wonderful years as Executive Director of the What If? Foundation, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to step down. It was a difficult decision as the work we’ve done here has brought me so much joy and a deep appreciation for how small acts of kindness in one part of the world can really transform the lives of people in another.

Over the last few years, I have worked with so many dedicated, inspiring members of the Na Rive team and the Ti Plas Kazo community. I’ve watched their determination in the face of unimaginable challenges and the compassion they show for each and every child they encounter. There is so much love and respect in this community, and I will deeply miss my friends in Haiti.

I am also immensely grateful for the generosity and trust of our donors. Many of you have never been to Haiti or even met a Haitian before, yet you open your hearts and give what you can to help these children and families. You fill their bellies and give them hope for a brighter future. It’s the purest form of kindness, and I thank you for entrusting me to steward your money and getting it directly to those most in need.

Over the last several months, I have been working with our committed board of directors and devoted founder to ensure a smooth transition, so we can continue supporting the important work of Na Rive. And I am thrilled to say that our Board Chair, Catherine Lelong, will be acting Executive Director while the Board searches for the next permanent Executive Director. Catherine and I have been working closely for the last few years, and I couldn’t imagine a better person to manage the transition.

Thanks again for your support and commitment to the children of Ti Plas Kazo. Please read on below for a message from our Board Chair and Interim Executive Director, Catherine Lelong.

With gratitude,

Suzanne

 

 

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A message from the Board Chair:

CLProfileWe are sad to see Suzanne stepping down as our Executive Director but deeply grateful for her leadership, warmth and dedication to the What If? Foundation, Na Rive and the Ti Plas Kazo community.

Over the last six years, Suzanne has helped the What If? Foundation grow in many ways. She oversaw the construction of the Father Jeri School — a dream of many years, love and effort in the making. She strengthened and expanded our relationships with donors and deepened our partnership with Na Rive. She managed our Founder’s transition effectively and gracefully. She upgraded our data management systems, built a nurturing, warm and inclusive culture, and has been a wonderful ambassador for the What If? Foundation and our cause. Suzanne is a big part of the foundation’s success and will be greatly missed.

While our board searches for Suzanne’s successor, I will be serving as Interim Executive Director, laying the groundwork for new leadership and ensuring that the transition runs smoothly. I feel privileged to be able to work more closely with Na Rive in this role and look forward to connecting with many of you more often.

A little bit about me. I met our Founder Margaret Trost four years ago, and as I learned about the What If? Foundation’s mission, I felt compelled to contribute. I joined the Board of Directors soon after and became Board Chair last year, which allowed me to work closely with Suzanne, Na Rive and Margaret, and grow ever more committed to the programs and community we serve.

My background is in strategy, marketing and communications. I serve on several nonprofit boards, and I am half-Haitian – all of which motivates me to support our mission, our grassroots partnership model, and most importantly, the children and families of Ti Plas Kazo. I believe in the importance of supporting community-led initiatives as a way to create sustainable change in Haiti, and I’ve witnessed first-hand how the power of small steps can transform people’s lives.

In my time on the board, I’ve focused on leading our strategic planning and communications committees, and updating our marketing assets and channels — including our new website, which I’m excited to announce will launch later this spring.

I am honored to lead the organization through this transition, and I am so grateful for your generous and ongoing support, without which our work would not be possible.

If you have any questions or concerns during this transition or would just like to connect, please feel free to reach out to me directly at catherine@whatiffoundation.org.

With appreciation and hope,

SignatureCL

 

Catherine Lelong
Board Chair and Interim Executive Director
What If? Foundation