Dear PYD Supporters and Friends,
I am writing you today after a multi-year process whereby I have decided to shift my role from Executive Director to Founder in Residence of PYD. When I founded PYD 37 years ago, I never imagined the remarkable journey I would experience. What was clear to me then and has continued to motivate our team and unite our community, is that young people with disabilities deserve to grow up in a world where they can live with dignity and pride in who they are and lead self-determined lives filled with purpose. From that initial spark, we began with nine matches in the City of Boston, mentors and mentees all with physical disabilities. Now in our fourth decade, we build the skills and abilities of young people with disabilities, and increase the inclusivity of workplaces, organizations, and communities Nationwide. I am humbled by how far we have come, and truly grateful for PYD’s mission, which has been my life’s work.
The best part of these years has been the wonderful people I have met. Youth, families, volunteers, staff, board members, donors, corporate and nonprofit partners, government agencies, and supporters have come alongside me to ensure our mission and inclusion promise. Together we have made countless memories that fill my heart with joy. The years surrounded by you all never felt much like work, but rather time spent with family.
However, for some time I have been reflecting on my role in PYD’s future. Despite progress made in disability rights over the past 30+ years, plenty of work remains. Our promise and commitment to youth with disabilities is just as relevant today as it was upon our founding. With that in mind, I have felt it is important to prepare the next generation of leaders to carry our mission forward.
Over the past year I have been working with our Board and concluded that it is time for me to move into a new role at PYD that will support me to achieve a better balance of my time with family and friends, and position PYD to thrive in the years to come.
By the end of March, I will become PYD’s Founder in Residence, where I will shift away from day-to-day operations and oversight and focus on special projects. In order to facilitate this change, the Board will be hiring an executive search firm to identify PYD’s next Executive Director. We will be posting a job description on the PYD website (www.pyd.org) as soon as it is available.
Without the support of a strong executive team of staff and Board at PYD, this would not be possible. In the last two years, they have continued to adapt and innovate in the midst of the pandemic, which gives me tremendous comfort and assurance about their ability to carry us forward. The executive team is in the midst of a strategic planning process that will set the course for the next three years. With this strong foundation in place, it is an ideal time to take a step back and let the team work through its planning process and identify a new leader who will steward the organization through its next chapters of growth.
In the meantime, until a new ED is hired, the current Board President, Lynn Gonsalves, will be providing leadership. Lynn has 8 years of experience on PYD’s Board and over 30 years of experience in senior leadership roles in the nonprofit sector, many of which in organizations supporting people with disabilities. She has a deep knowledge of PYD, its leadership, and staff. She also has significant knowledge of PYD’s programs, operating policies, and donor base. PYD believes that Lynn’s increased presence during the interim, combined with the strong team already in place, will provide for maximum stability of the organization during this transition.
At our 20th Anniversary of Mentor Appreciation night just last week, our Mentor of the Year, Lynn Pais, reflected on the power of mentorship, PYD’s community impact, and her relationship with her mentee. As she closed her remarks she shared something poignant that I will leave with you today:
“Each one of us has unique talents to share with the world. So I say to all the mentees and mentors out there today, believe in yourself and believe in the person next to you. You make this world a better place for everyone.” – Lynn Pais, 2022 PYD Mentor of the Year
When I look at the people who I have surrounded myself with throughout the years, I feel tremendously optimistic about PYD’s future, and I am certain we all will continue to make this world a better place for all.
I am grateful for your ongoing support of PYD. I look forward to you joining me virtually or in-person to celebrate this transition at this year’s Party for PYD, on May 4th. If you have any questions, you can connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With my immense gratitude,
All questions regarding the hiring process should be directed to PYD Board President, Lynn Gonsalves at email@example.com