Welcome to our new Executive Director
by Amada Froh, PNA Board President
How do you replace an Executive Director (ED) like Lee Harper? Slowly, collaboratively, and deliberately!
Hiring a new ED is the Board’s most important responsibility. When Lee announced her plans to move on, the PNA hired Crux, a local consulting firm specializing in working with non-profits, to help develop and manage the process for selecting and recruiting her replacement. A Transition Team consisting of four Board members (the officers), four PNA staff members, and two members of the community was soon put together to get the work done.
We developed a job description to reflect not only the many responsibilities of the ED but also the wide range of strengths and skills needed to be successful. By posting and sharing the announcement widely, locally and nationally, we were rewarded with a deep candidate pool representing different ages, races, genders, and ethnicities.
By the end of August, well over 100 applications came in. Our Transition Team divided into four teams of two, each consisting of a Board member and a staff person, to evaluate those resumes. When disagreements arose, our two community members helped to resolve issues. Resume screening was followed by phone interviews of the top 25, and in-person interviews of the top 11. At each step, questions were developed to learn more about the candidate’s experience, approach, and commitment to issues such as diversity, equity, and inclusion. And again, each step involved teams of staff, board, and community Transition Team members.
Though all 11 candidates interviewed in person were highly qualified, three exceptional finalists emerged. The full Board interviewed each finalist at a special Board meeting on October 29. Following deliberations, the Board chose Dar’Nesha Weary for the position. Dar’Nesha will begin at the PNA on December 2.
Dar’Nesha is a Seattle native who comes to us after over twenty years of experience in the nonprofit sector, where her mission has been to serve others, build community, and make a positive impact by challenging racism, promoting acceptance of people from different backgrounds, raising awareness, and using her voice to address hate and to promote kindness.
She began her career right here in the neighborhood as a Program Director at the Greenwood Boys and Girls Club. For the latter part of her career, she has risen in the ranks of the YMCA of Greater Seattle, beginning as the Dale Turner Branch Membership Engagement Director and ending in the corporate office as the Program Executive of Membership, overseeing membership engagement operations of 14 branches.
In her spare time, Dar’Nesha is the director of the award-winning Northside Step Team, which recently worked with the artist LIZZO(!) on a sisterhood project, and is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated (one of 9 Historically Black Greek Organizations). She is exceedingly active with community engagement and education around diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the greater Seattle area. Dar’Nesha has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Counseling from Capella University.
The Board is extremely grateful to the PNA staff and community participants who dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and thoughtfulness to this process. We are especially indebted to all members of the PNA family who will welcome our new ED into her role, and who will work with her to ensure the continued success of the organization.