The Ada Jenkins Center is a well-respected organization with a deep commitment to serving the unmet needs of vulnerable families in the Lake Norman community. Founded in the 1930’s, the Center provides holistic wrap-around services that help people create solutions for economic stability. Each year, the Ada Jenkins Center services more than 1,500 residents of Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville in program areas including financial literacy, housing, career coaching, education, food security, medical and dental care access and more.
New Leadership for a New Era
Early in 2020, the Center’s longtime Executive Director decided to retire. Georgia Krueger had been with the organization for more than 12 years and had guided the Ada Jenkins Center through a decade of changes that included the expansion of services and the purchase of its leased building. For its next chapter, the Center wanted a respected Lake Norman-based changemaker who could lead the organization to meet the needs of a fast-growing community. The organization also prioritized deepening community ties and desired a leader who could make authentic connections with both the community and its clients.
A New Kind of Search
Next Stage launched a search that prioritized finding a well-respected leader with expertise in the sector and a connection to the Lake Norman area. The team conducted outreach and marketing to build a pool of qualified candidates, resulting in several strong finalists for the Ada Jenkins Center. But just before interviews were scheduled with the board, the entire landscape changed when COVID-19 shifted much of our community’s work to a virtual format.
Next Stage and the Center’s board of directors quickly changed gears and scheduled virtual panel interviews. The Next Stage team ensured that the interview format aligned with existing best practices for virtual interviews and meetings and coordinated the logistics with the candidates and the hiring committee. The result was a series of interviews with both the hiring committee and senior leadership from the Center. Despite the unusual, quickly changing process, the search and interviews resulted in several highly qualified candidates for the job.
A Candidate with Deep Lake Norman Ties
After considering the search finalists, Ada Jenkins Center chose a longtime Charlotte leader with deep nonprofit experience and community ties to lead the organization into the future. Harold Rice lives in the Lake Norman area and has a long history at local organizations, including a 13-year tenure at CommunityLink. Rice was thrilled to join the team, commenting “I have committed my life to helping communities and individuals in need, and it’s an honor to step into this leadership position and help carry on the Center’s tradition of helping our client-partners achieve stability in their lives and give them hope.” Since starting at the Center, Rice has been busy deepening ties with both clients and community partners, overseeing a shift in operations due to COVID-19, and preparing to lead the organization for years to come.