Three years after taking over leadership of an organization that is now successfully feeding Vernon’s hungry in so many ways, Upper Room Mission executive director Rick Lavin announces he is retiring and has already passed on the torch to not just one but two colleagues—Lisa Anderson and Lisa Church.
Lavin joined the Upper Room Mission (URM) in 2014 and led the organization through major changes to staffing, strategic direction, programming and more. He also walked into the role just weeks before a pipe broke and flooded the entire building less than a month before Christmas.
“I’m proud of how we pulled together through that and never missed a meal, largely because of how the community just jumped in to help us,” says Lavin, adding the physical rebuilding that followed the flood mirrored the organizational rebuilding happening at the time—a doubly challenging yet rewarding experience.
“We’ve done some amazing things. We have a team now that works from a place of servitude and giving back. We’ve gone from being an organization that’s struggling to one that’s a leader and an example of how nonprofits can succeed,” says Lavin. In 2015, the URM became the first non-profit to receive Business of the Year at the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. “I’ve accomplished the mandate the board gave me, and now we’re moving into a period of exciting growth.”
Lavin, who looks forward to spending more time with family, will remain a part of the leadership team as a mentor until the end of May. Anderson and Church began their new roles as co-executive directors April 1. Anderson now oversees the retail operations, the Mission’s outreach department and all media relations, and Church will oversee human resources and food services.
“As a board, we want to reassure the community, especially our donors and our partners, that we’ve made these appointments with confidence and intention, and we know we’ve got the right people in the right place to carry forth our vision,” says Dustin Griffin, chairman of the Upper Room Mission board of directors.
“We’re very grateful for the relationships and respect Rick has helped us build over the last three years, and the stewardship we’ve shown to our donors. Now we look forward to the leadership of Lisa Anderson and Lisa Church. They both have great strengths and we know they’re going to make a great team.”
Anderson, former director of resource development, joined URM in 2012 after a stint as a volunteer in the kitchen. Over the years she has held several roles at the URM, including managing the outreach department, retail store, fundraising, and media relations.
“Through the partnerships and community support Rick has created, he’s set us up well to be able to continue succeeding in our mission to feed people who are hungry,” says Anderson, adding the organization will continue to form new partnerships and grow its ability to provide services.
Church joined URM in 2016 with 25 years of experience managing staff and food services in the hospitality industry.“This is so exciting and positive, and I’m doing something I love and feel good about,” says Church. “I’m looking forward to growing our team and even further strengthening our relationships in the community.”
“This is so exciting and positive, and I’m doing something I love and feel good about,” says Church. “I’m looking forward to growing our team and even further strengthening our relationships in the community.”
The Upper Room Mission is hosting a come-and-go farewell event for Lavin, which is open to the public, at the URM May 29, 2017 from 1:30pm to 3pm.
For more information, please contact:
Lisa Anderson, Co-Executive Director