The Board of Directors of Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People selected Valerie Kissell as the next and only second CEO of PHP.
She succeeds Dean Palius, who served as PHP’s CEO for more than 25 years. He will retire Aug. 31.
Ms. Kissell, a Solvang resident, served as the executive director of Youth and Family Services at the Channel Islands YMCA for four years.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the People Helping People team at this critical time in our community,” she said in a statement. “During times when our neighbors are in survival mode perhaps experiencing crisis, trauma or poverty, they may have no idea how to access the support systems and mainstream benefits that are available to them.
“This is the beauty of People Helping People, a one-stop service agency providing support and assistance under one roof. I am excited to become a member of this agency and continue the mission.”
The nonprofit focuses on improving the lives of men, women and children in the Valley, Los Alamos and surrounding areas by addressing emergency and basic needs and furnishing comprehensive integrated family and individual support services.
Ms. Kissell’s duties as CEO of PHP will include the responsibility for providing vision, leadership, direction and accountability for all of PHP’s activities, according to the news release. She will lead community engagement strategies, ensure performance outcomes will have maximum impact, meet objectives and fulfill the mission of the organization.
The new CEO will begin her work Aug. 17.
PHP is planning to hold COVID-safe meet-and-greet sessions to introduce Ms. Kissell to community stakeholders.
“All of us on the board know that Valerie is following a predecessor that set a high standard of performance,” said Francisca Escobar, PHP’s board president. “That said, we all have a high degree of confidence that she is up to the task, having successfully navigated a recruitment and selection process that was rigorous and most competitive with over 100 initial candidates required to submit written responses to key questions, make an extemporaneous presentation and participate in three sets of interviews.
“The board faced a critical decision made equally more difficult and easier by having to select one of the three highly qualified final candidates as the next CEO.”
To learn more about PHP, visit www.syvphp.org or call 805-686-0295.