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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
July 21, 2006

Stonewall Columbus names Karla Rothan new interim director

Columbus--The board of trustees of Stonewall Columbus on July 14 announced their new interim center director, Karla Rothan.

Rothan chaired Pride Holiday in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and served on the Pride committee prior to being a chair.

She and her partner Linda Schuler, who is on the Stonewall board, received the President�s Award at the 2003 A Night Out event, the organization�s annual fundraising and award celebration. The couple were also grand marshals for the 2004 Pride Holiday parade.

Rothan, who has volunteered with Stonewall Columbus since 1998, took a leave of absence from her rental business to help shepherd the community center through the search for a permanent� director.

��I think I was probably in the right place at the right time,� she said, �and have the right skill set.�

Her first day in the Stonewall office was July 17.

Rothan�s previous efforts for the organization will also come in very handy, since she is already familiar with many aspects of the internal workings of the agency.

Schuler took a temporary leave of absence from the board of trustees� executive committee, which deals with employees, to avoid a conflict of interest. Schuler was the membership liaison.

�I guess if I weren�t qualified, you might question it, but I am qualified,� the new center director noted.

Indeed, in addition to running a rental agency with Schuler, Rothan also handled public relations for the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging.

�Mine is a temporary position,� Rothan said. �I will not be applying for the position, I�ve made that clear. I will go back to my business after my tenure.�

Board president James B. Ford estimates that hiring a permanent center director, who handles everyday operations for Stonewall Columbus, will take about four months, with the goal of having that person in place by the end of the year.

An advertisement for the position will be finalized within a few weeks, the board will take a month to gather r�sum�s and then another month to interview candidates. Assuming that the person they hire will then need to give notice to their current employer, that would put it at the four-month estimate.

After the new center director is in place, the board plans on hiring support staff.

�We plan to grow organically to see what staff is needed,� Ford said, theorizing that a program coordinator, communications director, development and grant-writing staff members may be in the organization�s future.

Once that structure is in place, the board will then begin a thorough search for an executive director, who will oversee the �philosophical and financial development� of the community center.

�I think what�s happening is, they�re looking at this in a different way,� Rothan said.

She replaces Kellye Pinkleton, whose most recent position was interim executive director. Before that, she served as director of programming and center coordinator.

Pinkleton left to become field director for Jennifer Brunner�s campaign to be secretary of state. There, she joined her former boss Kate Anderson, who resigned as Stonewall Columbus executive director in 2005 and is now Brunner�s campaign manager. The Democratic candidate also has Patrick Gallaway, who departed Stonewall Columbus about four years ago, as her press secretary.

Despite the �interim� in her title, Rothan�s tenure will not be a cakewalk. She must immediately start preparations for the 2006 installment of A Night Out, which will be held in late October.

�We�re looking at a couple different spaces right now, we�re forming a committee, and we will have our annual awards ceremony just like always,� she said.

�It should be a fun night with a lot of frivolity . . . and fundraising,� she laughed.


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