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August 26, 2011

Cindy Yu is named center’s interim director

Cleveland--The Cleveland LGBT Center on August 16 announced the appointment of Cindy Yu to the post of interim executive director, following the departure of Jan Cline earlier this month.

Yu, who has been at the center for six years, has seen her role increase, going from finance director to associate director to now assuming the helm of the organization, if only on an interim basis while the board conducts a search for Cline’s permanent replacement.

It’s the second time in as many years that a staff member has been appointed interim executive director. Mary Zaller was named interim director following Sue Doerfer’s departure at the end of 2009. Less than three months later, Cline was selected for the role of executive director before leaving August 12 to return to the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia, which also puts him closer to his family.

While the new title comes with a great deal of extra responsibility, Yu says that the staff is solid and the board is very involved.

“I need to oversee the whole agency and pay attention to everything going on at the center,” she said. “Besides my duties of finance, information technology and facility, I am also ultimately responsible for development, communications, programming, donor relations, community networking, staffing, volunteer management.”

“Thankfully, the center has very competent staff members, dedicated board members and reliable volunteers to whom I am able to delegate some of these duties,” she continued.

She also said that she has very good working relationships with all the staff members, fostered in part through her six years on the center’s staff. “They all have confidence in me to lead the organization in the right direction,” she noted.

She’ll need that confidence, as board president Bob Sferra believes the search for a permanent executive director will likely take until the end of the year.

“We’ve had a lot of meetings in the last week. We’re still uncertain how long it’s going to take, but I would not expect to have a new executive director before the first of the year,” Sferra said. “We’re working on priority items and going down the list.”

“We’re very happy with Cindy’s talent,” he pointed out. “She’s really been the strong administrative side of the organization for a while now, so we’re very confident in her work. We want to take our time.”

“It’s going to be a very thoughtful process and we’re more focused on making sure that the center remains open, committed to our goals and the community, and keeping the programs and the services that the LGBT community relies on intact,” he said, noting that board would likely target local talent more than conduct a national search.

Yu echoed Sferra’s priorities.

“During my term as the interim director, I will make sure the center is here for the LGBT community,” she said. “It is important to have all our programs and services intact, to keep in touch with other LGBT groups and organizations, to maintain relationships with donors, and more importantly, to keep the center’s finances in check. Therefore, when we have the permanent executive director, he or she will have the financial stability to lead the organization to a higher level.”

Yu, who is also the treasurer of Asians and Friends-Cleveland, said that she plans on throwing her hat in the ring for the permanent position. However, whatever choice is ultimately made by the board, she notes, “It is my honor to have this opportunity to serve the LGBT community in Cleveland.

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