Press release here:
Tracy L. Elliott joins Asheville Humane Society as the new executive director today, May 4. Elliott will bring more than thirty years of professional experience, including twelve years in executive director roles with major nonprofit organizations.
Elliott has a broad background with significant leadership expertise in the nonprofit field. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and holds a master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from the University of Notre Dame. For five years, he was executive director of AID Atlanta, the largest and most comprehensive AIDS service organization in the Southeast. Elliott was also executive director of The Damien Center, the largest HIV/AIDS service organization in Indiana. He has received numerous social and business awards recognizing his community contributions. Elliott also has extensive experience working with boards of directors, having served on or chaired the boards of over twenty nonprofit organizations throughout his career.
“My leadership roles at AIDS organizations have given me a deep understanding of what it means to be compassionate toward those in our society who need the most help,” says Elliott. “It is much the same way with homeless and neglected animals who need comfort and companionship. I’m honored to bring my experience together with my love of animals, and excited about working with AHS and its community partners.”
Asheville Humane Society conducted a thorough and thoughtful executive transition process, including a nationwide search in seeking out an executive director and received an overwhelming response from talent across the country. Board members, staff members and community supporters had an opportunity to spend time with Tracy during the selection process and were extremely impressed with his background, experience and passion for AHS’s mission.
“Tracy has a deep knowledge of how nonprofits operate, superior collaborative management skills, and extensive development experience. We are extremely proud to bring someone of Tracy’s caliber on board to lead our organization,” says John Haas, Chairman of the Board of Directors.
The Citizen-Times reported that Mr. Elliott “has no professional background in animal welfare,” see
Odd choice, considering the many complexities of companion animal sheltering. I guess he got the job because, as Asheville Humane Society Board Chair John Haas noted in the Citizen-Times article, Mr. Elliott “has a great passion for animals.”
I suppose we should be happy for Mr. Elliott, who says that running an animal welfare organization is a “lifelong dream.” But I doubt that an architecture firm would hire someone who loves buildings but has no experience. If they did, it wouldn’t be for a leadership position. If the City or County hired a department head with no experience, the criticisms would be endless and justified. And since AHS received $586,000 from the County and $230,004 from the City for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, I hope some other people question this decision. There are reasons that certain jobs, especially leadership positions, require on-the-job experience. My old accounting firm would occasionally hire someone who had a passion for numbers with no formal accounting experience, but they would be hired as a paraprofessional to be trained, not to head the firm.