April 26, 2019

From the Desk of Phil Telgenhoff, Saint John's Program for Real Change Board Chair:  
It comes with both sadness and gratitude as I write to inform you that Michele Steeb has departed as CEO of Saint John's. She is relocating to Texas where her husband has accepted a new job opportunity.

The board of directors is thankful for Michele's 12 years of service and leadership and deeply indebted for the legacy she leaves behind at Saint John's. Today is an emotional one for this organization, but thanks in part to Michele's tireless efforts, we are well positioned to continue meeting the growing needs of the women and children we serve.

I know many of you will have questions, so it is important for you to know, first and foremost, that my door is always open. It is equally critical for you to know that the board remains focused on Saint John's mission to support the women and children that walk through our doors every day. 
To ensure both continuity and our ability to accomplish the goals we have set for this organization, we have named Saint John's COO Marc Cawdrey as our interim CEO. While we have no set timeline on a permanent replacement, we are confident Marc will bring steady leadership and valuable guidance for as long as is needed. 
Michele will continue as a consultant to Saint John's to develop public and private partnerships for Saint John's.

To guarantee the current and future success of Saint John's, we will - and must - continue with our programming, fundraising efforts, staffing and volunteer outreach, and ability to host the signature events you have come to know throughout the years. That is our commitment to you.

We cannot get there without your continued support. So today, we thank you for your continued commitment to Saint John's and on behalf of the board, wish the very best for Michele and her family.     
Warm Regards,

Dear Friends of Saint John's:

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. It is the door through which I arrived at Saint John's, and the door through which I am leaving Saint John's as its CEO.  
It was not in my plan to leave Saint John's. Alas, God has a different plan. I very much look forward to working with the Saint John's board/team to continue to support our vision of model replication, including the development of new public and private partnerships...albeit from our new home in Lucas, Texas.  
You might be aware that I had served as vice president of Public Affairs for the California Chamber of Commerce prior to coming to Saint John's. It was a job I loved and I had no plans to leave it. God, however, had a different plan.  
In January 2007, in my first few weeks operating the 30-day emergency shelter, I encountered the following issues: bounced employee payroll checks, a call from a food supplier saying he would not deliver due to lack of payment, AT&T turning off our phones for the same reason and a personnel issue that would have made your head spin. Our 2007 annual budget had not been completed. Our 2004 audit was still underway, indicating that our 2005 audit had not even begun.    
Also during this time, a woman named Shelly entered the shelter with her two boys. A couple of days later, her sister, Katie, entered with her daughter, Tory. As if this weren't startling enough, I also learned that Katie and Shelly had lived at the shelter as young children with their mom 18 years earlier. The generational aspect of what we were facing was striking... and it was the tipping point for the significant change that has occurred since.  
Over the past twelve years, we have been building Saint John's Program for Real Change into a program that breaks the generational cycle of homelessness by supporting mothers in overcoming barriers such as addiction, violent relationships, criminal behavior, lack of employment, and lack of self-worth. We teach them to be positive parental role models for their families, how to gain and maintain employment and most importantly, how to become the people they were intended to be. I use the word "building" intentionally. Saint John's is about change. Programmatically, we evolve every day to ensure Saint John's is also becoming the best it can be.    
It has been one of my life's greatest blessings to serve at Saint John's and as its CEO.  Thank you for your incredible financial, volunteer, moral and inspirational support over the years. None of our growth and success would have been possible without you. Please know that your continued support is crucial as this transition unfolds and as we embark upon even bolder adventures.


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