Welcome Emily! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I first came to the CAC movement as an AmeriCorps VISTA in a small town in West Virginia. I did communications, fund development, and forensic interviewing there and quickly fell in love with the work. After two years in that role, I accepted a job as the Chapter Director and worked for 10 years in that rewarding, challenging position. After a few years away, I’m excited to come back to the CAC movement. I still live in West Virginia (Wild and Wonderful!), and I love hiking, river trips, potlucks, and all the good things that come with rural living. I have two kids, a husband who you may know (Will Laird, State Government Affairs Officer at NCA), two cats, and a pandemic puppy.
Share with us your previous experience with Chapters.
I ran the West Virginia Chapter for a little over a decade. My mentor often said that change takes 10 years, and I was privileged to see incredible change take place over my tenure at the Chapter. During my time there, we grew the CAC network from 2 accredited CACs to 20, grew funding for the Chapter and local CACs, diversified the board and our funding base, and deepened program offerings at statewide and local levels. I’m incredibly proud of the work that continues at the Chapter in West Virginia—the team is doing transformative work. In the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few Chapters in the Southern Region as a consultant. I believe in the power of collaboration and relationships, and I can’t wait to do that work in the Southern Region.
What are you most excited about in your new job?
Chapters have gone through incredible change and transition over the past several years, and the impact on the CAC movement has been deep and wide. I view the Chapter not just as the staff but as the network of CACs in a state. When that network is strong, children receive better services. I’m excited to play a supportive role in strengthening the CAC movement and to lean into relationships to innovate together.