sasi reorganizes executive team

One year after taking over as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of sasi, Jeff Paterson has reorganized the agency’s executive team with the goal of guiding a new era for the organization.

Paterson looked within and outside sasi to gather a leadership team that is guiding the organization in a new era.

“Like many other sectors, the human services sector is facing a succession problem,” Paterson said. “Week after week, we see headlines about seasoned not-for-profit leaders retiring. We tend to read about the CEOs, but the trend pervades entire organizations.”

Following the departures of former President and CEO Anthony Annunziato, Executive Vice President Karen Gustina, and Vice President Patty Watkins, Chief Financial Officer Shawn Cunningham announced that he would be leaving later this year. That is more than 125 years of service to sasi walking out the door in a short amount of time. It also means that a new team would be needed to take the reins at sasi.

“I’ve seen firsthand that a cohesive, effective leadership team can be like jet fuel for an organization,” Paterson said. “What was most important to me was to hire a team of leaders who are collaborative and transparent, with high emotional intelligence and a sense of servant leadership. We’re shifting from a traditional command-and-control culture to one that is flatter, nimbler, and more inclusive. The members of the leadership team need to understand and hasten that shift.”

The first move was to promote from within:

  • Executive Vice President Barbara Lamoreaux became Chief Strategy Officer.
  • Vice President of Development and Marketing Lynn Kelly became Chief Development Officer.
  • Vice President of Quality Assurance and Incidents John Bowles became Chief Compliance Officer.
  • Associate Vice President of Payroll Amanda Kinmartin became Chief Financial Officer.

The second move was to hire from outside the organization for two newly created positions. That brought in Chief Program Officer Susan Mentecki and Chief People Officer Karen Keyes.

Mentecki came to sasi with more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership. She has also served as the chair of four Developmental Disability Alliance of Western New York committees since 2000. As Chief Program Officer, she oversees the residential programs, work and day opportunities, and clinical services.

Keyes has worked in the health and human services field for more than 25 years after starting as a Direct Support Professional. In her current role of Chief People Officer, she provides oversight of the Human Resources, Benefits, and the Education and Training departments.

With the leadership team in place, Paterson began plotting a new course for sasi, one that would stay true to the organization’s traditions while advancing new ideas and policies. “Of course, hiring individual executives is only the beginning. Building them into a cohesive team is now our focus,” Paterson said. “We’re working to create a foundation of candor, trust, and mutual respect, so that the team can be effective in guiding the organization forward. I think we’ve got the makings of a dream team here. We’ll be working hard to make sure the dream comes true.”