Wolfe chosen to head nonprofit from among 60 job applicants
By Sondra Murphy
Leadership is a crucial component to service that Help of Ojai is striving to improve.
After an extensive two-month search, Dave Neville, Help’s board chairperson, and director Kelly Randall, head of the executive director search committee, announced Monday the hiring of Terri Wolfe as Help’s new executive director.
Wolfe is an Oak View resident who comes with a broad range of professional experience and leadership skills that will address the current and future needs of Help. “I plan to provide ongoing and consistent leadership for the staff and volunteers so they can focus on the things they’re really good at,” said Wolfe. “After working with other not-for-profits around the country, I wanted to come back and do it in this community.”
Randall said that 60 applicants responded to advertisements and listings that the search committee narrowed down to 18. “The process led us to three candidates,” Randall said. “There was debate given to the desirability to hiring a local familiar with the Ojai Valley as opposed to someone from the outside who might come in and be more objective.”
Randall pointed to Wolfe’s experience with nonprofit organizations as part of her appeal. “We were looking for some specific things, real management background, someone who has experience in development, is highly ethical and has a nurturing and caring personality,” said Randall. “One of the things the agency is crying for is leadership and I’m anxious to give Terri the opportunity to do that.”
Wolfe holds a master’s degree in organizational development from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, and a bachelor of science degree from California State University-Chico. She applied for Help’s executive director position after hearing members of the board describe the needs and desires for the agency’s leadership. “I thought that it fit with my experience,” said Randall.
Wolfe founded a consulting practice in 2000 that works with not-for-profit enterprises and emerging companies. The consulting service specializes in designing and developing organizational structures. Most recently, Wolfe worked with not-for-profit health care organizations and schools throughout the western United States. She is also a former 12-year human resources executive with Patagonia, Inc.
Through her involvement with Ojai Presbyterian Church, Wolfe has participated with Whispering Oaks and Help’s Community Assistance Program, West Campus expansion efforts and brown bag lunch program. Wolfe is an Ojai Presbyterian Church session elder for personnel.
In addition to her Help responsibilities, Wolfe is currently the vice chairperson of the board and trustee for King Arthur Flour of Vermont, a position she will continue to hold.
Wolfe lives in Oak View with her husband, Tim, and two children, Taylor and Abigail. Raised in Ventura, she has lived in the Ojai Valley for the past 15 years. Wolfe will start at Help’s Little House on Monday.
After just more than a year as executive director, Help terminated J.R. Jones Nov. 4, citing in a press release, “Our goal is to continue the restoration of the organization’s fiscal health and to persevere in our efforts to broaden community support. A talented and dedicated cadre of staff and volunteers will work with the board to assure that there are no interruptions in the many services Help provides in our community.”
Help has been an institutional fixture in the Ojai Valley for 40 years, offering a range of human services from senior transportation to nutrition programs and grief counseling for teenagers. For more information about Help of Ojai programs, visit helpofojai.org, call 646-5122, or stop into Little House at 111 W. Santa Ana St. For more about projects at the West Campus, call 649-9218.