by Jason Lee, JD
Today I’ve accepted the appointment of interim president and CEO, with Andrew Watt, FInstF, stepping down to pursue other opportunities.
Andrew is a friend and mentor, and I’ve learned a lot from him. He contributed mightily to AFP, and it is with mixed emotions that I see him leave.
I’ve had the privilege of serving AFP for 12 years now: first as director of government relations, then as general counsel, and now as interim president and CEO. Together, through collaboration with AFP chapters and members, as well as other sector organizations, we’ve made a great impact in the area of public policy. And I’m committed to bringing that impact now to all areas of AFP and the fundraising community.
I’m not a fundraiser by trade but the last 12 years has given me a strong sense of what the fundraising community needs to grow and thrive—to inspire donors to work with us and create impact that changes the world. And I have some have great people to help me in this mission: our dedicated staff, amazing board, and tremendous members just like you.
I’m the interim President & CEO, but that doesn’t mean that we’re just going to tread water. If we only do that, we won’t get far. We have to move forward—focusing on our priorities, such as our strategic plan and service to our membership.
We’re entering a new phase for AFP, one that will be especially focused on building and strengthening relationships with members and stakeholders. It is a time that will see AFP investing meaningfully in diversity and inclusion, education, advocacy and our capacity to influence trends in the sector.
AFP remains a stable, dynamic and united force for the advancement of the fundraising profession. We have the talent, knowledge and resources—through staff and members, at IHQ and our chapters—to make an extraordinary difference: advancing the fundraising profession so we can help better change the world.
I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and get things done, something I learned from my parents. I grew up in Texas because my dad worked as an aerospace engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston (yes, an actual rocket scientist!). If you remember the story of Apollo 13, the space capsule that became disabled between the Moon and Earth, there were various engineers who came up with creative solutions to save the three astronauts. My dad was one of them.
I’ve worked to live up to that legacy of commitment and creativity my whole life. I’m also proud that throughout my career, I’ve brought very different groups of people together to accomplish great things that have impacted our sector.
I’m looking forward to working with all of you—especially our dedicated and talented AFP staff—as we move our association and foundations forward into the future.
I know AFP. I love AFP. I believe in AFP. And I know you do too. I’m humbled to help lead AFP into the future, and look forward to your assistance and insight. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments—I’m happy to talk with you at this important time.