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A Special Message from Groundwork Ohio Leadership

By: Shannon Jones, CEO, Groundwork Ohio

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It has been an honor for nearly eight years to serve as Groundwork Ohio’s leader, guiding our organization through a time of monumental growth and significant change. I am incredibly proud of the movement we are building on behalf of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and the families who care for them. As our organization strives to make Ohio the best place to be a young child, I am optimistic for the future.


As you’ve heard from our board chair, Robyn Lightcap, earlier this week, I have made the decision to step down as Groundwork Ohio’s CEO. As we prepare to celebrate 20 years of growth and achievement, I have been reflecting on what will best position Groundwork Ohio to thrive over the next 20 years. I believe now is the time to step aside and allow our talented team, under the fearless and bold leadership of Lynanne Gutierrez, to take the helm.


Since late last year, the board and I have been working together to develop a seamless transition plan. This plan included promoting Lynanne to President in January in preparation for her assuming the CEO role on July 1. Without a doubt, Lynanne is the best person to lead our organization forward. Her expertise, commitment, and passion, along with her unique wit and unwavering patience, made her the obvious choice for the board to be our next CEO.


Lynanne and I have built a dedicated and talented team who works tirelessly to further our mission. We are confident this team will provide the continuity, experience, and dedication necessary for our movement to continue to grow.


As my primary focus over the last six months has been on the smooth leadership transition of an organization I love, I have not yet determined what is next for me in my career. However, I will continue with Groundwork Ohio as a strategic advisor to the board and to support Lynanne’s vision through the end of this calendar year.


I am deeply grateful for the confidence placed in me by my team, our dedicated board, funders, and stakeholders alike. It has been a sincere privilege to lead this vital work and count you as an ally, advisor, and friend.


Advocacy on behalf of those who don’t have a voice is hard under the best of circumstances, let alone when the nation is still reeling from a global pandemic and our politics are so deeply divided. But we can’t afford to relent. Now is the time to redouble our efforts, lean into one another, and charge forward with everything we have. You can count on me to remain in the trenches with you fighting for the futures of our children and families.


Thank you for your enthusiastic support of Groundwork Ohio as it writes its next chapter under the trusted and inspired leadership of Lynanne. I look forward to our continued work together to ensure every Ohio child reaches their full potential.


Warm personal regards,


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