Christa Daku knows that she has big shoes to fill as the new executive director at the Envision Counselling and Support Centre.
After all, she spent seven years working with her predecessor.
Daku's first official day on the job was August 18. She takes over for Patt Lenover-Adams, who retired in June after 19 years on the job.
Daku has been with Envision for nearly seven years; prior to that, she spent seven years as the children's program coordinator with a women's shelter in northern Alberta. She has worked in various capacities with Envision, through in-home, counselling and outreach capacities.
Most recently, she had been working as Envision's counselling coordinator and supervisor.
“I'm passionate about what we provide for the southeast,” said Daku. “My heart is with this organization. I'm very passionate about the success it's had, and the experience that I've had while it's been growing.”
The biggest change, she said, will be working with the board. It's something that she hasn't done very much during her time with the organization.
“It's an exciting opportunity as well,” said Daku. “We have a really strong, passionate board, and ultimately they are my employer. When an organization is run with board governance, and is as successful as we have been, it's important for the executive director and the board to have that strong relationship.”
Daku predicts that there won't be a lot of changes in the organization, despite the change at the top.
“One of the wisest things that a new executive director can do is to try and maintain and fit into the culture that's already established within a successful organization,” said Daku.
Daku said the leadership provided by Lenover-Adams has played a key role in the success of Envision, and she couldn't have asked for a better mentor, leader and supporter during her seven years with the organization.
There are a couple projects that Daku wants to see followed through. Daku would like to see the agency conduct a five-year strategic plan. And the organization will conduct a program evaluation in the next year to see where they can expand and grow.
Lynda Rideout will be serving as the assistant executive director – a sign that Envision is moving towards a slightly different management model, Daku said.
Daku, as the executive director, will be based out of the Estevan office, and will work largely in the Energy City. She expects to spend four days a week in Estevan, and spend some time in the Carlyle and the Weyburn offices.
Rideout will be based mostly out of the Weyburn office. She will be supervising programs, and handling public relations responsibilities.
“I think the board strongly felt that with the resources within our organization, and the culture within our organization, it was a good fit for Linda and me to take the positions,” said Daku. “So we both feel really honoured.”
Daku said that Envision had an assistant executive director in its early years, when it was a much smaller organization. And they have had supervisor positions for their different departments in the past year, as part of the transition towards Lenover-Adams' retirement. But this will be the first time in many years that they will have had a full-fledged assistant executive director.