I am excited to announce that Patricia (Patty) McIlreavy has joined the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) team as our new president and CEO. Today (March 2) is her first day in office! Previously the vice president of humanitarian practice and policy at our partner organization, InterAction, and a member of the CDP Advisory Council, Patty is a familiar face to the CDP team. Her extensive career in the humanitarian assistance field as well as her dedication to supporting vulnerable populations globally make her a natural fit as CDP’s next leader.
I was joined on a four-person search committee, appointed by the CDP board of directors, by Lori Bertman, Joe Ruiz and Kenneth Jones Jr. CDP retained the executive search consulting firm Russell Reynolds in summer 2019 and we were off to the races to secure our new leader. With the support of Russell Reynolds, we engaged in a rigorous resume review, candidate vetting and an exhaustive interview process. We were fortunate enough that although we launched a multi-month, national search, we were able to find our new CEO closer to home – in Washington DC, not too far from CDP’s headquarters.
On a personal side, I can share with you a few of my observations of Patty. She is insightful and able to interpret straightforward communication as well as nuance. (Basically, she picks up what you are putting down.) She has an incredible attention to detail – and it is this skill that enables her to bring together disparate pieces of information. This, coupled with her conviction and dedication to the global good, enabled Patty to lead the development of the CEO Pledge on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse, Exploitation, and Harassment of and by NGO Staff that was signed by 126 leaders. She cares deeply about organizational culture, paying thoughtful attention to growing and mentoring staff as well as ensuring morale is high and the work product outstanding. Lastly, I’ll say that Patty has a keen sense of play – she, like the CDP staff, know that working in the disaster and humanitarian space is difficult. To counterbalance this, Patty works to bring an appropriate sense of levity and joy to the work. In my view, these attributes are a tremendous fit for the CDP culture and ethos.
Our board chair, Lori J. Bertman put it perfectly when she said: “We are thrilled to have Patty join our team. She is a dynamic leader who is deeply skilled and well-respected in the disaster philanthropy community. Her expertise in humanitarian assistance – both on the ground and in DC – coupled with her strong leadership skills will serve our organization well and help move our crucial mission forward.”
Please help me welcome Patty to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. We are poised to do great things in 2020 and beyond. Patty’s leadership is critical to our success!