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PEPS Hires New Executive Director

Dear Friends and Supporters of PEPS:

We have exciting news! After an extensive search process conducted over the past several months, we have hired Jessica Lawmaster, MSW, as the PEPS Executive Director.

Jessica comes to us from Haven House, a family violence prevention and intervention center based in Homer, Alaska, that works to support and empower survivors of violence and to promote healthy families. In her 3 years as executive director, she has led Haven House through a period of exciting growth.

Highlights of Jessica’s tenure at Haven House include broadening their program offerings to include prevention, expanding service delivery throughout the lower Kenai Peninsula, overseeing a major reorganization of staff and systems, launching a successful social enterprise, opening three new child advocacy centers and providing leadership in several statewide coalitions.

Prior to being appointed executive director in 2012, Jessica served as interim executive director and child advocacy director for Haven House. Before that, she was a forensic interviewer for child abuse cases in Oklahoma and earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma.

Jessica will officially start at PEPS in early February.

Our current Executive Director, LB Kussick, announced in June that she would step down at the end of this year. After six highly successful years with PEPS, she plans to spend more time with her family and explore new career opportunities.

PEPS board and staff approached this hiring process as an opportunity to re-examine the organization’s current position and growth trajectory. With the support of search consultant Emily Anthony, we clearly identified the need for a leader who can both grow our organizational capacity and strategically scale our impact. Having received over 50 applications for the position, we were fortunate to have a talented pool of applicants to select from. We are confident that Jessica is the leader to successfully lead PEPS through its next chapter.

We are grateful to the search team, especially the staff and community members who lent their time and expertise to the process. The entire Board of Directors also deeply appreciates the fabulous PEPS staff’s dedication and phenomenal work during this period of transition.

We look forward to introducing Jessica to each of you over the coming months. We hope you will plan to attend her first PEPS Luncheon as Executive Director: March 8th from 11am – 1pm at the Fisher Pavilion.

Thank you for your continued support of PEPS!

Best wishes,

Colleen Montoya-Barbano, MSW
Board President

Laurie Alexander, PhD
Board President-Elect & Search Chair

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