Stars in Transition: A Letter from Nancy Stiles

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After nine years of service, Nancy Stiles will be leaving her role as Executive Director in 2023

I have some personal and Stars news to share with you all.  After much prayer and discernment, I will be leaving the role of Executive Director of Stars in 2023. (I’m not leaving the organization entirely – more on that, below!)  It has been my incredible joy and pleasure to serve in this role for over nine years!  I’ve had a front row seat to the lives of some incredible kids – watching them grow and thrive alongside their beloved mentors and program staff – watching them shine and find their purpose.  We’ve weathered many challenges as well, as we collectively lived through a global pandemic and started new initiatives to walk alongside our neighbors. When I first became a volunteer at Stars in 2005, I had no idea how much my life would change through the relationships I have been blessed to have as part of the Stars community.  I have learned so much.

Why Now?

When I took on the role of Executive Director, I had just turned 40 and had elementary-aged kids in my house.  Now, I am newly 50, a recent empty nester, and two of my three children are living out of state. I am feeling the need for more flexibility in my schedule and responsibilities, and I have been feeling the pull for a while to see new leadership here at Stars. It’s time for someone who can bring fresh energy and leadership in fulfilling our mission to affirm, equip, and embolden young people to pursue a life of purpose, service, and meaning. Our current staff team is incredibly strong, capable, and compassionate, and will support a new Executive Director well. We’ll be looking for a new leader through a DEI lens, further reflecting the beauty and diversity of our Stars community in the leadership of this organization. It’s an exciting moment in Stars history!

What’s Next?

I plan to stay on the team and support in a different way for a season, as Director of Engagement.  I’m excited to continue to be part of the community of Stars.

Hazel Perera, Stars Board Chair, is ably leading the search process.  Please see below for her letter on next steps for Stars.

I am SO grateful for the love of this amazing community, and for the gift it has been to serve in leadership here.

With much love,


From Hazel Perera, Stars Board Chair:

​​As Nancy announces her plans to step down as Executive Director, we want to express our tremendous gratitude and appreciation for the leadership, dedication, and excellence she has given to Stars. She is Stars longest serving Executive Director, and, in her 9 years of service, has grown Stars from 12 to 22 staff and expanded programming in response to COVID to include wellness initiatives for families, new group mentoring initiatives, and the Stars counseling program. The college program has grown under her leadership from supporting a few students annually to a robust scholarship and support system managed by two dedicated staff members serving over 50 students. Nancy has also led the organization through a renaming and rebranding process and expanded donor and fundraising support from under $1M to $2.2M. Her leadership and vision has positioned Stars exceptionally well for its next chapter.

What do next steps look like?  The Board has carefully researched options and are moving forward with an internal search approach. An oversight Transition Team composed of both board members and senior staff has been formed, and we have engaged Donna Whitman as the Executive Director Recruitment Coordinator to work in conjunction with our current HR firm. An exciting part about Donna is she has served as Special Projects Coordinator for us for the past six months. Because of this, she has a solid understanding of Stars and our values and culture which is an invaluable asset as we embark on this search. Stars will remain in good hands throughout the transition as Nancy will stay on in her role as Executive Director and will also onboard her successor.

Cohort partnership and funding!  I am thrilled to let you know we applied and have been accepted to participate in an executive transition cohort led by the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI). NSI seeks to support nonprofit organizations during moments of transition. Out of 36 organizations that applied, we were selected to be one of six to participate in the year-long cohort and have been awarded a grant by NSI to assist with the transition. We are grateful for this opportunity as it will provide an additional layer of insight, resources, and support.

The Board remains steadfast to the mission of Stars and its commitment to be a community that affirms, equips, and emboldens young people to pursue a life of purpose, service, and meaning. We look forward with great anticipation to what the next season of executive leadership holds.

Questions about the process? Contact Hazel Perera:

Candidate names to consider? Email Donna Whitman: