The hiring process for an Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation has concluded.
“We are thrilled to announce the hiring of Christie Taylor as our new executive director. After an extensive search, we chose Christie based on her background as a non-profit leader and an effective program manager. She will play a vital role in guiding our strategy and delivering innovative programs that make our community a better place to live and work. Welcome aboard, Christie!”
-Rick Hinton, Smart Cville Board of Directors Chairperson
“The Center for Civic Innovation is an exciting project that needs a non-profit professional to help it grow. I am incredibly confident that we have found that person in Christie. She knows what it takes to grow a small non-profit and she has a proven track record of responsive non-profit leadership. With her leading the organization, the Center for Civic Innovation and its fellowship program have a bright future here in Central Virginia. We are very grateful to the LinkLab at UVA and Smart Cville contributors for helping fund this position.”
-Lucas Ames, Smart Cville Founder
Christie Taylor will soon be joining us as the Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation. She comes to us with extensive experience working in various nonprofits across Virginia. Christie joins us most recently from Circles Ashland, where she has served as the Program Director and Interim Executive Director. During her time with Circles Ashland, she has substantially increased organizational capacity as well as the number of clients served. She holds a BA in Political Science from Old Dominion University and an MS in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from George Mason University. Christie recently moved to Crozet with her family, returning to the area after previously living in Charlottesville five years ago.
We asked her a few questions to help introduce her to us and to our community.
We’re excited to have you join us as the new Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself as an introduction to our community?
I’m a mom to four kiddos, Mabelli (14), Miriam and Mikiyas (8) and Kaylee (4). I’m a long distance runner, love the outdoors, am vegetarian, enjoy gardening, and know how to work just about any power tool.
You’re fairly new to the area. What brought you here?
I lived in Charlottesville five years ago and loved it, and found myself driving back frequently to run the trails here. When the opportunity to move back presented itself, I moved to Crozet. I run competitively, and this is some of the best training ground in the country, in my opinion. The community and schools here have embraced our family and have been supportive of us, and it’s always felt like home.
You’ve worked in a variety of nonprofits across Virginia. What draws you to the nonprofit sector?
No two days are the same working at a nonprofit. You have to become an immediate expert as new challenges present themselves, but that also lends to being highly collaborative as any reform requires coordination between agencies. No one person or company is adequate to rectify the complex problems our society faces, and coalition building is imperative to reach that tipping point of achieving change. It’s a career with lifelong learning, and being mission-driven, the hardest days are still incredibly rewarding.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role with the Center for Civic Innovation?
I’ve been lucky to work at highly effective organizations, with colleagues from whom I’ve learned a great deal. I’m excited to bring that experience to this position at the Center for Civic Innovation. I’ve worked in a variety of roles, including human resources, fundraising, operations, and leadership, and this position seems to converge all of that yet offer enterprising opportunities for additional professional development.
What drew you to the position?
I was attracted to the collaborative nature of CCI. The answers to many challenges our society faces aren’t necessarily held by the people or agencies in charge of delivering the solutions; we need a conduit to stakeholders with the experience, ideas, and technical expertise to develop and implement effective and sustainable solutions. I see the Center for Civic Innovation as the venue for empowering citizens to get engaged in this process and help government and community organizations be more participative and integrative with those they are built to serve.
In your most recent role, you drastically increased your organization’s capacity to serve its community. Are you hoping to do something comparable with the Center for Civic Innovation?
One of my favorite aspects of my roles in grassroots organizations has been the process of scaling. It parallels what I love about gardening – nurturing an idea into something tangible, then seeing it blossom to achieve its mission with increasing reach – it’s exhilarating! I’m very excited to be a part of this process for the Center for Civic Innovation.
What does Civic Innovation mean to you?
Civic innovation is the process of challenging existing (or nonexistent) systems in order to improve the lives of citizens. Data is key to this, and often existing systems need to be amended to be participative, transparent, and measurable in order to be analyzed and evaluated. I sure don’t have all the answers on how to do this; neither does any one person in a particular role. Civic innovation is a part of developing the team to bring solutions to complex problems.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I’m thankful for this opportunity and look forward to connecting with community members, students, businesses, and local government, in working together to make our area a better place to live and work.