Pat O'Connell is a 30-year veteran in the Chicago non-profit community and has been named as Transitional Managing Director at the Community Renewal Society in preparation of the June 2012 retirement of the organization’s long-time leader, Dr. Calvin S. Morris, PhD. The CRS Board of Directors recruited Pat to assist with CRS’s transition to a new Executive Director.
The announcement of Morris’ retirement prompted the board in March, 2011 to launch a comprehensive strategic planning process designed to maximize the opportunities inherent in new leadership. The process also includes major board engagement and a commitment to CRS board development and growth. As a result, the board has actively engaged staff, thought leaders and our congregations in a discussion about the future of CRS and how to provide a strong foundation for its new leadership.
"We are excited to have Pat join the CRS transition team,” said Rev. Morris. “Her extensive non-profit management experience will be invaluable as the Board continues its national search for the new Executive Director.”
Pat will oversee the daily operations of CRS during the implementation of the strategic plan. She will work with the board and staff to streamline processes and operations, as well as foster innovative ways to eradicate the effects of racism and poverty through the organization’s two investigative publications and community organizing program.
Pat brings to CRS a vast experience working with organizations in transition and is part of Executive Service Corps’ pool of Interim Executive Directors. She has led various efforts at several Chicago area non-profits, including Call to Action, Links: North Shore Youth Health Services and Community Media Workshop, through periods of change. She has been critical to helping groups optimize operations, facilitate cultural change and provide appropriate supports to ensure that the transitions were fully utilized as an opportunity for creativity and renewal.
Pat is passionate about social justice and brings her leadership in this arena to her work. “It’s a joy and a privilege to support the organizations I work with as they act to create a just and more peaceful world, each with their own unique mission,” Pat says.
As one board president she previously worked with noted, “Pat facilitated a challenging administrative transition for us with sensitivity, grace, and finesse.”
Pat’s endorsements come from the staff level as well. In a letter of appreciation one staffer at an organization she previously worked for wrote, “You have been a delight to work with. Our organization is in much better shape with all of your hard work and knowhow.”
In addition to her leadership experience, it doesn’t hurt that Pat brings with her numerous Olympic gold medals in basketball as a point guard in the Illinois Senior Olympics; and her team has represented Illinois in the National Senior Games.