A Southborough executive with four decades of experience in public and private human services work has been named executive director of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, the agency announced late Tuesday. Juliette E. Fay was most recently executive vice president and chief development officer for The Mentor Network, a $1.2 billion national human services company. She worked at the network from 1998 until 2011 and was responsible for new business development across the country.
“I’m thrilled to have been selected,” Ms. Fay told the Gazette in a telephone interview Wednesday. “It’s a wonderful organization with a deep and rich history in providing care for Island residents. [The staff and board] have a huge commitment to the mission of the organization and have really guided it over the last number of years.”
She continued: “An organization is all about the people. The strength of an organization is how well they can serve the individuals and their commitment to that.”
Ms. Fay begins work on April 1 and will relocate to the Island from her current home in Southborough. She replaces outgoing executive director Julia Burgess who announced her retirement last year.
The announcement marks the conclusion of a search that was launched last May and included the screening of hundreds of candidates. The search committee included board members, agency staff members and members of the Island community. The Development Guild, a consultant group for nonprofits, assisted in the search. The board voted to hire Ms. Fay on Feb. 21.
Community Services board vice president Bob Egerton said Ms. Fay’s seasoned experience and skills are a good fit for Community Services.
“She’s going to be able to balance the business aspects of community services with the mission-driven purpose,” he said. “It’s very important we be able to maintain both.”
Her career spans decades and has been centered on the areas of mental health, social services and business development. From 1994 to 1998 she was president and chief executive officer of Wellesley-based Charles River Health Management, a company that provided residential care for children and adolescents, and Charles River Hospital East and Charles River Hospital West, both private psychiatric hospitals. She was director of business development for Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority, a public authority that raises capital for hospitals, colleges and universities, from 1988 to 1994. Earlier in her career, she served in management positions with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and the Department of Youth Services.
She has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Boston College and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.
Ms. Fay takes the helm at Community Services during a time of change in the Island’s oldest umbrella social service agency, which in recent years has faced the challenge of shrinking funding sources amid steady and increasing demands for an array of services from early childhood to mental health.
She acknowledged the challenges.
“We need to develop an active strategy moving forward to make sure the looming budget cuts and changes in funding activity don’t undermine the organization’s ability to carry on the mission,” she told the Gazette.
In the coming months, Community Services plans to hold a strategic planning session to identify unmet needs and determine resource requirements to meet them. Ms. Fay said one of her priorities is working with other service providers on the Island in a collaborative effort “to look at service gaps and mutually respond to that focus.
“I think that corralling the efforts of everyone, especially with budget cuts expected, will be important,” she said.
“Any organization needs to have two things,” she concluded. “It needs to have a very strong understanding of what it’s mission is and who it serves, and it needs to be on very strong financial footing. Absent that it’s very difficult to grow.”
She said at the outset she will take time to become acquainted with both Community Services and also the Island culture.
Ms. Fay and her husband Bill O’Brien have two adult children who work and live in the commonwealth. Mr. O’Brien is executive director of the University of Massachusetts Memorial Behavioral Health System and is an instructor in psychiatry for the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
They have been occasional summer visitors to the Vineyard
“My husband and I are really thrilled to be joining the Vineyard community,” Ms. Fay said.