News and analysis
December 01, 2015

Human Services Assembly Chief Resigns Abruptly After Short Tenure

Gloria Johnson-Cusack stepped down as president and chief executive of the association of human-service nonprofits.
The head of a major Washington-based association of human-service nonprofits is out after just eight months on the job.

Gloria Johnson-Cusack resigned as president and chief executive of the National Human Services Assembly, the organization announced Tuesday.

She did not return calls for comment. In an email dated November 24 and sent to some members of the organization, Ms. Johnson-Cusack said she was working to ensure a smooth transition.

"This decision was difficult for me to make and may come as a surprise but is the right thing for me and the organization at this time," she said.

Board chair Jatrice Martel Gaiter told The Chronicle on Tuesday that Ms. Johnson-Cusack made the decision to step down. She declined to provide more information but noted that it is common for a new leader to find it challenging to follow a longtime executive.

Ms. Johnson-Cusack’s predecessor, Irv Katz, who led the organization from 2001 until earlier this year, returned today as interim chief executive.

Board member Joe Haggerty said that Ms. Johnson-Cusack and the top position at National Human Services Assembly were not "a good fit."

"I don’t think Gloria felt it was right for her, so she decided to make a change," Mr. Haggerty said.

National Human Services Assembly will start the search for a new permanent leader in early 2016, according to board members.

The association announced in March that Ms. Johnson-Cusack would assume the roles of president and chief executive. She previously served as executive director of Leadership 18, a group of nonprofit chief executives, and senior vice president of GMMB, a Washington communications and advertising firm. She is the board chair of United Cerebral Palsy.

Send an email to Rebecca Koenig.