From March 28 through July 15, Executive Director Carmen Lansdowne will be on sabbatical for a three-month period. FIRST UNITED’s personnel policy allows for permanent leadership staff to take sabbatical after serving for five years, in line with the United Church’s policies for ministry staff.

During her time away, Carmen will be taking a virtual Public Policy Analysis certificate through the London School of Economics and tending to her own reading, research, and writing. While our staff and community will certainly miss Carmen while she’s away, our ongoing work of serving the Downtown Eastside and our progress on redeveloping our site at 320 East Hastings will continue without a hitch because of our high performing, committed, and cohesive leadership team. The Board of Directors has been engaged in thoughtful and careful planning to ensure a seamless continuity of services and work through this time.

Associate Executive Director Amanda Burrows will become Acting Executive Director during Carmen’s time away. The FIRST community is likely very familiar with Amanda through her leadership roles as both Associate ED and as Campaign Director for First Forward. Amanda is most looking forward to carrying forward Carmen’s vision and FIRST’s life-saving and life-affirming services, and deepening her relationships with staff, volunteer leadership, and the broader community.

Katie Koncan will become Acting Director of Development during this time as well, moving from her role as Associate Director of Development. Katie is thrilled to continue building relationships with our community donors, community partners, and communities of faith while overseeing the strategic priorities of FIRST’s fundraising and communications.

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