Dear Aloha Friends,
We have wonderful news to share today! Vanessa Mendillo Riegler has accepted the Board’s offer to become the new Executive Director of the Aloha Foundation.
When Vanessa agreed to serve as Interim Executive Director in March, the Aloha Foundation was staring down a global pandemic. She was charged with navigating the organization through the suspension of Aloha’s summer programs for the first time in over a century, a multimillion-dollar loss in tuition revenue, and a reckoning of our values and what it means to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community.
Any one of these historic upheavals tests leadership at the highest level. Vanessa has continually risen to the challenge, providing measured and thoughtful guidance as we figure out our path forward.
In her time at the helm, Vanessa has engaged staff and the community in a series of working groups that forecast her long-term vision for the Foundation. In addition to improvements such as upgrading internal systems and processes, she is leading the organization in tackling big questions with bold, values-forward thinking:
How are we serving children well and what are their greatest needs now? How can we manage tuition growth and make camp accessible to more families? What definitive action can we take as an organization to become a stronger, more inclusive community? How can we expand the reach of our mission and deliver the most impact?
In 2012, when Vanessa came to the Foundation to serve as the Director of Ohana Family Camp, the program was only two years old. As it grew its roots, she and her staff focused on program quality, implementing safety improvements and establishing Ohana as a haven for foodies and kids alike through locally sourced, varied, and delicious meals. Vanessa is looking forward to seeing Ohana flourish under its next director. We plan to begin that process later this fall.
During her eight years with us, Vanessa has garnered respect as a trusted leader and collaborator. A skilled listener who seeks to learn and understand, she pivots seamlessly from conversations about budgets with Board members to discussions about water quality with town officials to brainstorming sessions about program development with camp directors.
Prior to Aloha, Vanessa spent ten years at Outward Bound as the Director of New Center Development, Community Outreach and Curriculum Director, and Field Instructor. Her work took her from the United States—San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, and Omaha—to international locations like South Africa and Singapore.
Vanessa, her husband Nolan, sons Stone (10) and Zephyr (5), and daughter Coral (7) live in Thetford, Vermont.
We hope you’ll join Vanessa for a Zoom coffee break on Tuesday, October 27 from 11:00-11:30 am EDT. She will introduce herself a bit more, update you on what we’re working on for summer 2021, and answer some of your questions. Click here to register and, if you wish, submit a question for Vanessa. You will receive the Zoom login details in your confirmation email.
The Board of Trustees is grateful and honored to continue its partnership with Vanessa to further the mission of the Aloha Foundation.
Chair of the Board of Trustees