Maia Christopher has accepted the position of Executive Director for ATSA, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Board of Directors.
Many members know Maia as an articulate speaker who has advocated for increased transparency within the board since she joined in 2001. Others know her for her diligent work in revising (with Professional Issues Committee Co-Chair William Murphy) ATSA’s Standards and Guidelines, and more recently with the Standards Process Examination Committee (which she developed with Becky Palmer). Still others know Maia as a dedicated clinician.
Maia has spent a number of years as a clinician and team leader in correctional settings on both the Canadian and American sides of the
Pacific Northwest . Her previous work has included developing, directing, and implementing treatment and transition services for impulsively aggressive male offenders, and providing training to staff and regional stakeholders regarding best practices pertaining to the treatment of mentally ill and behaviorally disordered clients. She has also supervised interdisciplinary treatment teams including nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, horticulture therapists, and psychologists to ensure that clients receive treatment services that meet best practice
Maia has a demonstrated record of hard work and contributions to our organization. She possesses a solid knowledge of ATSA’s mission and processes. She understands our field very well, having practiced in two countries. Maia has also continually displayed an ability to look past her own beliefs and areas of interest to promulgate high standards of practice. ATSA’s Executive Board of Directors looks forward to her continued contributions.
A note about the hiring process
As many members are aware, ATSA’s former Executive Director, John Gruber, stepped down in June. ATSA’s Board of Directors has been clear throughout the aftermath that two elements should be fundamental to finding a replacement. First, the search should move forward in the most efficient manner possible for the health of the organization. Second, the process should be as transparent to the membership as possible.
Following discussion among ATSA’s Executive Committee (consisting of the President, President-Elect, Treasurer, and Secretary), President Robin McGinnis contacted ATSA’s past two presidents to discuss possible ways forward. As soon as John Gruber stepped down, Robin and I sent out an email notice to all members inviting those who might be interested to apply. Likewise, Robin and I solicited ideas from board members and colleagues. It was very important to the board that the application process be available to all members. In the end, a number of people expressed interest, but most were not able to complete the application process for their own reasons (e.g., relocation). The Executive Committee briefly considered possibilities such as relocating the office, having the ED be able to commute from distant parts of the country, etc. By the end of the discussions, there was little question that it is best to keep ATSA as it is, with its current lease and outstanding office staff.
ATSA’s Executive Committee established an ad hoc Hiring Committee to screen candidates, consisting of Craig Latham, Michael Miner, Danielle Harris, and myself. This committee reviewed CVs and cover letters, and interviewed three candidates using a structured interview format, with topics distributed across the committee. Although there was some altering of questions in accordance with the flow of the conversations, each candidate answered the same basic questions. The candidates were all very good and this raised the bar for selection to a very high – and encouraging – level. It became increasingly obvious that ATSA would be in good hands whatever the outcome.
The Hiring Committee and Board of Directors placed a premium on looking for candidates who would benefit ATSA in the long term (rather than who could fit into the routines as quickly as possible). In the end, the Hiring Committee seriously considered one ATSA member, one non-ATSA candidate, and a candidate with six years of experience on ATSA’s board. By the end of the process, the Hiring Committee and Executive Committee were satisfied that Maia was the clear choice, and the board voted unanimously. A number of board members asked very helpful questions along the way to ensure that their vote reflected the long-term health of our organization. In the end, it is difficult to imagine how ATSA could have done better.
-- Submitted by David Prescott
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