Seattle Human Services Department (HSD) Director Dannette R. Smith announced today that two new, dynamic leaders will soon be joining the department: Catherine Lester will be the new Deputy Director, and Kelly Guy will be Director of the Community Support & Self-Sufficiency Division. Both Ms. Lester and Ms. Guy will begin work at HSD on Monday, June 6th, 2011.
Catherine Lester brings a wealth of leadership experience in human services, mental health services, and child welfare. As Director of Cuyahoga (Ohio) Tapestry System of Care at Cuyahoga County’s Office of Health and Human Services, she provides program development, evaluation, and fiscal management for the organization. In this role, she has improved child welfare recidivism and implemented a Continuous Quality Improvement process to maximize performance-based contracting for the county. She received a Master’s of Science degree in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Ryerson University.
Ms. Lester was born in Boston, and grew up in Toronto, Canada, where her father was a professor of astronomy. She is passionate about serving children and families and working in the community. In recent visits to Seattle she was touched by the passion and engagement of Seattle’s human services providers and advocates. “I’m excited about being engaged and visible and involved in Seattle’s community both with traditional and non-traditional partners,” says Ms. Lester. She is also eager to involve staff and community in helping implement HSD’s new Strategic Plan.
Kelly Guy is the National Child Welfare Partnerships Advisor at Casey Family Programs in Seattle. She is responsible for developing national partnerships with community-based organizations focusing on disproportionalities among youth in foster care, kinship integration and on integrating the juvenile justice system and child welfare agencies. She has worked in a variety of leadership roles at Casey in the past 10 years, including strategic planning, contracts management, and prevention and family support. Earlier in her career, Ms. Guy worked for eight years at Seattle Parks and Recreation in the Late Night Recreation program for teens, and as a coordinator of the Rainier Community Center. Ms. Guy received a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Seattle University and a B.A. from the University of Washington.
Born and raised in Seattle, Ms. Guy has a passion for community service and engagement that she attributes to growing up in a community-oriented family. She is active in her church and volunteers as a partner in the Social Ventures Partnership in support of small nonprofit organizations, and serves on the board of the nonprofit Central District Forum for Arts and Ideals, which promotes arts and cultural exchange. She is eager to transfer her passion for community work and professional experience to the work of HSD. “The people we serve need to be part of the process and have a voice in creating wraparound services for Seattle residents,” says Ms. Guy. “I want to involve everyone.”