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New Board Leadership for Kendal at Oberlin


Joan Villarreal - new board chair

Every two years the leadership of the Kendal at Oberlin Board of Directors changes hands. Liz Burgess, owner of Ginko Gallery and Studio in Oberlin, stepped down as chair in December 2020 and was succeeded by Joan Villarreal, former Senior Vice President with Lorain National Bank.

“I was so proud when I was asked to lead the KaO Board. I am especially thankful to past chair Liz Burgess, Kendal resident Ruth Ann Clark and CEO Barbara Thomas for their encouragement and coaching. In Quaker tradition, the role of the board chair is to facilitate the leadership process and KaO is fortunate to have a diverse board that is committed to KaO’s well-being. I have every confidence that the KaO Board will continue guiding the community forward,” said Joan, an Elyria resident.

Other new members of the 2021 board are: Kendal resident Gary Olin and from the larger community residents Andrea Derstine, Andrea Kryszak,, Betsy Manderen, Liz Schultz and Tracy Sutherland.  

Joan retired from the bank after a 30+ year career and decided to resign from all community commitments and give herself “a year to clear my head.” After her break Joan got involved with MANA (Management Assistance for Nonprofit Agencies), which led to an invitation to join Kendal’s Finance Committee and in 2019 its board of directors.

“Looking back at the past year, calm and nimble have moved up the list of important leadership skills. The executive committee of the board was in constant communication with the key management team and I truly credit the open communication between residents and the management team with successfully reaching the end of the year. Looking forward, balancing the ‘new normal’ will be everyone’s next challenge – moving back to doing all those things that our residents love and continuing to emphasize physical health and mental wellness,” Joan said. As for outgoing chair Liz Burgess, who remains on the board, leading the board during the pandemic was a challenge she took on with a steady hand. CEO Barbara Thomas noted, “There are no words for a leader like Liz who resumed board meetings in May almost seamlessly using Zoom and all the benefits of eGovernance from BoardEffect. She helped reprioritize where we needed the board to focus, respecting critical new staff priorities. Liz has been a leader not only for Kendal at Oberlin but has continued to juggle her own business and be a vital support for Oberlin’s small business owners.”

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