Leaders Among Us: Special Message From WACAP’s Board Chair

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams


Smiling with the children, WACAP's President and CEO Lillian Thogersen

Smiling with the children, WACAP’s President and CEO Lillian Thogersen

Thirty eight years ago, a group of adoptive parents decided that they wanted to help more children, like the ones they had adopted, find their forever families. They banded together and started the organization that today is known as WACAP. While you don’t likely know their names, their leadership has had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of families, over 10,000 children who have come home to their mothers and fathers, and the millions of people in the circles surrounding these families and children.


One of the women who was involved early in the grassroots, all-hands-on-deck, startup years of WACAP, was Lillian Thogersen. Lillian’s heart for children led her to volunteer, serve on the board, and then become a member of the staff in 1986. During the next twenty years, Lillian served WACAP in a number of roles, finally agreeing to serve as CEO in late 2004. (Read more about Lillian in this post.)


Several weeks ago, Lillian, a mother of nine and grandmother to 14, announced her decision to retire in November of this year. A collective sigh of dismay could be heard throughout the organization. For nearly four decades, Lillian has served as the face and voice of WACAP. She has led the organization through the ups and downs of the ever-changing world of international adoption. She has built a strong team of professionals who works tirelessly to find a family for every child. She has moved us all to tears as she relates stories of the children WACAP has served. She has been a strong voice locally, nationally and internationally, advocating for children without families. And she has done all of this with good humor, compassion, the utmost integrity and the highest ethical standards.


Lillian’s leadership legacy has been long and far-reaching. Through her actions, she has inspired and profoundly touched the lives of tens of thousands. The WACAP board of directors knows that filling her shoes will be challenging. We also believe it is a great opportunity for the right person who is excited about leading an organization that is literally changing lives every day.


The board would like your help. Do you know someone who might be the next great leader of WACAP?


We are seeking an experienced, mission-driven, high-integrity executive leader who would like to make the world a better place for the world’s neediest children. We are looking for someone with excellent communication, strategic thinking, negotiating and investor-relations skills, who wants to make a real difference in the world. We want someone who is ready to take to the next level, an established, respected organization with talented and dedicated staff, so that even more children can have the love of a family.


We are seeking a CEO who is a proven team leader, an experienced fundraiser and a person who has excellent communication and presentation skills. She/he should have strong financial acumen, have the ability to lead strategically in a dynamic and complex environment as well as be a passionate spokesperson and advocate for WACAP and the children it serves.


If you know of such a person, please forward this post to him or her. A detailed position description is available here. Qualified candidates should send a resume, well-crafted cover letter and compensation requirements by August 1, 2014, to CEO Search Committee via email to WACAPCEOSearch@gmail.com. The cover letter should include an answer to the following question: What in your personal and/or professional background gives you the passion and desire to lead an organization whose mission is to find a family for every child? No in-person applications or phone calls will be accepted. WACAP is an equal opportunity employer.


Lillian has been an inspiration for many of us, and we are grateful for all she’s done for WACAP and the thousands of children’s lives she’s impacted. The board is committed to ensuring that the legacy that Lillian has helped build will continue far into the future. Thank you for considering the people you know who might be ready to help make this a reality.

Dave Janssen

Chair, WACAP Board of Directors


WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents) is one of the largest and most experienced international nonprofit adoption and child assistance agencies in the United States. Since 1976, we’ve placed over 10,000 children with loving adoptive parents and provided food, medical care and education to more than 200,000 children around the world.
This entry was posted in Adoption, Domestic Adoption, Employment, International Adoption, Staff/Board Spotlight and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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