Colibri Center for Human Rights

Strategic Planning and Visioning

2019-2020. Interim Executive, Strategic Planning, Fundraising, CEO Search.

  • Mission to bring dignity to people found dying in the desert trying to migrate to the U.S. Provide anthropological DNA testing and match services to identify the dead and support families of the missing.
  • Nine-year-old org (6 years as IRS official) having challenges when the founding executive left. Org was started as her dissertation work. Mental health issues became exacerbated as result and not health for her or staff.
  • Staff burnout due to founder’s issues. Founder very connected nationally to key players.
  • 9 months, including initial COVID pandemic response (which lengthened tenure).
  • Organizational Assessment, Lifecycles Framework. Recommendations to Board for Immediate vs. Long-Term Leadership/Operational Shifts.
  • Engaged in capacity building, shoring up administration, internal team, fundraising.
  • On verge of running out of money. Built growth plan.
  • Action Plan: Assess Terrain, Evaluate Admin/Operations/Programs based on ROI, Opportunity Costs.
  • Board did not want to entertain and options.
  • Readied and outsourced IT, HR, Payroll, and Finance.
  • Activated the Board – as typical in founder-led, board was friends of the exec who met annually. Conducted Board training, identified officers and developed an executive committee, created schedule and structure for Board to meet monthly. Moved board from inactive to governance.
  • Shared roles on this job: One of my associates, Brian Best, Served as Operating face of Org and we worked collaboratively on the Org Assessment and Turnaround Plan. I spearheaded board development, fundraising, strategic planning.
  • Realigned staff positions and integrated DEIA principles to transformed relatively non-diverse staff to one of all Hispanic and bilingual, representative of the community served.
  • Led Board through CEO Search.
  • Activated fundraising – developed annual FR plan, 6-series annual campaign, robust foundation/corporation giving program. Diversified funding streams.
  • Responded to COVID-19 pandemic. Not an “essential business.”
  • Developed Disaster Response Plan, PPE acquisition, remote staffing plan, created safety protocols, deployed and managed a remote work environment.
  • Supported staff through transition, crisis leadership, and response.


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