Hopelink, a non-profit agency which focuses on building an equitable community free of poverty in King and Snohomish counties, has named Dr. Catherine Cushinberry as its new CEO. Cushinberry replaces Lauren Thomas, who retires in April after seven years at the helm of Hopelink.
Cushinberry previously served as executive director of City Year Memphis in Tennessee. City Year is a national service program that unites young adults from diverse backgrounds for a demanding year of full-time community service. She will begin her tenure the week of April 19, which coincides with the week of Hopelink’s founding 50 years ago.
“I am honored to build on the prestigious legacy and impactful work Hopelink has established through the leadership of Lauren, prior CEOs, board members and the organization’s dedicated, passionate staff, donors and volunteers,” said Cushinberry. “My career has been focused on creating platforms to improve the lived experiences of children and families. As the incoming CEO, I want to first listen, learn, observe, and then work alongside the team to strategically expand the depth and reach of our services and partnerships.
“I am excited to establish roots here and contribute as a member of the community,” she said. “I am also proud to have the opportunity to serve alongside colleagues who’ve built such an incredible organization and to lead Hopelink as we build our future together.”
Prior to her time at City Year, Cushinberry served for five years as the director of research for the National Office of Girls Inc. and four years as the executive director of a Boys and Girls Club in Tennessee. She also owned a consulting business and worked with clients in the U.S. and the Philippines, where she lived for a year. During her career, Cushinberry has published regularly on a wide variety of topics, including diversity issues and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“Dr. Cushinberry is the right person at the right time for Hopelink as we celebrate our 50th year of service to the committee and look toward the future,” said Drew Magill, the organization’s chair of the Board and member of the search committee. “She’s a visionary leader who brings a fresh perspective, a passion for listening and learning, a commitment to continuing our equity initiatives and, most importantly, a history of bringing community together to collaboratively address complex and long- standing challenges.”
“Our retiring CEO Lauren has grown this organization, improved services and is leaving Hopelink a healthy and well-respected organization,” Magill said. “Dr. Cushinberry will build on the strong foundation she’s inherited and take Hopelink to the next level in its service to community.”
Cushinberry has a doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in human development and family studies. Her Master of Arts from the University of Memphis and Bachelor of Science from Murray State University are in Organizational Communication. She was born and raised in the Smokey City neighborhood in north Memphis, Tennessee and she’s a product of Memphis City Schools. She is the only child of Matilda Cushinberry, a retired educator from Memphis City Schools. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a more dynamic, creative, engaging and committed person to take Hopelink into its second 50 years,” said Thomas. “Our clients, staff, donors, volunteers, partners and the entire community are going to benefit from the insight and experience she brings to this community.”