ATTLEBORO — The regional agency that deals with domestic violence victims will be searching for a new leader, with the recent resignation of long-time Executive Director Kim Thomas.
Attleboro-based New Hope is also losing public relations head Laura Martens, according to a statement released today by Lisa Nelson, chairwoman of the agency’s board.
Thomas has left the post to become vice president of development at the Justice Resource Institute in Needham and Martens is going to work at the University of Virginia, she said.
“As New Hope Inc. marks its 35th year of service to its clients and communities, it’s a bittersweet time for all of us here,” Nelson said. “While the agency’s programs are thriving in the areas of critical impact to the survivors of domestic and sexual violence, we now say goodbye to two integral contributors to that success.”
Thomas, who’s served as executive director for the past seven years, and seven years as a volunteer and director before that, said she left the post “only after much soul searching and personal deliberation.”
“I’ll miss New Hope tremendously,” she said.
Thomas said she will remain in the area as part of her new post, which focuses on social justice work on a larger scale.
New Hope has about 60 staff members whom Thomas credited with helping to increase the visibility of the agency to aid domestic violence victims in the area.
Martens has been with the agency for almost seven years.
“The board of directors is working closely with senior staff to ensure that the important work being done continues seamlessly, and they will lend assistance with any immediate needs in the short term,” Nelson said.
A search committee has been formed “to assess the agency’s immediate, intermediate and long-term strategic goals and identify a candidate that will lead in achieving them for the years to come,” Nelson said. “Despite the departure of two vitally important and long-tenured employees, New Hope’s staff will carry on their mission with the same passion and dedication they display every day.”
An interim executive director is expected to be in place within a week or two, and will serve for six months to a year during the search for a permanent replacement, Nelson said.
“Our clients, supporters, volunteers and employees can be assured that the important work that New Hope performs throughout its 54-city and town service area will continue without any delay in delivery or decline in quality.”