Source: Association News, June 4, 2013
By Leigh Reynolds
In anticipation of the April 24, 2013 announcement that longtime CFIDS Association of America president and CEO, K. Kimberly McCleary, would be leaving the Association, the search for an effective interim CEO was already underway. The best interim CEO is one that would be able to effectively lead the team through the transition with a keen focus on time-specific goals and objectives. The interim CEO needs to be knowledgeable, resourceful and able to quickly make sound decisions and problem solve. The ideal interim will be an effective communicator and have a deep self-awareness to maximize positive impact. And finally, the most successful interim CEO will be a measured decision maker, effective analyzer and a quick study.
The Board of Director’s leadership transition committee found all of this and more in one recent addition to the board, Maryam Aghamirzadeh of Los Gatos, CA. Maryam, an engineer by training, has had in depth experience in general management, strategic and tactical planning, services, sales, marketing and operations management with both startups and Fortune 50 companies. Her most recent position prior to her retirement last year was as Vice President of Services Solutions for Cisco. Maryam holds an MBA from Portland State University and a BS in electrical engineering from Oregon State University. In 2006, Maryam received both a YWCA of Silicon Valley Tribute to Women Award which recognizes outstanding achievements of the area’s executive women and an Oregon Stater Distinguished Engineer Award for contributions to the engineering profession. Maryam brings all of this experience to bear, along with a deep personal connection to ME/CFS is through her younger sister.
On Monday, June 3, 2013, Ms. Aghamirzadeh officially took on the role of acting interim CEO; Kim McCleary remains fully engaged until June 14th, 2013, ensuring a smooth transition. The Board search committee is leading a nationwide search for the Association’s next chief executive. Along with Ms. Aghamirzadeh, the existing staff leadership team of Dr. Suzanne Vernon, Kristina Hopkins, Mark Stone and Leigh Reynolds will ensure the steady, strategic expansion of programs and services that so many people affected by ME/CFS count on. Gloria Smith and Kim Almond continue their vital support roles.
“As we look ahead, the intensive strategic planning process the staff has undergone clearly charts our course forward with amazing vision, clarity and focus. The leadership team has ensured that the patient is at the center of all that the Association does and they have the expertise needed to deliver strong forward momentum. My job is to give them the tools and resources they need to accomplish our mission and I am completely committed to our success,” said Ms. Aghamirzadeh.
Ms. Aghamirzadeh continued, “I am extremely confident in the work of the Association and excited for accelerated progress along the path ahead. We remain confident in the direction of the Association and are grateful for Kim’s leadership in getting us to a place of such strong footing as we look beyond this transition to a brighter tomorrow for all those that suffer with ME/CFS.”