Mark W. Crawford of Seattle, Washington has been named Third Sector Company’s Interim of the Year. Crawford earned this honor for his outstanding performance as Interim Chief Executive Officer of The Arc of King County and for his current work as Interim Executive Director of Northwest Folklife.
In these roles, Crawford has provided exemplary transitional leadership, helping the organizations to reflect on their histories, refocus their services to the Seattle community, and prepare for their next generation of executives.
“With an independent, experienced point of view, [Crawford] is now helping us to unlock the possibilities of what we need to do to continue and build on our 45 years of service and celebration since the first Northwest Folklife Festival in 1972,” said Rafael Maslan, President of the Board of Northwest Folklife.
This award stems from the desire to celebrate top notch interim leaders and highlight the service interim leaders bring to these causes.
“Today, organizations in all sectors are beginning to appreciate the strategic nature of interim leaders,” said Third Sector Company CEO, Jeffrey R. Wilcox, CFRE. “The goal of this national award is to spotlight those pioneers who are demonstrating the unique value of interim leadership to important community organizations as they contemplate advancing their respective missions and recruiting new leaders for their next chapters of service.”
At The Arc of King County, Crawford helped reshape The Arc’s focus and broaden its vision to emerge as a social justice organization rooted in protecting the rights of the disabled community. He is currently working with Northwest Folklife to redefine its important role in furthering community inclusiveness and celebrating diversity.
Wilcox explained the necessity of having strong interim leaders like Crawford, especially in the nonprofit sector.
“When a nonprofit executive leaves or retires, it’s often without a succession plan in place,” Wilcox said. “Many boards hire too quickly. An interim executive offers a distinct advantage, assuring day-to-day operations run smoothly while providing unique counsel that can lead to a thoughtful hire and ultimately, reduced executive attrition—an important consideration when charitable dollars are at stake.”
Through his service to a number of local organization, Crawford has demonstrated excellence in leadership. He’s helped redirect his teams through a succession period and maintained each organization’s vision through their leadership transition.
“We think Mark’s work exemplifies what we set out to do for nonprofit organizations 15 years ago,” Wilcox said. “And, he’s an example that interims across the country should want to learn from and follow in their transitional support of very important community causes.”