The Spanish American Civic Association (SACA) is the leading Hispanic managed and led nonprofit in the Lancaster community and beyond. The organization has its roots in efforts dating back to 1971 and earlier to serve the needs of the Hispanic community. Starting with three employees, it now has a workforce of 62 people.
SACA supports the Hispanic community in a multitude of ways by providing affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization through home ownership and building rehabilitation, with behavioral and mental health services, through broadcasting to inform, educate and entertain, and to provide seniors with social engagement and balanced nutrition.
SACA is linguistically and culturally responsive to the needs of the community, making it possible for clients to access a wide variety of services they would otherwise find difficult to receive. SACA’s dedicated bilingual professionals and talented community residents provide a vital link to the Latino community.
SACA needed an immediate, as well as a long-term, leadership succession plan. There was a need to identify potential future leaders within the organization. The organization’s leader had been at the helm for 40 years, making the leader, Carlos Graupera, and the organization nearly indistinguishable. There was a need to develop a transition plan and support the current leader and the organization in meeting the timeline and requirements of the plan.
North Group was chosen to work with SACA because of an established and effective relationship with the organization, its CEO and its Board Chair. Additionally, North Group’s experience working with nonprofits and our sensitivity to and respect for the longevity of the current CEO was valued by the client.
We began with a comprehensive organizational assessment that included interviews with the CEO, board members and community leaders including Lancaster’s Mayor, President of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the CEO of the Community First Fund. Our aim was to learn as much as possible about the organization’s culture, work environment, current leadership style, decision-making processes, etc.
We reviewed key organizational documents, including SACA’s current strategic plan and a staff assessment of the CEO.
We also used a leadership behavioral assessment tool to identify potential future leaders.
To keep everyone updated, we attended board meetings. We also met regularly with the CEO to honor his legacy and to have conversations with him around the question: What does life after SACA look like for Carlos?
Based on all of the above, we drafted a succession plan for review by the current CEO, the Executive Committee of the Board and, for final approval, by the full Board.
The plan included partnering with minority owned business consultant, Joe Morales, to create and implement a leadership development program for potential internal leaders of SACA.
North Group enjoyed a productive relationship with the client and was invited to propose a way to support the implementation of the plan and provide ongoing support to the outgoing CEO.
The Board unanimously approved the succession plan. An individual was identified to fill the CEO role in an emergency, and a leadership development program for internal candidates was approved. The transition process will continue. North Group enjoys a good relationship with the Board and former CEO and looks forward to continuing to work together through the organization’s next season.
SACA is very focused on taking care of their outgoing leader. North Group is working with them to ensure that the founder’s legacy – well-established as an advocate for the Hispanic community and connected to its constituency at a heart level – is honored in the years to come.