Announcement: New Leadership for Alternatives
Dear Friends of Alternatives,
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the search committee, it is my pleasure to announce that Bessie Alcantara will be joining us as the new Executive Director of Alternatives. In selecting Bessie from a rich pool of applicants, the Board of Directors was impressed first with her appreciation for and alignment with Alternatives’ mission, combined with her energy and insight to build on our history of work with youth and their families. Second, we were impressed with her proven record of working in partnerships to develop strategies and identify resources to address the complex social and political landscape of the City of Chicago. Most of all, we were struck by her passion for work with and listening to young people.
Bessie, a Chicago native, earned her Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University, and has been working for youth-serving organizations for the past 10 years. Through her executive leadership experience across multiple organizations, she has cultivated strong expertise in strategic planning, fund development, program evaluation, and quality improvement, among other key areas. She is motivated in this work by many of her personal experiences as a young person, and, during the interview process, Bessie expressed her deep respect for the comprehensive nature of Alternatives’ programs and services, and our history of innovating based on youth leadership.
Recently, she took some time to live out a lifelong dream to travel the world, visiting 30 countries in 14 months, including South Africa, Rawanda, Nepal, Philippines, Bolivia, Chile, and Mexico. Now she is excited to return to her Chicago roots and work with our Board, staff, partners, supporters, and young people to lead Alternatives in its next phase.
Bessie will start her new role on November 26th, beginning a planned transition period alongside Judy. In the coming months, there will be many opportunities to meet her, beginning with Judy’s retirement celebration on December 6th.
With appreciation for our partnership,