Friends of The Fort, 

Succession from one generation of leadership to the next is a period of opportunity and risk. The Fort is approaching this period of change with common sense, an inclusive listening of patrons, funders, and partners, frank dialogue within the board and from other key players, and a robust analysis of the organization’s mission and business.  I joined The Fort as the Interim Executive Director the end of February.  It is an honor for me to be among you.

The role of an interim executive director (IED) is a bit different from that of a permanent executive director. I have served over twenty organizations the past fifteen years as an IED utilizing a “prepare, pivot and thrive” model of executive transition management. The IED takes on the standard executive director’s work of overseeing finances, monitoring program outcomes, keeping fundraising efforts on track, supporting staff, and attending to normal board needs. Additionally, the IED helps the board keep up with their transition and executive search duties, makes any repairs needed in organization systems, and orients the community toward the future.

 I have learned over the years that each organization is unique. The Fort is an exceptional organization!

·       The Fort reflects a wonderful nonprofit blend of tennis center and youth development. Tennis participation helps support the mission-led youth development work, teaching important leadership skills through tennis.

·       The Fort celebrates the commitment and foresight of Fred Wells and the continuing generosity of the Wells Family Foundation.

·       The Fort is built on relationships, many which go back to its founding in 2002. A strong sense of community is apparent among our leagues, tennis and after school participants.

·       The Fort’s staff give their all, on and off the court. There is a promise to one another to discover what unifies their desire to bring out the best in tennis and in education. 

·       The tennis and education programs both grew significantly under the leadership of Lea Favor.

·       The Fort Board of Directors is committed and understands well their role to provide oversight, insight and foresight to the organization.

PREPARE:  The Fort is well on its way to completion of the first step in executive transition management. An organizational assessment has been completed. A long-term FRED, who is a retired executive and WDL player will work closely with Linda, the board and staff to fill in the infrastructure gaps identified in the organization assessment.  Gratefully this phase at the Fort, is best described as an effort to strengthen (not fix) the existing systems.  Additionally, there is a work plan which identifies the key desired outcomes over the next four months while in transition.

PIVOT: Leadership Tactics, Inc. (LT) has been contracted by the board to lead the executive search. This is the same firm which did the search in 2013. A survey has been shared with staff, board members and key stakeholders to best describe what is extraordinary about the Fort and the leadership traits desired in the new executive. LT is also looking for individuals who might be in a position to suggest candidates. If you would like your voice heard, please contact me at 952-210-9662 or to request a survey and/or interview. The executive search is just beginning.

THRIVE:  It is the goal of any executive transition management process that the infra-structure is strong, the candidate is the right fit, staff is helpful, desired program outcomes are clear, and funders remain supportive; i.e. the organization is positioned in every possible way for the new executive to be successful.  I am convinced this is well on its way at The Fort.

It is the Fort’s goal to have a new leader in place by August so s/he can be a full participant in fall programming start-up.    

As always, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at 952-210-9662 or I would love to hear from you.  


Linda Tacke
Interim Executive Director
Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center






AuthorMatea Wasend