One moment...

Alliance for Innovation President/CEO Announces Retirement

Letter from Board Chair, Shannon Flanagan-Watson

Board Chair, Shannon Flanagan-Watson

To our valued Alliance friends,

On behalf of the Alliance Board of Directors, I write today to share the news that Karen Thoreson will retire from her role as President/CEO of the Alliance for Innovation effective November 30, 2017. For nearly a decade, Karen has led the Alliance for Innovation with passion, determination and a fierce commitment to fostering the spirit of innovation in local government. We are incredibly thankful for her service and for everything she has contributed to the profession during her career.

If there is one thing we’ve learned in more than 30 years of leading innovation in local government, it is that change is constant, inevitable, and often presents opportunities. The landscape of local government innovation has evolved, and we continue to evolve with it. 

We have an opportunity not only to build upon the progress Karen has overseen as part of her legacy, but to bring fresh, new perspectives to the field through the lens of a new President/CEO. It is also an opportunity to take stock of our progress, engage with our members, partners and others to chart our pathway forward into the future. This has been a core discussion for the Board of Directors throughout 2017, which culminated in some themes that will help guide our search:

  • Reaffirm the role of the Alliance as the premier resource to grow organization-wide capacity for innovation and connect innovators in the local government space;
  • Recognize the need for a clear, concise and strategically-aligned business plan that builds on the success of the Alliance brand and adds value for our partners and members; and
  • Define and advance the evolution of an innovative “Alliance 3.0” that positions us as a leader in the innovation space for the next decade.

The Board of Directors is forming a President/CEO Search Committee and will conduct an extensive process to identify and select the very best candidate to lead the Alliance and carry out the Board’s objectives to realize the vision of the Alliance.

In the meantime, the Board has appointed Katy Simon Holland, long-time Alliance Board member and former Board Chair, to serve as Interim President/CEO effective December 1, 2017. Katy brings more than 25 years of experience in both local government management and consulting, and has been a faculty member and team mentor for the AFI Innovation Academy since its inception. She will support the recruitment of a new President/CEO, oversee the development of our business plan and renewal of strategic partnerships, and lead the organization until the new President/CEO is on board. 

In the midst of losing a driving force for the Alliance, these are exciting times as we look toward the future. During the transition, our members and partners can expect to receive continued excellence from the Alliance for Innovation while we search for our next visionary leader.


Shannon Flanagan-Watson

Chair, Alliance Board of Directors

Comments & Ratings

Please sign in to rate this article.

 One moment...


Alliance for Innovation; Phoenix, AZ