Pottmeyer steps down as Friends of Youth CEO

Lwali selected to take her position.

Terry Pottmeyer is stepping down as the CEO for Friends of Youth (FOY).

Pottmeyer, a Mercer Island resident, served the nonprofit for the past nine years. Paul Lwali has been selected to be the new CEO of FOY, effective Feb. 4.

During Pottmeyer’s leadership, the agency’s budget grew from $8 million to $17 million, increased commitment and programming to address youth and young adult homelessness, expanded the foster care program for refugee and immigrant youth, increased behavioral health access — including integration with physical health care — and launched its WISe/Wraparound services.

“It has been an unmitigated privilege to serve Friends of Youth over the past nine years, and to work with all of you,” Pottmeyer said about the surrounding community. “I will always be a supporter of Friends of Youth. Thank you for your commitment to the youth we serve and support.”

Bill Savoy, FOY board chair, said the agency had been working with Pottmeyer on plans for succession since the middle of 2018.

“Of course we knew Terry couldn’t lead Friends of Youth forever,” he said. “And we wanted to make plans for someone to take her place when she felt ready to step down.”

Savoy said Pottmeyer found Lwali and said, “‘You have got to bring this guy in. He will be perfect.’”

While Lwali is replacing Pottmeyer as CEO, there will be a long transition in order to help Lwali settle into his new role and for Pottmeyer to provide support.

Lwali’s background in leadership is what made him stand out among other candidates, according to Savoy.

Lwali most recently served as the senior executive director for the North Region of the YMCA of Greater Seattle. During his service, he increased equity and inclusion among YMCA members and created new strategic partnerships both locally and internationally. He has served as the executive for many YMCA branches across the country, including the Bellevue YMCA, where he created programming for special needs participants, partnered with other nonprofits and school districts on addressing out-of-school issues and helped forge new and positive relationships with various ethnic and religious groups.

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead Friends of Youth, an important and impactful Eastside agency, to a future where all children have what they need to succeed. I will continue to strive to make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable youth while deepening the agency’s work on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Lwali said in a release.

While Savoy and the other board members said they were sad to see Pottmeyer step down from the position, Savoy said he is looking forward to Lwali’s leadership and keeping Pottmeyer as a close supporter.

“We love Terry. We fully aligned with her all nine years and we fully align with her in this transition and with Paul,” Savoy said.

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