Kathy Rathan named CEO at Project Genesis
By Dwight Bachman
Willimantic, East Hampton - posted Mon., Jan. 6, 2014
Kathy Rathan, former chief operating officer (COO) at the Willimantic-based Project Genesis, has been named chief executive officer (CEO) of the non-profit organization. Project Genesis specializes in providing support, training and services to individuals with disabilities to successfully meet their needs, including individuals with acquired brain injuries.
On Dec. 6, Project Genesis’s board of directors voted unanimously to promote Rathan, of East Hampton, as CEO, after Rathan served as interim CEO when Project Genesis founder Virginia Kerensky retired in 2012. As CEO, Rathan will provide guidance and leadership to the mission, vision and strategic plan, in partnership with the agency’s board of directors.
Board Director President Anthony Leroux said, “Kathy has ‘it,’ and provides the board with a great deal of comfort in knowing that she will successfully lead Project Genesis. I could not imagine a candidate that would be more passionate and dedicated. We have been blessed with dedicated employees and an impressive management team, and I couldn’t think of a better complement than Kathy.”
Kerensky, who founded Project Genesis in 1991 and built the organization into a leading, vibrant force that has garnered widespread praise from government officials, numerous social service agencies and customers alike, said she could not be more pleased at the board’s decision.
“Kathy has a well-deserved reputation for administrative fairness, sound ethics and a passion for the Project Genesis mission,” Kerensky said. “As a lifelong human services professional who has risen from the ranks of direct service delivery, Kathy has as a deep understanding of client and employee needs, as well as the broad executive level experience necessary to lead the agency to substantial new achievements."
Eileen Edwards, a nine-year independent living skills trainer at Project Genesis who reported directly to Rathan, said Rathan’s ability to teach, challenge and empower those around her to strive to reach their fullest potential will prove key in moving Project Genesis forward. “Any number of people can run the business part of a company, but it takes a special person to keep the spirit alive and to hold onto the core values on which Project Genesis was built. Kathy not only believes in the values of showing everyone dignity and respect, she lives it every day. She fiercely advocates for our consumers, and works tirelessly to ensure all of their needs are met.”
Christi Thomas, director of Project Genesis’s Acquired Brain Injury Program, agreed. “Kathy’s belief in and commitment to our mission has been overwhelmingly evident over the years in her respect for others and thoughtfulness in decision making,” Thomas said. “When faced with difficult decisions, her solutions always reflect the question, what is the best decision for our consumers; what will make Project Genesis better, better able to serve, a better employer. As Project Genesis moves forward, I am happy to have a proven mentor and leader to guide us.”
As COO for the past two years, Rathan was responsible for overseeing all agency programs: the Acquired Brain Injury, the BRS-funded Adults with Disabilities Jobs Program and the Special Education Support Services Program; and for managing Project Genesis’s overall strategic, operational and budget. In that capacity, she was vigilant in fiscal oversight, reducing expenditures; increasing revenues; and ensuring programs operate in fiscally responsible manner and were in compliance with federal, state and funding regulations.
In 2009, Rathan was named recipient of the “Lauri DiGalbo Award” from Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in recognition of “supporting community based support for Persons with Brain Injury.” Rathan served as Project Genesis’s assistant director from 2007 to 2011, and as program manager of the organization’s acquired brain injury program from 2002 to 2007.
Rathan earned a graduate certificate in public and non-profit management from the University of Connecticut in 2011; a certificate in leadership development in 2010; and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Albany.