Location: Arlington, VA
Years in role: 3
Years at company: 10
OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES: As COO of A-SPAN, Leonard Chari helps set the tone for excellence within the organization. Through the programs Chari helps oversee, A-SPAN has been able to house nearly 200 formerly homeless individuals and veterans. To fulfill its mission, the nonprofit has focused on following national best practices. This has led to a 95 percent tenancy rate, which not only makes key funders happy, but also allows the nonprofit to continually grow its housing programs.
FUN FACT: Chari previously worked for the UN Program for Poverty Alleviation in Zimbabwe. He was responsible for helping impoverished populations gain access to fresh, clean water.
STRONG CULTURE: For Chari, communication is the key to a strong and consistent culture at A-SPAN. Though cultural consistency has been a challenge amid a growing staff and board, the company has taken steps to ensure culture always remains a priority. In fact, A-SPAN hired a firm that specializes in nonprofit communications to further hone its message, and train board members and senior management on message delivery.
DAY-TO-DAY BALANCE: To ensure a balance between operational activities and overall vision, A-SPAN partnered with Leadership Arlington to hold break-away sessions that allow board members and staff to focus. Sessions are conducted by Leadership Arlington staff, and focus on creating an environment that is conducive to creativity and innovation.