The third-largest LeadingAge state affiliate is seeking a new president and CEO in the wake of the news that current LeadingAge California President and CEO Joanne Handy plans to retire at the end of the second quarter of 2016.

“My seven years with LeadingAge California have been a source of joy, inspiration and career fulfillment,” Handy wrote in a Sept. 28 letter to members announcing her intended departure. “From the day I started, I could recognize in the first 2 minutes of conversation with a member the passion and commitment that characterize our sector. Similarly, I rarely needed to go beyond the lobby in any of our communities to witness examples of the fullness, zest, and human kindness our members engender.”

LeadingAge California formed a search committee, and search firm Witt/Kiefer posted a position description last week. Interviews will be conducted in the winter months, with the announcement of a successor expected in May, Eric Dowdy, LeadingAge California’s vice president of policy and communications, tells McKnight’s Senior Living. Handy will remain at the helm of the organization until her replacement is named.

“The CEO is expected to be actively engaged in advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels and be an extension of LeadingAge’s membership in the external market, serving as a spokesperson and ambassador for the aging services community,” reads the position description. The organization also is seeking someone who has experience in aging, healthcare, policy, housing or association management.

The new leader will assume control of an organization that has 17 employees and generates more than $3 million in revenue annually, Dowdy says. With more than 400 members, LeadingAge California is surpassed in state affiliate membership only by LeadingAge Minnesota (the largest LeadingAge state affiliate) and LeadingAge New York, he adds.

Assisted living and continuing care retirement/life plan community members of LeadingAge California, Dowdy says, are experiencing growth, with several large CCRCs opening in the next few months. Among issues facing other members, he adds, are complex affiliations/mergers (for instance, Northern California Presbyterian Homes & Services/Episcopal Senior Communities and Baptist Homes of the West).

“On the affordable senior housing side, our members struggle with the lack of access to capital (due to the decimation of the HUD 202 program and Gov. Brown’s elimination of redevelopment agencies) to build affordable housing to meet the need in California,” he adds. In skilled nursing, the regulatory environment and policy preference toward home- and community-based service providers have meant continued little to no growth in the sector, Dowdy says.