CJHS executive director announces retirement; assistant executive director to take over

After 38 years as Executive Director of the Calgary John Howard Society (CJHS), Gord Sand has announced that he will be retiring on June 30, 2019. Since 1981, Gord has played a critical role in the growth of CJHS from 20 employees with one halfway house, to close to 150 employees and a multitude of programs that serve a myriad of needs for those involved in the justice system.

With Gord at the helm, CJHS has greatly increased its impact to provide housing, education, employment programs and support for at-risk youth and adults who have had criminal involvement. These programs help to reduce crime in Calgary by providing alternatives for those at risk of breaking the law.

“CJHS is one of the only organizations that assists people who are returning to the community from prison,” Gord says. “It’s very important for their transition that they have support — it contributes to a reduction in recidivism which, in turn, increases community safety.”

The Executive Director position will be taken over by Leslie McMechan, who is currently the Assistant Executive Director at CJHS.

“Leslie has been a major part of CJHS for 18 years,” Gord says. “She participates at the Board level, understands the organization and its finances thoroughly, and has been an innovator in programming for individuals with criminal involvement. She will undoubtedly be an excellent leader.”

Leslie has been CJHS’s Assistant Executive Director since 2008, leading agency-wide projects such as the Indigenous Cultural Initiative, the implementation of a Natural Supports Practice Framework and Trauma-Informed Care, and the Theory of Change in preparation for the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan. She also represents CJHS in the community on the Indigenous Court Working Group, the National Youth Justice Network and the Calgary Restorative Justice Network.

“Gord’s phenomenal leadership has ensured that CJHS is well-prepared to continue increasing safety in the community,” says Leslie. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity and challenge of advancing CJHS’s work at our new community services building and residence, which will be opening in June 2019.”

Please join us in thanking Gord for his leadership and significant contributions to preventing crime in Calgary, and in congratulating Leslie on her new role.

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