Smart Start of Mecklenburg County Welcomes New CEO

April 2023

The Smart Start of Mecklenburg County Board of Directors and the Human Resources team at Ascend Non-Profit Solutions have conducted an extensive search and interview process.

In searching for a high-profile position like this, the Board understands the importance of building a diverse slate and evaluating candidates from different backgrounds. In this case, they were delighted by the interest in the role and the quality and diversity of the candidates. That speaks to the quality of the Smart Start organization, its mission, people, and culture.

The Board of Directors has been incredibly pleased with the organization's direction over the past three years and thanks Jake House for his exceptional leadership. His passion for the mission and leadership across Mecklenburg County has raised the profile of SSMC and, most important, provided significant support to the children and families of Mecklenburg County.

Therefore, the Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mike Blackwelder will be the new CEO of Smart Start of Mecklenburg County. Mike will step into his role as CEO beginning July 1st. Not only has Mike led the organization through some of the most challenging times at the beginning of the pandemic as the interim leader, but he has also helped define and execute the organization's strategy in his role as Chief Administrative Officer over the past three years. His Smart Start experience and extensive non-profit administrative and fundraising leadership made him the perfect choice. The Board is incredibly confident in the team and the great work underway, and they believe Mike will provide excellent continuity of leadership for the future.

Smart Start of Mecklenburg County thanks the members of the Board of Directors and the human resources professionals at Ascend Non-Profit Solutions for their time and dedication to this process. Please join us in thanking Jake for his service and congratulating Mike on this well-deserved appointment as the organization's next CEO.