Child & Family Service Names Karen Tan New President & CEO

Hawai‘i Executive to Head One of Hawai‘i’s Largest Nonprofits

The Board of Directors of Child & Family Service (CFS) today announced that agency executive Karen Tan has been selected as the new President and CEO of the health and human services nonprofit.

Tan is CFS Chief Program Officer and has served in leadership positions with CFS for 12 years. She will succeed Howard Garval, who will retire on September 30 after leading the nonprofit for the past 11 years. Her appointment will be effective October 1.

“The selection of Karen is a winning choice for our organization and for the thousands helped each year through the work of Child & Family Service,” said CFS Board Chair Michele Saito in making the announcement. “Karen brings the heart of a social worker and the excellence of a business leader to the task of serving those in need in our community. We are thrilled that she will lead CFS in continuing to strengthen families across our state.”

Tan said that she is honored to be named the new leader for CFS. “Working with Howard over the past 11 years has been a tremendous privilege and gift. He has been a visible leader who models deliberative thought, leadership development, and a sincere passion for the profession. I intend to carry these traits on through my leadership of CFS. I am also appreciative of the CFS Board and the Board Selection Committee for their confidence in me. I look forward to working together with our board members, our CFS team, volunteers and partners to support families in our community.”

Tony Mizuno, chair of the CFS Board Selection Committee, added that Karen’s selection reinforces the accomplishments and leadership structure that has been built under Garval’s tenure and the organization’s strategic direction of being a family-centered, full-service nonprofit.

Mizuno said that executive search firm Management Search conducted a thorough national search that included interviewing very strong local as well as mainland candidates. After a comprehensive search process over the past six months, “the best choice was located right at home,” he said.

“Karen has been a member of the CFS Executive Leadership Team and led the agency focus on Results Based Accountability, a nationally recognized initiative that measures the effectiveness of CFS programs and their community impact,” Mizuno said. “She has strategically positioned CFS as a state and national leader in best practices and new program models.”

According to retiring CFS President and CEO Garval, Tan’s selection is aligned with the organization’s efforts to develop talent from within. Garval recently launched the CFS Leadership Academy to build up future leaders in Hawaii’s nonprofit community.

“I have had the pleasure of mentoring Karen and of seeing her grow in leadership at CFS,” Garval said. “Karen brings positive energy and is enthusiastic and committed in her focus on the needs of families. She has been highly visible not only for our organization, but also in working collaboratively with other nonprofits to bring resources to bear for community wide issues. Karen is a leader who gets things done.”

Tan brings 23 years of management experience in nonprofit organizations, including the past 12 years at CFS. She was named Vice President of Programs in 2006 and Chief Program Officer in 2016.

With 10 years of clinical experience in human services, Tan has successfully secured funding for evidence-based models of practice and care. She has advised other nonprofits nationally on measuring results through the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and is certified through the Alliance’s Executive Leadership Institute. Through Tan’s initiative, CFS was recently designated one of ten organizations across the nation to serve as a demonstration site to mobilize older adults in Hawaii to launch second careers that support CFS family programs statewide.

Tan holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Hawaii. Prior to joining CFS, Tan served as division director of treatment programs for Parents and Children Together (PACT).

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