Just a few months after her first day at the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri, Executive Director Harper Mruk offered her resignation to the Board of Directors this week.
Mruk has been with the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri since mid-March, after being named the successor for Brett Barth-Fagan, who left his position in January to take a job with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Mruk will continue working in Sedalia until the end of July, when she will head home to Wisconsin to be with her family, which is the reason she decided to resign from the organization.
“I had a family situation come up and my family is based out of Wisconsin at this point. It was one of the easiest and toughest decisions I’ve had to make,” Mruk said. “My family is important to me and it’s very easy to say they need me and I need to go there. It’s tough because I have love this organization, I’ve always loved the Club, and I specifically love this organization. And to be honest I fell in love with the community. I had never lived anywhere quite like this town. So it’s tough for me as well.”
Board Vice President Darren Pannier said with Mruk’s exit, “it’s our loss. We’re losing a real leader.”
“Harper contributed a tremendous amount of ideas, her experience from the Boys & Girls Club, different viewpoints of where the Club needed to be heading to,” he said. “We’re again at another loss, but on the same token, knowing the reason she’s leaving, I totally support her reasoning.”
Mruk came to Sedalia after working as the Center Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tri-County Area in Berlin, Wis., where she had been working since January 2009. She brought nonprofit and fundraising experience to the West Central Missouri Clubs, and she used that knowledge during her short time in Sedalia to move the organization in a new direction.
“Something I’m particularly proud of, is we did some restructuring of the organization, we introduced a different way of thinking as far as the culture of philanthropy,” Mruk said. “Raising and heightening that is really the next place we need to go, looking how to further diversify our income, really create stability that’s not just for the next five or 10 years but for the next 100 years for the organization.”
She also noted the quality of the programming in Sedalia, especially the STEM programming, which she said “is better than any Club I’ve seen. It’s amazing what our staff can do with the programming here.”
“The programming here is amazingly strong, and it’s our job to make sure we continue to provide that, as long as the community has need for us to provide it. There will always be a need for the Club,” Mruk said. “Those were some of my focuses, to try to continue to build on that infrastructure, to create a culture of philanthropy. I think we’ve been able to set that groundwork and we have the right people in place to continue building on that.”
Now that Mruk has officially resigned, the Board will again start looking for a new executive director in the next few weeks.
“We might have to start beating the bushes again like we did last time,” Pannier said. “I don’t know exactly how we’ll pursue the new director of the Club, but I know that (President) RJ (Lindstrom) and I have talked briefly and we will have a plan in place here in the near future to hopefully attract another individual for our Club director.
“We have a great director of operations in place right now, Stoney Hays, an outstanding director of development. Right now we can keep the programs and information for kids right where we need to be, the Club will be going along just like it has been.”