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Safelight announces new executive director

A social worker and chief strategy officer from South Carolina has been hired as executive director of Safelight, the domestic abuse shelter.

Safelight board President Paul Tobias announced that the organization has hired Lauren Wilkie for the top job, replacing John Lauterbach, who retired last month after serving as executive director for the past 2½ years.

"When John shared his plans with the Safelight board to retire, we immediately began the search for a new executive director," Tobias said. "We are excited to share that the search has been successful and  started with us this week. Lauren has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the non-profit world as she specializes in community and organizational change through program revitalization to help programs reach their maximum potential."

Wilkie comes to Hendersonville from Columbia, South Carolina, where she was chief strategy officer for a company that helps nonprofits with finances, human relations, fundraising events, grant writing and staff training. After receiving a bachelor's degree in psychology and management from Francis Marion University in 2006, she earned a master's degree in social work from the University of South Carolina in 2009.

Wilkie has been a key player for education and advocacy by directing and developing programs for almost two decades for diverse populations, according to her Linked-In profile. She volunteers with a variety of groups, including Women in Philanthropy, South Carolina Women in Leadership, the League of Women Voters and as a Guardian ad Litem. In 2020 the National Association of Social Workers recognized her as social worker of the year in South Carolina.

"We look forward to continuing to grow Safelight’s role as a resource for survivors of interpersonal violence, sexual assault and child abuse," Tobias said.