Board Chair Message: Executive Transition Announcement


On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff at FRIENDS FIRST, it is with deep appreciation and respect that we let you know that Elycia Cook will be stepping down from her role as President & CEO of FRIENDS FIRST on March 5, 2021 to pursue a new career opportunity. Elycia has been a part of the FRIENDS FIRST family for more than 12 years and has served in her current role for nine years. Her vision and expertise will be missed, but we are excited for her as she moves into the next chapter of her professional career.

We are excited to announce through this transition, Andy Matott has been named our Interim President & CEO and will be working closely with our Board and staff as we move forward. As an organization, we are in a strong position with experienced and committed leadership and staff, we have exciting program opportunities with our new curriculum and eMentoring Program for virtual learning, and a robust strategic plan and vision to continue our mission to serve youth, mentoring and our communities. Andy has been with FRIENDS FIRST for more than seven years in several different roles, including being heavily involved in our grants, partnerships, programming and new curriculum projects and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise into this position. We are very excited to have her leadership as she takes FRIENDS FIRST to the next level as well as continue to be a great partner to our communities.

In the coming months, the Board and leadership team will be working closely together to carry out our strategic initiatives as outlined in our strategic plan and will be forming a committee to lead the efforts in our leadership search. During this time of transition, we count on your continued support so that the youth and communities we serve can count on us. Please join us in thanking Elycia for her dedication to youth and welcome Andy as she takes on this new role.

Warm Regards,

Babak Fadaiepour

FRIENDS FIRST Board of Directors Chair

Andy Matott has been with FRIENDS FIRST for more than seven years . During her tenure, she has served in the roles of Program Team Manager, Community Engagement and Grant Manager, and Director of Grants, Programs and Evaluation. Prior to FRIENDS FIRST, Andy was an Office and Community Engagement Manager for a publishing company and a middle school teacher in the Douglas County School District in Colorado. "I am excited about the opportunities FRIENDS FIRST has to expand our reach and deepen our impact on youth. That’s why we do what we do. The youth are our future and every day we work to encourage them, give them opportunities, elevate their voices, and be adults committed to their best is a good day!"

Elycia Cook served FRIENDS FIRST for more than 12 years and nine years as CEO. Elycia has received several mentoring and community accolades during her tenure including being the recent recipient National MENTOR's Lifetime Achievement Award in Mentoring.

Babak Fadaiepour serves as the Chair of the FRIENDS FIRST Board of Directors and has served on the Board since 2015. He is the Director of Business Development for Raisa Energy, LLC and the Managing Member for SELM Energy Investments, LLC.

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