Frequently Asked Questions - Executive Transition Announcement

Updated: Mar 25

What is Elycia’s next opportunity?

Elycia will be taking the role of CEO for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado. Elycia will be stepping into the opportunity to lead and craft their next strategic plan and vision for their organization. Over the past year, FRIENDS FIRST has been committed as an organization and staff to learning and growing through our diversity, equity and inclusion work and we are proud to share that Elycia will be the first Black CEO for their organization. We are thrilled for her as she embarks on this journey and delighted that they are equally committed to this work.


Will Elycia be involved with FRIENDS FIRST in any capacity moving forward?

Elycia is working closely with the Board and our leadership team until her departure March 5. She has also volunteered to be a resource during this time should a need arise that we need her insight due to her tenure and position with FRIENDS FIRST. Elycia has also expressed that she is proud of our work with students and communities and will always be a friend and support to FRIENDS FIRST.


What are FRIENDS FIRST top priorities now and in the future?

Our Board, Andy and our leadership team are working closely together during this time to meet, assess and mobilize our top priorities from our strategic plan. In the coming months, our top priorities are:

  • Continue to evaluate and diversify our funding streams for continued sustainability

  • Continue to deliver our spring programming virtually and evaluate our fall programming plans for virtual, in-person and hybrid learning along with our school partners

  • We are facilitating a virtual MentorLife® Summit on March 6 for our student mentors and we are currently in the planning phase to deliver a fun, interactive meaningful STARS National Conference experience this summer

  • Continue to build upon our community and school relationships for continued partnerships and ensuring that we address and meet their current and future needs through our programming

  • Continue to deliver our wraparound services which includes community events, assemblies and parent education opportunities


How does this affect our schools and programming?

This transition does not affect our programming or school relationships in any way. Our programming team is committed to finishing our spring STARS Mentoring, Project AIM and Pursue programs as well as delivering virtual community events and assemblies.


What are future ways we are going to be addressing uncertain remote and in-person learning?

When we were creating our plans for the next issue of our STARS Mentoring Program curriculum our leadership and programming team took a proactive approach to understanding the future needs of our schools, students and partners and created both an in-person and virtual program curriculum. Over the past year, we have been implementing our STARS eMentoring Program in our schools with great success and response from our partners. As we continue to live into remote learning we are using this time and experience to gather feedback from our students and partners to evolve our programming to fit the needs of our communities.


How does this affect our grant partners?

Andy will continue to serve our grant partners in the same capacity and the leadership team will assist her with any administrative needs that arise so that our grant partners continue to receive the same level of attention and care that they have been receiving.


Have additional Questions? Email us at info@friendsfirst.org


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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