HSP Director Angela Gustus to leave agency at end of July

Jon Kelvey
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times

After two and a half years in the Executive Director role at Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc, Angela Gustus will be moving on from the nonprofit community action agency effective July 27.

What she leaves behind is an a more efficient, ambitious and growing agency, and a legacy in a culture of leadership and ownership among HSP staff.

"She has made tremendous changes within the personnel and organizational structure," said HSP Board President Bob Miller. "That will be her legacy."

Gustus took over from former Executive Director Cindy Parr on Nov. 30, 2015, who had served in that role since 2011.

HSP operates five shelters, including the Cold Weather Shelter, as well as more than 15 programs serving low income individuals and families, from from rapid re-housing, to help with utility bills to income tax preparation services.

"I’ve only been here for two and a half years, but I can say I am really proud of the work we have been able to do," Gustus said. "We've added 10 new positions. We've grown the budget from $4.1 million to our 2019 budget, which we just got passed by the board, of $5.3 million."

Having worked in human services her entire career, Gustus had, prior to coming ot HSP, obtained a master’s degree in public administration with a goal of better learning the business of nonprofits, and used those skill during her tenure to revamp accounting practices and business strategies at HSP to make the agency more flexible and better able to scale up to meet the needs of its clients.

"When I took over HSP, it was run really well, but was still focused like the small agency it was when it first started," Gustus said. "We had to function like a multi-million dollar business, changing our budgeting process, our accounting process, to make our process match the growth the agency has had over the years."

Gustus "crafted a budget that was more transparent and understandable by everyone," Miller added, allowing department heads to "take ownership of the budget in their own departments."

The end result was an agency where everyone was on the same page, and working toward department-specific and agency-wide goals simultaneously, he said.

"The key factor we saw was the growth of the people, the staff, and their understanding of the overall goal of the agency.”

It’s been that cultivation of HSP’s staff in the context of the agency’s goals that Gustus said she is most proud of.

“I think that as a leader of an agency, a huge part of your position is developing the leadership roles of staff, creating mid-level positions in there to be able to help people to grow as professionals,” she said. “We have built a bench of people in-house who could easily step up.”

Gustus’ talent at cultivating nonprofit talent has extended beyond HSP as well.

According to Angela Martin, executive director of the Maryland Community Action Partnership, a membership organization of agencies with missions similar to HSP, said that Gustus was able to share her methods with the more than 15 other Maryland agencies within the partnership, and more than a 1,000 at the national level.

“I think her style of leadership helps develop those under her to become leaders as well. We have used a lot of her staff to conduct and facilitate workshops at our conferences,” Martin said. “We’re defintely going to miss her in the network because she brings a lot of energy and motivation.”

Where Gustus is going, she will actually be making those same talents for nonprofit, and for-profit, organizations available to others. In 2014, she launched a Baltimore-based consulting firm named CMAG & Associates, LLC, a business that has really taken off recently, and Gustus had “a hard decision to make.”

“I don’t advertise at all, and yet my business has continued to grow faster and bigger than I thought,” she said. “I am very, very blessed to be in a position to be able to do something like this.”

Gustus’s legacy of cultivating in-house talent is already on display, she said, as Scott Yard, director of HPS's Emergency and Prevention Program, will be stepping in as acting executive director after her departure.

"He’s really excited about what he’ll bring to the agency going forward," Gustus said of Yard. "To be perfectly honest, I think he would be a great executive director moving forward. Of course it’s the board’s decision."

The board will certainly consider in-house applications, Miller said, though he did not know Yard’s intentions yet.

“He is going to get an opportunity to do some on-the-job training,” Miller said.

The board expects to get ad for the executive director position posted within 60 days of Gustus leaving, Miller said, but noted that beyond that the search process will proceed at the pace it proceeds — the search to replace Parr lasted six months before the board settled on Gustus.

“It is not a process we believe in rushing because of the intricacy of the agency,” he said.

jon.kelvey@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-3317

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