L’Arche USA has selected Tina Bovermann of Atlanta to lead the national organization for a five-year term. Tina succeeds Joan Mahler, who has served L’Arche USA for more than 15 years, first as regional coordinator for the Western Region for six years and as national leader for the past eight.
Wendy Sullivan, L’Arche USA Board President, says, “Tina brings a depth of expertise and boundless energy that will serve L’Arche USA well as we implement our new mandate. Her international experience and skills in marketing and communications make her a perfect fit.”
Tina comes with a background in economics, international politics, marketing and communication, and has previously served with L’Arche in two different capacities.
She first encountered L’Arche in Quebec, Canada. Originally from Germany, Tina was completing a degree in economics and was planning to study abroad at the same time as a friend wanted to try out being a L’Arche assistant. In the pre-Internet days they had little information go to on, so Tina agreed to help her friend with a back-up plan should the adventure in L’Arche turn sour.
It didn’t, and Tina was hooked.
In 2004, she returned to Quebec to set up L’Arche International’s first communications office. She also served part-time as an assistant so she could learn the ropes from the inside. It was a challenging first year as she learned about what it meant to live in community and work far from the rest of the international team.
“If there’s one reason I stayed that first year, it was William,” Tina said. Her relationship with him was “primal” and such a needed counterpart to her work. Although William couldn’t see or speak, he had a multitude of ways to communicate and relate. He loved chocolate, bubble baths, and having Tina rub his head. “He kept me in the moment; he grounded me.”
Tina spent four years in the communications manager role, developing an international brand and providing support and structures for L’Arche at the local, national, and international levels. She left to further develop her professional skills, but within two years L’Arche called her back to serve as executive director for the 2012 International L’Arche Assembly that gathered 500 people from nearly 40 countries in Atlanta for a weeklong conference.
“In all my years serving L’Arche in different roles, I have never met anybody who is not hooked in by all that happens when we enter relationships across differences and abilities,” Tina said.
After settling permanently in Atlanta with her spouse and children, Tina joined the L’Arche Atlanta board of directors. Now, L’Arche has called her back to a full-time role. As of June 1, Tina is at the helm of a national organization with 18 existing communities and several emerging communities.
L’Arche USA’s new mandate is centered around four key objectives: 1) To take ownership of L’Arche’s mission, 2) To develop leadership, 3) To engage with culture and society, 4) To shape L’Arche in the U.S. and the International Federation.
Tina’s desire for L’Arche in the U.S. is to “find ways to share this wonderful experience with as many fellow residents of this country as possible.”
Bethany Keener is Communications Manager for L’Arche USA. Contact her at email@example.com.