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January 18, 2012 --- The Estonian American National Council, Inc, (EANC) has named Linda Rink as its new Executive Director.  L. Rink will assist the Board of Directors with developing and implementing programs and strategies, and will be responsible for EANC’s day-to-day operations, including bookkeeping, marketing, and communications. Before joining EANC, Rink was President of Rink Consulting, a marketing services agency in Philadelphia.  Her industry background includes marketing positions at Hunt Corporation, Amtrak, Seagram and Quaker Oats.  She holds a B.A. degree from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Background EANC’s Board of Directors determined at its September 17, 2012, annual meeting in Washington, DC, that EANC needed to hire an experienced full-time Executive Director who would manage the Council’s programs and day-to-day administration.  At the meeting, the Council discussed several new initiatives, but it became apparent that they could not be implemented without additional help.  The decision was made to advertise the position, with the goal of filling it by the end of 2011.  Jaak Pedak was selected as the head of the Selection Committee, along with committee members Siiri Sutt and Erik Puskar.  When the position was advertised, there were several inquiries regarding EANC’s rationale to hire a paid full-time director.  We might mention that EANC actually had two paid employees, and later one, when its office was in New York.  After it moved to Washington a few years ago, EANC operated with only one part-time employee, off and on.  Although Board members attempted to fill in, it finally became clear that this was not a satisfactory solution, especially when compared to other organizations such as the New York Estonian Educational Society, the American Latvian Association, and the Joint Baltic American National Committee – all of whom have paid employees.   EANC’s Executive Director Selection Process The Selection Committee did a thorough job in reviewing the candidates’ background and experience, using a professional process based on neutrality and ethical standards, while keeping in mind EANC’s requirements.  The position was advertised in both Estonian and English in the newspaper Free Estonian Word, via New York and Washington DC e-mail lists, and on websites.  The announcement was also sent out via various social media (even reaching Estonia). Nine applicants replied by the December 1, 2011, deadline (resume plus cover letter), with five more applications received during the next six days, for a total of 14.  Of these, eleven spoke/wrote Estonian (at various levels of proficiency).  Knowledge of Estonian was listed in the job posting as “highly desirable” but not mandatory. The Committee decided to interview 5 candidates (one was later dropped after further checks).  Interviews took place on December 11 with the Selection Committee members, plus EANC’s President.  The Committee then evaluated each candidate’s qualifications with respect to EANC’s requirements, then voted and forwarded its recommendation and summary of the process to EANC’s Board of Directors, who accepted the Com-mittee’s recommendation.  Marju Rink-Abel, EANC’s President, abstained from voting in both instances because one of the candidates was a relative. Specifically, Linda Rink was recommended for the Executive Director position first of all because of her strong and varied business background, which the Committee found to be especially important for EANC’s current situation.  She also has significant leadership experience with non-profit organizations.  Further, she possesses the practical administrative and marketing experience which EANC requires, including creating newsletters, bookkeeping, database and file management, and marketing outreach.  Her communications skills in English are excellent, and she speaks Estonian.  Also important was the fact that she was able to start her new position with EANC almost immediately. It should be mentioned that there were a surprising number of very good candidates.  Among the 14 applicants, there were clearly others who also had excellent experience.  It was not an easy decision, but the Committee believes it has made the right choice. With the help of its new Executive Director, 2012 will be an active and productive anniversary year for EANC.   Jaak Pedak,  EANC Selection Committee Chair  

 

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