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Helix Human Service Prepares for Transition as CEO William Davila Departs March 31

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Having just undergone a name change, the oldest social service agency in Western Massachusetts is about to experience a leadership change.

Helix Human Services announced that executive director and chief executive officer William Davila will be leaving the agency on March 31. The agency’s board of directors will embark on a search for his replacement, according to John Pappas, president of the board.

No reason was given for Davila’s planned departure after two years at the Springfield agency. Pappas spoke of the CEO’s contribution in laudatory terms.

HELIX Human Services announcement
Executive director and chief operating officer William Davila

“Since joining the agency, Will has played an important role in positioning Helix Human Services for long-term success, most recently leading the company through a challenging period, which included COVID-19 and the many challenges that came with the pandemic,” Pappas said. “We wish him all the best.”

The agency was recently rebranded under the Helix name after being known for the last 80 years as The Children’s Study Home. The change was announced in late January.

The agency 158-year-old history began at the end of the Civil War and did pioneering work in restore normalcy to the lives of children affected by traumatic circumstances. It has expanded its role to include adults and families, to better serve all of those in need of trauma-related services.

That was part of the reasoning behind the name change. Increasing that reach and impact is a Helix priority and will figure in the selection of a new CEO, Pappas said.

“Now is the right time for Helix Human Services to accelerate our strategic initiatives, and the board is focused on identifying a CEO who can execute on the opportunities ahead,” he said.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and other factors, Davila called his time at the agency gratifying.

“As I turn to the next chapter of my career, I am very confident in the leadership team we have in place to realize our mission and vision, and support Helix in this next phase of transformation,” Davila said.

“I am so grateful to the dedicated staff and professionals and our supporters who have made our mission, from 1865 to this day, one that results in benefiting the lives of children and their families.

“Serving here has been one of the greatest endeavors of my professional career. I am proud of the work we have done together and believe this agency is well-positioned to continue to serve this community and poised to embrace exciting new opportunities that await,” Davila said.

He did not indicate his next career prospects.

“As I turn to the next chapter of my career, I am very confident in the leadership team we have in place to realize our mission and vision, and support Helix in this next phase of transformation,” Davila said.

The agency was begun in 1865 with Rachel Capen Merriam as a driving force and its first president. She was the wife of Charles Merriam, co-founder of what became the Merriam-Webster publishing company.

They had met after Merriam had been impressed with Rachel’s writings under a pen name in the Springfield Republican. Rachel Capen Merriam’s presidency was progressive and unusual at a time women rarely held such positions of influence, and the agency began operating at a time no other such organization existed in the region.

Source: Mass Live

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