Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Client Success Story: CEO Search

Eleonora C. Tornatore-Mikesh marks her fifth anniversary of leading the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter this year. As Chief Executive Officer, Eleonora has led the Board and organization on a path of growth, program development and sustainability.

As of FY17, the chapter raised $4.1 million in revenue. When Eleonora started in FY12 it was $2.0 million, so it was doubled in five years, pretty impressive,” says Jim Vumbaco, CFO. “Under Eleonora’s leadership, we have partnerships with larger organizations and one in particular with The Department of Labor which led to training and partnership with over 146 health care facilities throughout the state of Connecticut.”

The Alzheimer’s Association vision is a world without Alzheimer’s, and the Connecticut Chapter, formed in 2012 as a result of merging many smaller chapters, is the primary source of information and support to the thousands of Connecticut residents dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. With 6 offices across the state they offer communities 24/7 multilingual Helpline support, Family Training Seminars, Care Consultation, Safe Return training, Support Groups and Educational programs for both healthcare professionals and caregivers. The Chapter has influenced Public Policy changes and has provided support to dementia research in the hope of finding a cure.

The Board of Connecticut Chapter began a competitive process of seeking an Executive Search partner in 2012, and exclusively retained Alford Executive Search, a division of KEES, in the Spring. The previous Executive Director had announced her resignation, and the Board engaged an Interim leader to support the transition. The Board commissioned a Search Committee consisting of current leaders on the Board and the partnership began. Search outreach efforts focused regionally and resulted in an applicant pool of over 100 professionals. Eleonora was one of five finalists and unanimously selected by the Search Committee as the top candidate for Board review. She was hired in August and began in her role late September, just in time for the October Walks to End Alzheimer’s. The Walks during her tenure grew from 560,000 with five walks to 1.6 million with seven walks to date.

“All of the qualified candidates presented by Alford Executive Search had excellent skills, professional experiences and sound recommendations, but Eleonora had something special, a kind of charisma and passion for the mission that lights up a room and therefore ignites our volunteers, donors and staff. We could not have been more pleased with finding and hiring Eleonora.” -Patricia Gibbs, Search Committee

Eleonora brought the Chapter, now part of the national structure, over 15 years of executive leadership and a life-long passion for working with seniors and those impacted by Alzheimer’s. Prior to being selected as the Executive Director, she served as the Executive Director of The Greens at Cannondale, a for-profit senior living community in Wilton, Connecticut for 14 years. Early career roles were as an Instructor, Research Assistant, Psychology Instructor, and multiple capacities at the New York State Office for the Aging. She also served as the board chair of the Connecticut Assisted Living Association from 2010 – 2012, being a member for eight years of the $500,000+ budget professional association in the state. She proceeded to become the board chair of the ISLE Board the education arm of CALA in 2012-2014. In 2012, Eleonora was named to the Top 40 Under 40 in Connecticut Magazine, a public endorsement of her dynamic leadership skills and abilities.

Congratulations to Eleonora, the Board, and all those the Connecticut Chapter serves in pursuing a world without Alzheimer’s.