The Indianapolis Public Library (IndyPL) Board of Trustees approved a resolution during a special board meeting Tuesday to create a new and temporary contractual Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) position that will filled by Anita J. Harden, RN, MBA and owner of Interim Executives, LLC.
As CAO, Harden will work under the direction of Acting CEO Gregory Hill and in conjunction with the Board to support IndyPL’s mission, vision and strategic plan; implement recommendations from the Climate Improvement Study; build the leadership capacity of current IndyPL personnel; and fulfill other duties recommended under the direction of Acting CEO Hill. Harden’s term as CAO will begin upon execution of the contract and will not exceed 12 months.
“The Board is confident that with her depth of experience guiding organizations through periods of transition, Ms. Harden is uniquely positioned to lead the library through the next several months,” said Hope C. Tribble, IndyPL Board of Trustees President. “We are thankful for her willingness to serve and believe that with her appointment, we are poised to secure a bright future for our library.”
“Even positive change can be difficult to navigate, and is often more easily accomplished by someone from outside an organization than from within,” said Indianapolis Public Library Acting CEO Gregory Hill. “This collaboration with Ms. Harden will afford us an opportunity to integrate some best practices used by other large community organizations in Indianapolis to build leadership capacity with existing Library personnel. I remain optimistic that IndyPL can and will come through this period of transition a stronger, healthier organization for the next CEO to lead.”
Harden is well known in the Indianapolis community for having led strategic planning and organizational transitions for a several of the city’s key nonprofit and cultural agencies, including Family Service of Central Indiana, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Lutheran Child and Family Services, the Indiana Latino Institute, the Madam Walker Legacy Center and Indianapolis Public Schools. Harden is also an active patron of the IndyPL Glendale and Nora branches, regularly donates books to the IndyPL system and is currently writing a series of children’s books.
Prior to founding Interim Executives, LLC, Harden served as President of Community Hospital East. Harden is also widely recognized for her civic engagement; since 1998, she has held more than 20 positions on committees and boards for a variety of local companies and service agencies, including Citizens Energy Group, The Indianapolis Zoo, the Black Nurses Association, The Indianapolis Rotary Foundation, the Indiana University School of Nursing, Christian Theological Seminary, LaPlaza, and the Indiana Minority Mental Health Coalition.
"I am humbled to be given the opportunity to assist an essential community institution during this critical time,” said Harden. “To me, the most important aspect of an organization is its internal culture. As Chief Administrative Officer for the Indianapolis Public Library, I plan to do a lot of listening – to our staff, our patrons, our community and our leadership – in order to gain an understanding of all perspectives and to help library leadership build a healthy and sustainable culture.”
The appointment of Harden as CAO will provide IndyPL with the necessary executive-level support to continue the operation of services and programming to meet the needs of patrons and the community. With this assistance, the IndyPL Board of Trustees will begin a search for a permanent CEO. All candidates who applied previously for the permanent position will be eligible for consideration in the new search process, while Harden will not.
About Anita J. Harden
Anita J. Harden, RN, MBA is an established community leader with great depth in civic service and experience in leading organizations through transition. As owner of Interim Executives, LLC, Harden has assisted numerous community institutions with strategic planning and transformation, including Family Service of Central Indiana, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, Lutheran Child and Family Services, the Indiana Latino Institute and the Madam Walker Legacy Center. Harden is also an active patron of the Indianapolis Public Library’s Glendale and Nora branches, regularly donates books to the IndyPL system and is currently writing a series of children’s books.
Prior to founding Interim Executives, LLC, Harden spent more than 40 years in the healthcare industry, serving as a registered nurse, adjunct nursing professor and held several executive-level positions, including President of Community Hospital East. She discovered a passion for assisting organizations through times of transition during her time as interim President and CEO of the Community Health Network Foundation.
Harden is a dedicated civic leader, having held positions on 20 boards and committees in the Indianapolis area since 1988. Among these are Citizens Energy Group, The Indianapolis Zoo, the Black Nurses Association, The Indianapolis Rotary Foundation, the Indiana University School of Nursing, Christian Theological Seminary, LaPlaza, and the Indiana Minority Mental Health Coalition. Harden has received several awards and honors for her civic and professional service, including the Girls Inc. Touchstone Award, Indiana University Bicentennial Medal, “Anita Harden Day” proclamation from the City of Indianapolis Office of the Mayor, Indianapolis Public Schools Alumni Hall of Fame, Indiana Fever Class of 2007 Inspiring Women, Coalition of 100 Black Women Breakthrough Woman for 1999 and Sagamore of the Wabash.