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Meet Our Board Co-Chairs

In 2023, Henry Street elected two new board co-chairs, Catherine Curley Lee and Ed Pallesen. They assumed the positions that had been filled by Scott Swid and Ian Highet, who served generously as chairs for eight and four years, respectively.

As a managing director at Goldman Sachs in 2009, Ed was looking for a volunteer activity where he could make use of his professional expertise in finance. He learned of Henry Street from Robert Harrison, his colleague who—at the time—was the Settlement’s board chair. Among Ed’s first acts of service on the board was to join the search committee that chose David Garza as CEO. 

Catherine encountered Henry Street in 2007 while working as director of campus recruiting and training for Credit Suisse. For a decade, she organized the company’s yearly days of service at Henry Street, for more than 100 worldwide trainees and more than 100 interns. The volunteers cleaned up Martin Luther King Jr. Community Park, ran a carnival for the children in Early Childhood Education, and interacted with team members at all levels of the organization.

“When I left Credit Suisse, I was sad to be leaving Henry Street,” Catherine says. To maintain connectivity with the Settlement, shortly after arriving at her current position as director of human resources at Glenview Capital she organized a clothing drive for Henry Street and a volunteer day of serving lunch and playing bingo at the Older Adult Center.  Catherine looked into other board service opportunities, but none resonated like  Henry Street had, so her former colleague, Douglas Paul—another board member and a mentor of hers at Credit Suisse— nominated her for the board.

Both board co-chairs see their priority as sustaining an environment where the “world-class” team members at Henry Street can do their jobs as well as they can.

“One of the most impressive things about Henry Street has been its steadfast commitment to its mission even as the world is changing around it,” Ed says. “Life is not getting easier for the communities we serve, and that makes our organization’s role so much more important.”

According to David Garza, Henry Street President & CEO, the value of Catherine and Ed’s collective leadership exceeds their longstanding tenure and commitment to the organization. “Their contributions are multifaceted and meaningful on many levels. They provide us with a broad base of support while leaning in with expertise that is extraordinarily practical and useful to the Settlement. Catherine and Ed help with human resources, finance, and investment in a multidimensional capacity, and on top of it all they care deeply about the organization and are terrific ambassadors for the Settlement.”

Catherine’s expertise in human resources has been particularly helpful in recent years, as Henry Street has responded to dramatic staffing needs during the pandemic; made significant investments in recruitment, retention, and team training; and restructured and expanded its leadership team.

After auditing several committees, she now serves on the Finance, Audit, and Facilities & Operations Committees and is chair of the Governance/Nominating Committee, which focuses on board member recruitment, committee participation and succession planning. Ed chairs the Investment Committee, which works closely with CEO David Garza and CFO Josephine Lume to carefully manage the organization’s endowment. He also serves on The Art Show Steering Committee and supports Henry Street’s sponsorship efforts to bring vital resources to the organization’s largest fundraiser. 

In their years on the board, Ed and Catherine have helped steward Henry Street through a worldwide financial crisis, the Covid pandemic, and now the temporary closure of the Settlement’s acclaimed Urban Family Center transitional housing residence, which requires extensive repairs.

They both note that getting to know an organization as large and complex as Henry Street takes time, and it helps that there is so much longevity on the board—including several members whose families date back to the early days of Henry Street.

“That history is so important to us because it takes some time to get your arms around the organization, to get to know the team and understand all the programming,” Catherine says.

Adds Ed, “We have a tremendously loyal group of directors, many of whom have been with the organization for a long time, and we continue to add to it to create a diverse and well-rounded group. As co-chairs we want to make sure the board is positioned to function in those roles as well as possible.”

Thank you, Catherine and Ed, for all you do for Henry Street!

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