As we all know, change is inevitable. So it is at the Teratology Society, and as with most change, it is bittersweet. Our long-term Executive Director, Tonia Masson, has received a well-deserved promotion at AIM, and it is with a great deal of excitement that we wish her well in her new position while acknowledging that we will miss her greatly!
Our new Executive Director is Heather Carskaddan. Heather is new to AIM and has spent the last few weeks working closely with Tonia to learn about the Teratology Society, our mission, goals, and the day-to-day management of Teratology. Both Heather and Tonia participated in our interim Council meeting in early November, which allowed Council to meet Heather and allowed her to participate in our mid-year planning session. There will be more news coming about our interim Council meeting in my next message.
Heather is very well qualified for this position, having a background and experience in both science and management. After earning her Master’s of Environmental Management degree from Duke University, Heather worked for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) at its national headquarters in northern Virginia. She served as Director of Community Education Programs, managing the administration and growth of the organization’s national community-based education programs, including the highly successful Backyard Wildlife Habitat and Campus Ecology programs. During this time, she also served on NWF’s Senior Leadership Council at the request of the CEO. Additionally, Heather’s professional experience includes small business leadership, as she was co-owner and administrator of northern Virginia’s largest general practice small animal hospital. In Heather’s own words, she has “a long-standing personal interest in birth defects research and prevention and is excited to work with the Teratology Society’s members and volunteers in support of the organization’s important mission.”
AIM is committed to making the transition for the Teratology Society as smooth as possible. Tonia will continue to work with Heather during the next couple of months, and Becca and Rachel will continue in their present roles with Teratology—in which they are both very happy. Both Heather and Tonia have assured me that Tonia’s office is just down the hall from Heather, and that Tonia will be available for providing history and help for the Teratology Society and Heather, as needed.
When Tonia called to talk to me about her replacement, she said that from the first interview with Heather, she knew she was perfect for Teratology. After meeting Heather and working with her for the last few weeks—I agree! I am confident that you will all feel the same once you have had a chance to meet her and work with her.
So please join me in welcoming Heather as our new Executive Director, and wishing Tonia all the best in her new position!
Mary Alice Smith