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TACOMA, Wash. – With CEO Linda Nguyen set to retire at the end of 2019, a longtime Pierce County leader will soon take the helm as interim CEO for WorkForce Central.

The WorkForce Central Executive Board announced Wednesday that Helen McGovern-Pilant will start as interim on Dec. 16. McGovern-Pilant has spent 35 successful years in the Tacoma/Pierce County community in entrepreneurial, not-for-profit and corporate endeavors and has had extensive involvement in community-based organizations both as a leader and active member.

She comes with a proven track record in bringing together diverse interests and establishing partnerships that result in meaningful solutions. Most recently, she has worked as a consultant since 2018. From 2009 to 2018, she served as the Executive Director of the Emergency Food Network.

“I am honored to have been selected as the interim CEO,” McGovern-Pilant said. “Linda leaves an impressive legacy. I look forward to using my corporate and nonprofit experience to sustain and build partnerships that will serve the organization and the community.”

McGovern-Pilant also served as a City Council member for the city of Lakewood from 2001 to 2009, and was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council in 2013. She has also served on and chaired many local and regional boards, including Elevate Health, Sound Outreach, Passport Rotary, Safe Streets, Pierce County Regional Council, the Washington Food Coalition, Pierce County Human Services and others.

“I can think of no person more well-suited for the role of interim CEO than Helen McGovern-Pilant,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, who co-chairs WorkForce Central’s Executive Board.

“She is a true servant leader, as evidenced by her leadership of the Emergency Food Network, her work as a former member of the Lakewood City Council, and her commitment to the many nonprofit organizations she supports. She is admired and respected throughout Pierce County, and I’m confident Workforce Central will be in great hands.”

Nguyen announced in February that she would retire at the end of 2019 after 28 years at WorkForce Central, serving the last 12 years as CEO.

“I want to welcome Helen to WorkForce Central as interim CEO,” Nguyen said. “Her proven leadership, deep understanding of Pierce County, and established relationships with key stakeholders will ensure continued momentum of all the amazing work that WorkForce Central and its partners are engaged in.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Board will continue its search for WorkForce Central’s next permanent CEO. An executive search firm is being procured through a formal bidding process, and the chosen bidder will conduct a nationwide search in 2020.

WorkForce Central strengthens the Pierce County economy by identifying skill gaps between jobseekers and employment opportunities, fostering data-driven decision making, and connecting workforce development partners into a cohesive, collaborative and effective network.


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