A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Children, Inc. gets new CEO, Shannon Starkey-Taylor, as Rick Hulefeld takes on new ‘special projects’ role

The only CEO Children, Inc. has ever had — its founder and the genius behind its development — is stepping aside from day-to-day operations.

Shannon Starkey-Taylor

Rick Hulefeld will remain actively involved as President of Special Projects, handing over CEO duties to Shannon Starkey-Taylor who currently serves as COO of the organization.

“Shannon has been an amazing asset to Children, Inc., handling the day to day operations as well as the strategic vision,” said Lori Zombek, board chair for Children, Inc.

In his new role, Hulefeld will have the freedom to deepen current relationships and develop new relationships that will benefit Children, Inc., for years to come.  His primary focus will be in advocacy, planned giving, and new collaborations. 

“I am so excited to have this opportunity to continue to dream for Children, Inc.’s future,” Hulefeld said.

Over the past two years, Starkey-Taylor has overseen the structure change of the organization’s leadership team, the creation of over ten new programs, including three acquisitions, and the expansion of services to increase the multi-generational approach to families.  

“I have watched as Children, Inc. has grown and impacted the region’s children, so dramatically,” Starkey-Taylor said. “To say that I am honored and excited to be entrusted as the new CEO, would be an understatement. To coin a phrase, I have huge shoes to fill. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Rick Hulefeld

Prior to Children, Inc., Shannon was the Chief Operating Officer for Rettsyndrome.org, where she was responsible for the day to day operations of a $5MM+ foundation, and developing fundraising initiatives, reporting directly to a national Board of Directors. 

Starkey-Taylor was also a member of the executive team at The Children’s Home of Cincinnati where she was the Vice President of Strategic Development.  In this role, she was responsible for new program development, marketing, and ensuring the agency met their strategic goals. Additionally, she developed new service initiatives including a full array of early childhood services as well as a high school for students with Autism and other related disorders.

She has provided leadership in many children’s social service initiatives, to include Help Me Grow, Every Child Succeeds, and the State of Ohio’s Early Childhood Cabinet Fiscal Workgroup. She was instrumental in founding The Consortium for Resilient Young Children and was the past chair of this community collaboration. She has presented locally and nationally on parenting and establishing partnerships in early childhood mental health consultation.
Starkey-Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Heidelberg College, a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Cincinnati and holds a Master’s in Education Administration from Xavier University.   She resides in Loveland with her husband, Jeff. They have four foster daughters and a 13-year-old son, Dylan.

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