Community Foundation Appoints New Vice President, Announces Promotions, Employee Accolades

Categories: Staff,

The Changes Demonstrate Commitment to Talent Development, Employee Empowerment

New staffing initiatives at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County demonstrate the nonprofit’s commitment to excellence through its people.

Through the appointment of a new vice president, as well as the promotions of three team members, these recent developments underscore the foundation’s priority of creating a work environment that provides opportunities for employees to achieve to their full potential.

“We are proud to be an organization where caring, dedicated individuals can apply their passion to the betterment of our community,” said Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “Great teams can accomplish great things. With their skills, insights, and talents, we truly can be a resource that helps make this community a place where everyone can thrive.”

  • Nicole Coudal has been appointed the foundation’s Vice President of Human Resources, returning to the foundation after serving as the foundation's first Chief of Staff from 2011 to 2013. Coudal is responsible for talent acquisition, onboarding, retention and employee development and benefits, along with overseeing other organizational operations.

Coudal worked for RISCORP (now Zenith Insurance) and Arthur Andersen before joining the foundation in 2011. Throughout her career in human resources, both on staff and as a consultant, Coudal has woven in other pursuits in visual and culinary arts, including creating a blog of farm-to-fork (or hook-to-fork) recipes and more.

“I am very excited to partner with Nicole once again to advance our terrific foundation team,” Jerde said. “With her 30-plus years as an HR leader, she has incredible expertise, plus her creativity and compassion show up in her work of championing our team.”

The foundation has also promoted three employees into new positions that recognize their excellence in service and harness their expertise to propel the foundation forward.

  • Rina Alvarez has been promoted to Director of Donor and Advisor Engagement, a new position created to empower donors and advisors through fostering meaningful connections to diverse communities and causes. Alvarez joined the foundation as a Philanthropic Advisor in 2021.

After earning a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Alvarez went on to become a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) and a 21/64 Certified Advisor. She has more than 20 years of leadership experience in bridging the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She calls Sarasota her hometown and is passionate about bringing her expertise to this community that she loves.

In the Finance Department, two promotions were announced.

  • Julie Avins was promoted to Controller. She will lead work to maintain security of assets and oversee internal controls. Avins has been with the Foundation more than eight years and most recently served as Director of Accounting.
  • Casey Grisanti has been named Accounting Manager, with responsibilities in financial statement preparation, control systems implementation, and budget review. Grisanti has been a staff accountant at the Foundation since December 2019. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Central Florida.

Along with promotions, the Foundation also empowers its team members through professional development opportunities.

  • Sarah Firstenberger, Manager of Events, has been selected into the 2024 class of Leadership Sarasota, a program of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce designed to engage and develop strong local leaders.

Firstenberger is a Sarasota native who earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Finance from the University of South Florida. She joined the foundation in January 2022.

Jerde said that attracting and developing employees with excellent qualifications and potential is at the heart of the foundation’s mission to serve our community.

Recruiting and retaining talented people with proven expertise in their respective roles is integral to the foundation’s culture and represents a large part of the organization’s Strategic Drivers, which are to engage, lead, impact, and excel.