Hope Network Gets CEO

July 31, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — An organization that caters to the special needs of people with disabilities has its own special needs when selecting a leader. As Hope Network, a Grand Rapids-based Christian organization serving the mentally and physically disabled, began its search for a new CEO, it cast a broad net. Nearly 30 qualified candidates from across the country applied for the position; eight were interviewed. In the end, the man who landed the job was from right here in Grand Rapids.

Phil Weaver is currently CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids. On Aug. 7, he will join Hope Network, taking the place of retiring CEO Jim Tuinstra, who has served the organization for 22 years, including six as its leader. Weaver’s direct experience serving the disabled, his professional background and his knowledge of the community were all factors in his selection.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to welcome an executive of Phil Weaver’s stature to Hope Network,” John VanderPloeg, chair of the board of trustees, said in a written statement. “We were looking for a strong leader with experience in nonprofits, particularly working with people who have mental and physical disabilities. Phil has demonstrated a special skill in leading a large organization with strength and a personal sense of responsibility. We believe he is uniquely qualified to lead us in the future.”

His past executive experience includes work with companies such as Ford Motor Co. and Kalamazoo-based surgical components manufacturer Stryker Corp.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity to lead Hope Network. Its mission is to provide opportunities for people with disabilities so they can reach their full potential, and that parallels my own personal goals,” said Weaver. “But I believe what really distinguishes Hope Network from similar programs is that it incorporates faith into the equation, and that resonates deeply with me, because I feel that faith is central to a person’s success.”

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