Metro Weekly

Barnett Takes the Helm

SMYAL names acting executive director to permanent spot

The board of directors at the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL) announced Wednesday, Feb. 25, the appointment of Andrew Barnett as the executive director of the organization. Barnett, 25, who took on the new position Feb. 23, has been serving as the organization’s acting executive director since the departure of Tasha Hill, who left SMYAL in May 2008, due to a ”medical condition.” Barnett, a D.C. native, was a volunteer at SMYAL before taking on a part-time position in 2005.

”I actually served for a couple of roles in the operations and communications department,” he says. ”Most recently before taking the acting e.d. [position], I was the director of operations and communications.”

Hill’s departure in May was accompanied by the discontinuation of four grants, which had provided SMYAL with about $130,000. But Barnett says SMYAL is currently ”in a good place.”

”We’ve done a lot of work over the past year to further develop our programs for LGBT youth, and as I take on this new role my priorities are really to further develop our programs.”

Jeffrey Nelson, SMYAL’s executive director of corporate communications, says the organization’s board reviewed about 100 résumés and interviewed ”about a dozen” candidates who were in the running. The process began last October.

”We simply had great candidates,” Nelson says. ”There’s such strong support for SMYAL and goodwill throughout our community.”