Just Food's interim executive director set to depart in October; search for leader ongoing

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photo by: Ashley Golledge

The Just Food facility is pictured on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

Just Food’s interim executive director is departing effective Oct. 7, the food bank announced Wednesday morning in a news release.

Brett Salsbury, who has served in the position since Just Food’s last executive director, Elizabeth Keever, left her role in May, will be returning to Las Vegas — Salsbury’s home prior to joining Just Food — to pursue other career opportunities. He’s been with the organization since August of 2019, starting as its administrative assistant.

“It’s been an honor to serve the Douglas County community through my work at Just Food,” Salsbury said in the release. “Collectively, I’ve spent nearly 10 years of my life in Lawrence, so it is bittersweet to announce that I’m making a career shift.”

In the interim, Just Food staff will report directly to the board’s executive committee.

The food bank continues to work toward finding a permanent executive director, according to the release. That, in part, has included establishing an “Executive Director Transition Committee” tasked with leading the effort.

James Walden, the president of Just Food’s board, told the Journal-World Wednesday afternoon that the change would mean more direct and frequent oversight from the executive committee in day-to-day operations over the interim period, but Just Food employees will continue to report directly to their employee directors — the members of the Just Food team who organize food recovery efforts and oversee facilities management, for example.

Walden said that given the timing of Salsbury’s departure, and in an effort to maintain some transparency and “checks and balances,” staff reporting to the whole executive committee felt like a more effective option.

There isn’t a timeline for how long that structure will remain in place.

“In terms of timeframe, we haven’t announced a specific timeline,” Walden said. “Given the significance of the role and the board’s fiduciary responsibility, we’re much more concerned about making the right choice, not a hasty one, so that’s really driving the process right now.”

Walden said that has meant undergoing a very “intentional” and “thorough” process, along with keeping inclusivity in mind. Per the release, Just Food has been soliciting and incorporating input from stakeholders that include staff, partner agencies, partner restaurants, volunteers and local government officials, along with “assessing the organization’s current strengths and opportunities.”

“We’ve opened up the process,” Walden said. “We’ve transitioned the process to one that is an open and competitive selection process, and we’re currently evaluating things. We look forward to making a future announcement.”






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