After a nationwide search, the Betty Griffin Center Board of Directors promoted the agency’s long-time employee and chief operating officer Kelly Franklin to take over as CEO for the nonprofit agency on Oct. 1.

“With 19 years of experience at the agency and her previous work with survivors of domestic and sexual violence, the board felt she was the best, most capable person to fill this role and lead us into the future,” said Betty Griffin Board Chair Lisa Payne.  “We look forward to working with Kelly in her new leadership role as we continue to bring hope and healing to survivors who need our services.”

Franklin has served as COO at Betty Griffin Center since 2011, where she was responsible for providing leadership to direct service providers and prevention advocates, counselors, outreach family advocates and community educators – and provided oversight to many other agency programs. She served as outreach coordinator for three years prior to that. Franklin originally joined Betty Griffin Center in 2002 as its shelter director, where she served through 2008.

She received her master’s degree in social work from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of North Florida

“As a recent survivor of breast cancer, I know the difference support makes in a person’s healing journey, and I want to thank the St. Johns County community for their support of our agency over the years,” Franklin said. “They have made it possible for the adults and children we serve to move past their shame and fear of being judged, trusting Betty Griffin Center as a safe place where survivors of intimate partner abuse and sexual abuse are believed and supported. As our county continues to grow, we will have greater needs to meet. I humbly ask that they continue to support our services and invest in our mission.”

Franklin takes the helm of the organization upon the retirement of Joyce Mahr, who worked with the agency for 25 years – serving as CEO for the last 13 years.

“For many of us on the board and in the community, Joyce was synonymous with the agency, especially given her dedication and compassion to the cause and mission of the organization,” Payne added. “We will certainly miss her. Joyce was awesome in her role, developing much of the programming we have in place for survivors today, and Kelly is the right person to continue building on this foundation moving forward.”