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People Inc. Announces Retirement of James Boles, EdD, as President/CEO; Appoints Current COO Rhonda Frederick as Successor Effective Oct. 1

Jul 17, 2014

Board Follows Long-Term Succession Plan for Smooth Leadership Transition

The Board of Directors of People Inc., Western New York's leading non-profit human services agency, announced today that James M. Boles, EdD, will retire as president and chief executive officer effective October 1, 2014, and will be succeeded by Rhonda Frederick, currently chief operating officer for People Inc.


“We truly want to thank Dr. Boles for his more than three decades of service in building People Inc. into one of the flagship human services agencies not only in Western New York but throughout the country,” said Mary Ann Kedron, PhD, board chairperson, in making the dual announcement.


“As the human services field continues to evolve and change, we are well poised with Rhonda’s experience and demonstrated capabilities to continue our person-centered service as a leader and innovator,” she said.


Dr. Boles assumed the leadership position at People Inc. in 1981 and in 33 years oversaw the growth of the agency from 200 staff members and a $2 million annual budget to one with more than 3,200 staff serving 12,000+ individuals and a budget of $144 million.


He is the founder of the Museum of disABILITY History in Buffalo and was honored for his work there with the Hervey B. Wilbur Preservation Award from the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).  Dr. Boles was also appointed in 2006 by President George W. Bush to serve as an advisory committee member on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID).


Frederick first began working at People Inc. in 1980 as a direct care staff member after receiving her bachelor’s degree in social work from Rochester Institute of Technology. She later earned her master’s degree in public administration from Canisius College and rose through the ranks to become the agency’s chief operating officer in 2002.


Because of the commitment by the board and senior leadership to succession planning, Frederick was able to assume increasing responsibilities as COO to facilitate her eventual transition to the top agency leadership role.  She oversaw 93 percent of the annual budget and almost the entire workforce in that capacity.


Frederick was also responsible for overseeing all residential and day services, service coordination, in-home supports, senior services and health-related services; and administrative oversight of the quality improvement, government relations, program development and legal functions.


She is People Inc.’s lead liaison with regulatory and government funding agencies and serves as president of the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY).


As part of the agency’s succession plan the board looked at various options, as well as the environment, future challenges and the agency’s culture, when choosing a successor to Dr. Boles.


“Because of Dr. Boles’ strategic direction, we anticipate a very seamless transition in our CEO position,” Kedron said. “We will continue in that direction as we strengthen and enhance our services as the largest human services agency in the region with a special focus on quality improvement, staff support and continued expansion into healthcare services.”


After the leadership change becomes effective October 1, Dr. Boles will continue to serve in an advisory capacity and assist in the transition until the end of 2014 before continuing in his education, advocacy and research role supporting the work of the Museum of disABILITY History and producing publications through People Ink Press.


People Inc. is a not-for-profit health and human services agency providing programs and services to more than 12,000 people with special needs, their families, and seniors throughout Western New York. Since 1971, People Inc. has assisted individuals to achieve greater degrees of independence and productivity.