Fourteen months after naming a new executive director, Leadership UA is again seeking new leadership.

Mary Beth Cowardin took over as executive director of Leadership UA in February 2017, succeeding Mary Ellen Hatch, who had led the organization for the previous nine years.

Now, Cowardin is planning to step down from the part-time post to become vice president of marketing and engagement for AmericanHort, a Grandview Heights-based national horticulture industry association.

"It's been a real honor and privilege for me to serve in this role," Cowardin said. "I hope to stay involved in the program in any way I can help Leadership UA further its mission."

Cowardin said the AmericanHort job is a full-time professional opportunity she couldn't pass up.

She said she'll remain as Leadership UA executive director through this program year and will help the transition to a new executive director once one has been named.

"I have enjoyed this role so much and am excited for the program to celebrate its 30th year next year," she said.

Leadership UA seeks to educate and inspire current and emerging leaders to take active and effective roles in the Upper Arlington community.

Established in 1988, it provides programs designed to strengthen leadership skills, broaden understanding of local issues and connect participants with others in the community through adult and youth classes.

Thad Boggs, president of the Leadership UA board of directors, said several people have applied to fill the post. The board planned to interview candidates starting April 27.

"We hope to have somebody in place by the middle of May," Boggs said. "Right now, we intend to choose from the candidates in front of us.

"We want somebody, of course, that appreciates the vitality of the Upper Arlington community, somebody that can build relationships with other civic organizations and businesses in the community."

Boggs said the executive director's salary "reflects that it's a part-time position and reflects this is a nonprofit organization." In the past, he said, it's been between $15,000 and $18,000 per year.

Boggs said the board is grateful for Cowardin's service over the past 14 months.

"I can only say positive things about Mary Beth and her performance in the job," he said. "She's had a great year in terms of recruitment for our adult class as well as our youth program, which was in hiatus and came back this year stronger than ever."

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