The Long Beach Public Library Foundation announced its interim executive director, and she’s a known social innovation guru who has counted Dr. Phil and Prince William and Kate Middleton as clients, among others.
Katharine Azar has been hired to take the place of longtime director Sara Myers, who stepped down from the position in mid-November to take on a role as the new president and CEO of the Volunteer Center South Bay-Harbor-Long Beach.
The Long Beach Public Library Foundation raises funds to supplement youth programs, purchase books and materials and oversees 12 neighborhood learning centers, according to their website. Some of their funding comes from JetBlue’s violation of the airport’s noise ordinance. For each violation beyond the sixth violation each quarter, the airline is required to donate $6,000 to the foundation.
While Azar takes the reigns at the foundation, the foundation will continue its nationwide search for a new, permanent executive director.
As the founder and CEO of the Irvine-based Social Good Strategies, LLC, Azar has spent the past nine years working for a roster of high-profile clients in social innovation, including Maria Shriver, Lyn and Norman Lear, the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge, Dr. Phil and more.
“In my years of social impact work, I have seen the critical role that literacy and education play in a community’s success,” said Azar in a statement. “I spent many years living in Long Beach and grew to love the city and its residents, so I am thrilled to be a part of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation’s important mission of providing support to enhance the Long Beach Public Library and encouraging literacy and education for all members of the Long Beach community.”
While Azar is connected to Long Beach life, she currently lives in Orange County, and as such, was recently nominated for the Orange County Women in Business Award, according to the foundation.
Not satisfied yet? Azar is also the co-founder of The Olive Tree Initiative, which seeks to engage foreign policy leaders across the globe, according to the website. It focuses specifically on conflict analysis and resolution, using experiential education to better equip students and communities with solving conflicts.
“The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is very excited to welcome Mrs. Azar into the organization and looks forward to her helping to move the Foundation forward as it continues its nationwide search for a full-time, permanent Executive Director,” a release from the foundation stated.
Azar’s education credentials include a bachelor’s in International Studies from UC Irvine and a master’s in Public Diplomacy from the University of Southern California (USC).
Above, left: Kate Azar. Photo courtesy of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation.