Julie Swanson, LFSVA’s CEO since 2005, will retire next spring, she announced in meetings and conference calls with agency managers and supervisors this week.

“This was a big decision — one my husband and I have mulled over for several years,” Swanson said. “It was incredibly hard for me to decide to retire. I made the decision on 2018 not because I am tired, or because I don’t have great joy each day when I am at work. I made it because of my family — both those who are now here in Virginia and those in other states.

“At some point, you realize that you aren’t seeing your brothers and sisters, friends and your children nearly as much as you want to,” she said. “You also realize that some of these important individuals will not be here for many more years.”

LFSVA’s Board of Directors will select Swanson’s successor, so this week’s announcement allows time for a full search, hiring and transition process.

In the meantime, Swanson said, nothing in the way she runs LFSVA will change.

“The truth is, I am as fired up about working here today as I have been in the past,” she said. “I really don’t have a date I must be done by. I am not going to another job, and I will be leading LFSVA with the same passion and commitment that I have had for the past 12 years.”

Still, Swanson’s announcement was a moment for reflection.

“I am extremely grateful for and proud of this agency’s management and leadership teams and our nearly 450 employees, and I mean each of you! It is just so gratifying to have you in your roles doing such hard work and, most importantly, caring so deeply about delivering our mission to people,” Swanson said.

“You are amazing, and I feel such depth of appreciation for you. I know the mission of this agency is in your very good hands.”