Founder Jennifer Ables Steps Down; Interim Executive Director Appointed
The Board of Directors and Founder Jennifer Ables are excited to announce the appointment of USMC David Murcio as Interim Executive Director of Soldiers Who Salsa; leading the non-profit into its next chapter of impact.
Assisting Mr. Murcio in the transition from Ms. Ables’ leadership is Kathryn R. Martin, a leadership transition strategist who works with purposed-based non-profits. Ms. Ables will continue to serve the organization she founded and grew over seven years as an honorary board member.
“The Board and I recently met with David and Kathryn to ensure that the legacy we have all helped create continues to not only sustain itself, but to thrive in this next chapter. Although Soldiers Who Salsa has always been veteran-focused, it will now be veteran-led with Mr. Murcio at the helm,” said Ms. Ables. The Board and Ms. Ables are thrilled to support Mr. Murcio in his new role, building on the legacy Ms. Ables has built. Formerly a Camp Pendelton-based Marine, Mr. Murcio was put on active duty four times in seven years, completing a 14-year military career in 2012. Additionally, he has taught and performed salsa for over 20 years.
“When someone believes in our mission, no obstacle is too big to overcome, as David has proven,” Ms. Ables stated. As a Chicago-based SWS coordinator, he quickly launched a new program earlier this year and raised funds to support the local needs of the SWS program.
“The future success of Soldiers Who Salsa is important to me,” Mr. Murcio said. “I am honored to be put in a position where I can serve fellow veterans by not only enriching their lives, but by also saving them. As a wounded combat veteran who has lost 14 Marines in combat -- as well as others post combat due to post traumatic stress. I understand the extreme importance of what Soldiers Who Salsa does. I have been an example of it.”
Soldiers Who Salsa is grateful for the the past and ongoing financial and emotional support of its grassroots culture of providing movement-based therapy to wounded, ill, and injured active duty service personnel and veterans. Because these injuries are both visible and invisible, it requires expertise and diligent care from SWS’s qualified dance instructors and military medical staff.
“If I were to ask the hundreds of veterans to close their eyes and think of who made SWS special for them, no doubt they would say you, their instructor,” Ms. Ables told her staff. SWS instructors enable the miracles both on and off the dance floor to happen for themilitary men and womenwe serve.
What started as a single class in 2010, has grown to 15 weekly classes nationwide, serving active duty military personnel and veterans aged 18 to 81. The programs offered by SWS have transformed the lives of hundreds of veterans and active duty military personnel over the last seven years.
During this transition of leadership, we will be reaching out to our communities, donors and grantors with more frequency to keep them abreast of changes and progress. The Board of Directors, Mr. Murcio, Ms. Martin and Ms. Ables look forward to creating the next chapter of Soldiers Who Salsa.
Ms. Ables said, “I’m excited to cheer on David and the rest of the staff as you all take this next (dance) step together.”