CHARLOTTE — Time Out Youth CEO Janine K. Eustache resigned her position with the support and advocacy organization for LGBT and questioning youth on June 17.
Her departure came three days after a Q-Notes investigative article revealed serious allegations by ex-interns and youth members suggesting the agency’s leader was uncomfortable working with the LGBT community and uninformed about its issues. There were also concerns that she did not want to be publicly associated with the organization.
Eustache, who is heterosexual, was formerly the southeast regional director of Save the Children, a global child relief organization; an executive at LaFace Records in Atlanta, Ga.; and the executive director of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. Prior to TOY, she had no experience working with LGBT organizations or serving the unique needs of LGBTQ youth.
In the wake of her resignation, Eustache received praised from newly installed TOY Board of Directors Chair Brandon Major, who noted the ex-CEO’s commitment to the agency and the expansion of its services.
In a written statement submitted to Q-Notes, Major said, “Janine Eustache served our organization’s mission and our youth with great dedication. She implemented four new programs expanding the organization’s capacity to serve the needs of the area’s LGBT and questioning youth and secured several new sources of grant funding during her tenure. We’re grateful for the work she did on behalf of our critical mission and wish her the best of luck in her new pursuits.”
Major also revealed that a search committee has already been formed to find TOY’s new CEO. However, he assured that neither the process nor the decision would be rushed.
“The organization is on solid financial ground and with committed staff and board leadership, we can afford the time to be deliberate about the selection of our new CEO,” he said. “An important factor in the search process for a new CEO will be to invite participation from the organization’s key stakeholders.”
Until a new leader is named, Steve Bentley is serving as TOY’s interim head. He is a retired Wachovia executive who is active with the Augustine Project, a literacy initiative focused on low-income students, and the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN). He has served on the board of the United Way of Central Carolinas and is a lay leader at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. He and his partner recently celebrated 21 years together.
“This organization is a vital resource to the LBTGQ youth of our region with a long history of providing invaluable support to young people at those times when it is needed most,” Bentley said. “That work must continue. I am honored to be a part of helping further the mission of Time Out Youth during this transition.”
In his statement, Major seemed to acknowledge the criticism the board received for its lack of openness during the investigation of the allegations against Eustache.
“This transition is an important learning experience for the whole organization,” he said. “We see the continuing dialogue with our stakeholders as a great opportunity to improve and increase Time Out Youth’s effectiveness.”
He added, “We appreciate the outpouring of support from friends and the entire LGBTQ community for Time Out Youth’s mission and are excited about the organization’s future.”