We are at once delighted and disheartened to announce that Christine Westerlund is retiring. Her last day is December 30. Christine has been a tremendous employee over the 21 years she has been a part of the IACAA network.

Christine’s retirement is our loss, but a well-deserved respite for her. There’s no one better to express her feelings on her retirement than Christine herself. Read her words below. We all wish Christine the very best.


“Looking back on the past twenty plus years as an IACAA staff member, I am filled with gratitude for all of the amazing experiences, opportunities to learn, and witness to the passion that the Illinois Community Action network has to make Illinois a better place for individuals,  families and children that experience poverty.  It has been my privilege to serve, listen to your stories, celebrate your accomplishments, puzzle through strategies and finding that sweet spot of learning, implementation, analysis and results.

I have noticed that people who retire often look forward to finding ways to stay engaged and I fall into that mindset.  So, it should not be a surprise that I will continue as an advocate for Illinois public libraries, serving both as a local Library Board trustee and as a member of the Illinois State Library Advisory Board.  An opportunity to contribute a chapter or two for an upcoming book project is also on the horizon, as well as assisting other public libraries with governance strategies.  Most importantly, of course, is the opportunity to spend more time with my family and visit ALL of those places on my ever evolving and growing list.

My deep thanks to this entire network and share this quote from Meg Wheatley that captures a perspective that perfectly lifts the work of Community Action:

‘There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.’

Each of you are a vital part of that community.”


We also reached out to a few members to collect some stories and memories of working with Christine. Here are a few excerpts.

Leslie Ann Lesko, DCEO

“Christine has always been kind, and professional yet personable.  I have enjoyed many of her various training topics over the years…Enjoy your retirement Christine!  Best wishes always.”

Adrian Angel, CSBG

“Christine and I started right around the same time in these programs, over the years I have valued her insights and perspectives to help in shaping the Statewide vision of CSBG in Illinois.  Her tireless efforts will be greatly missed by the State office and her shoes will be big to fill at IACAA.  Over the years she has grown from a colleague to a dear friend and wish nothing but the best in all her future endeavors.”

Roger Pavey, WIRC

“Christine, I wish we would have had more opportunities to work together over the years. Thank you for hiring me to present at a ROMA gathering in 2018. You gave me the freedom to be myself with that training, allowing me to focus on how we actually implement ROMA…I hope you enjoy your retirement, but not so much that you won’t come back to present some trainings for us.”

Dalitso Sulamoyo, CCRPC

“There are many stories I could share about Christine…when IACAA hosted a “Fun Day” in its training room. The purpose of the fun day was to bring together IACAA, IVCA, DCEO and the member agencies not to just socialize, but to build better working relationships with everyone. We decided to play “The Weakest Link” – we asked Christine if she could play Anne Robinson and host the IACAA/IVCA/DCEO Fun Day. And boy did she nail it!”

While her days in the office are coming to an end, you can bet we will still be seeing Christine from time to time around the Network. Feel free to leave a comment of any memories you’d like to share about a time you worked with Christine. She will be missed!