Tara Lisa Perry is the chief executive officer for the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children whose national network has grown to include 939 programs in 49 states and the District of Columbia.
Since becoming CEO in 2016, Perry has guided National CASA/GAL in its execution of a strategic framework focused on organizational efficacy and stability, and reaching the goal of having a CASA/GAL volunteer for every child that needs one. The framework emphasizes excellence in governance, strong partnerships and collaboration with state organizations, excellence in service and support to local programs, financial sustainability, quality technical assistance and training, and a robust research and evaluation agenda.
Under Perry’s leadership, National CASA/GAL restructured its service delivery model, launched a state development initiative ensuring a high functioning state organization in every state and resulting in the opening of 14 state organizations, revised its pre-service curriculum, developed new standards for local programs and state organizations, launched a national marketing campaign Change a Child’s Story™, established new criteria for association membership, redesigned and implemented the system for assessment of programs’ quality, and launched a new initiative designed to better prepare older youth for success in life after foster care. Through these efforts the organization has experienced a 40 percent increase in funding since 2016, increased the number of advocates to 97,900 and grown the number of children served at 242,000 in 2021.
Perry’s 30-year career spans the non- and for-profit sectors, encompassing the arts, emergency management and assistance, health care, transportation, retail, and professional sports. Throughout her career, Perry has led and been at the forefront of large-scale change initiatives, major capital campaigns, substantive national project rollouts, and the development of innovative programs.
Perry joined the National CASA/GAL Association for Children in 2013, as its chief strategy officer and then served as deputy CEO and chief operating officer, and interim CEO. Prior to joining National CASA/GAL, Perry served as vice president of strategy and operations for the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, the nation’s third-largest arts center.
Perry has been recognized for her business and community leadership with a number of honors and accolades, including one of Atlanta’s top 10 female executives by Business-to-Business Magazine, and Puget Sound Business Journal’s 2019 Women of Influence. She is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and a member of the International Women’s Forum.
Perry was a Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, a former member of the Baldridge Board of Examiners, and currently serves as a Leap Ambassador, which is a private community of nonprofit thought leaders, leader practitioners, forward-looking funders, policymakers, and instigators who believe that mission and performance are inextricably linked.
She holds an MBA from Mercer University and a BA in marketing and public relations from Clark Atlanta University.