Crystal Stairs recently appointed Jackie Beaubian Majors as its new chief executive officer, and she brings to the position more than 20 years of professional and instructional experience in early care and education. Previously the agency’s chief program officer (CPO), Majors was selected from a nationwide pool of candidates.
“It was an honor and a privilege that I went through the process, and I am incredibly humbled,” said Majors, who had been aware of the agency for years, even though she spent most of her career in the for-profit arena.
What prompted her interest in the job was the various legacies the agency represented.
” . . . first was coming after Holly Mitchell. I asked her the same question about going into politics, and she said ‘if not me, then who? Somebody has to speak up for the community. Crystal Stairs is legacy organization; an institution founded by two African-American women committed to high level of excellence as a service provider and employer.’”
The agency and its employees also serve as a role model to other young professionals of color, added Majors.
Prior to taking the top post, Majors had worked with Crystal Stairs for 18 months as CPO and is now looking to usher in a new generation of leadership and move the organizations in directions that can help it survive some of the bumps that come with relying primarily on the government for funding.
In her previous job as chief programs officer, she was responsible for the management and oversight of the entire program division, including its Nickerson Gardens SAGE Child Care Center, the Child Care Subsidy, Resource and Referral, and Children’s Health & Wellness programs.
Prior to Crystal Stairs, Majors spent a lot of her professional career working with nonprofits like the Fulfillment Fund in Los Angeles and the Knowledge Learning Corp., a national child-care organization.
“Joining Crystal Stairs as its CPO was an honor,” said Majors. “As a member of the Los Angeles community, Crystal Stairs has always been part of the local lexicon of advocacy-driven community institutions, rich in history and long on excellence. I have been honored to serve as CPO and am deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve this great agency as its next CEO.”
As the new CEO, she will be leading the agency through its recently adopted three-year strategic plan. Majors’ transition comes at a critical time, as cuts in government funding are threatening childcare, health care, and other social programs that make Crystal Stairs one of L.A.’s top advocacy and social service facilities.
Strengthening the 30-year-old nonprofit is one of the key concerns Majors will look at in the coming years. She plans to do this by trying to reduce the agency’s dependence on government funding (about 97 percent of the Crystal Stairs’ budget comes from the government). One approach Majors has begun is expanding its services and developing collaborations.
Another key to remaining stable despite the constant threat of government cutbacks is aggressively advocating for their constituents.
“. . . it didn’t hurt to have Holly Mitchell as a leader. She was right in their faces at the table being heard. Local government needs to be educated on what our needs are; what does the agency need to continue providing funds to the community.”
Major said this proactive approach of telling funders about what is needed, instead of sitting back and waiting for directives has worked well for Crystal Stairs, and she intends to continue that approach.
Another goal is to make sure that the low-income families they serve are educated about the need to get face to face with lawmakers and other officials.
“This is a perfect opportunity for Crystal Stairs,” said outgoing CEO Mitchell. “Jackie has her heart in early care and education, her head in business development and an eye on the future. The agency has chosen a leader who embodies the values of the agency, sees currency in its mission and will exercise an uncompromising commitment to getting the important work done.”