Tina Campbell has held several leadership roles at Lancaster nonprofit ASSETS.
Her most recent role had her paired with Jonathan Coleman as co-executive director of the agency.
But with Coleman’s resignation in October — he’s moving out of state — Campbell became the agency’s sole CEO.
“This opportunity excites me because we have a really strong team of very dedicated people who are experts at what they do,” Campbell, 43, said.
ASSETS works to transform communities through entrepreneurship, social change and economic development.
“We are a nonprofit, but work almost fully with for-profit companies focusing on building an inclusive business environment in Lancaster with programs for people who are starting up a business and micro lending programs for established businesses who are trying to improve their footprint,” Campbell said.
“I would encourage everyone to use our business directory to intentionally buy local this year — helping small businesses in our community in the best possible way,” she said.
A Lancaster city resident, Campbell has been an outspoken supporter of collaboration. Since taking on the CEO role, she has been focusing on making sure that ASSETS’ organizational structure is where it needs to be and that the needs of the community are met.
During the early stages of the pandemic, for example, when the Lancaster City Small Business Emergency Fund offered assistance in the form of low-interest loans or grants to city businesses, ASSETS made available $200,000 of loan capital to the new fund.
“It’s all about development work and community partnership,” she said. “Just making sure we remain strong in collaboration and cooperation with other organizations. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel but we need to keep connected to our community partners. You’ve got to be able to maintain a strong network.”
Campbell said there are many local organizations doing great work.
“But we really feel there needs to be inclusive entrepreneurship and businesses that focus on the good of the community, not just being stakeholders,” she said.
What sustains and motivates her, she said, is her faith and her commitment to justice for all.
“This job has brought all my worlds together and I’m just excited to lead the work. It’s intimidating, for sure, and if I wouldn’t admit to that, I wouldn’t be honest,” she said.
Looking back at the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Campbell spoke about how her staff handled transitioning to remote work.
“We spent most of our time just trying to talk with our clients to see what they needed … which was really hard,” she said. “It was incredibly hard for all of our staff to hear the heartbreak and struggle from our clients day after day and hour after hour. Our entire team felt the burden.”
Like much of the nonprofit sector, ASSETS has to find ways to ensure their long-term survival to avoid financial jeopardy just when their services are needed most. The question remains: will the organization get a lifeline to continue to rescue start-up as well as established businesses?
“We are a nonprofit so we need to raise money. We don’t know what the current economic conditions will mean for us in terms of future giving,” she said. “But I know ASSETS has strong innovators ready and able to make shifts as needed. That will help us go far.”