On Tuesday, June 30, Christa Gannon will step down as FLY’s CEO after 20 years, and pass the helm to FLY’s COO, Ali Knight. She wrote a letter to our FLY community about how she views this historic transition at FLY. 

Dear FLY Family,

As we previously announced, next week is a very important one for FLY. On June 30th at 4:00 p.m. we’ll hold our virtual CEO transition ceremony when Ali Knight will take over as FLY’s President and CEO, and I will move into an official Founder role. Both Ali and I are excited to begin this new era at FLY.

We couldn’t ask for a better CEO for FLY than Ali, and I couldn’t ask for a better partner in my new capacity as Founder. For nearly six years Ali has served as FLY’s COO, and he stepped up to be the Acting CEO of FLY during my sabbatical in the spring of 2019. Over the years we partnered together to successfully expand FLY into Alameda County, grow the agency by nearly 80%, and launch a new strategic plan, “Imagine 2030,” which provides a clear road map for FLY’s future.

Prior to joining FLY, Ali served as the Chief Program Officer at Youth Uprising in Oakland and at Groundwork Inc. in New York City. He has also had key leadership roles at numerous other criminal policy, direct service, and justice-focused organizations. Ali’s experience and passion for justice, equity, service, and system reform are exactly what FLY and our country needs at this critical juncture in our history.

With Ali at the helm, I’ll help advance FLY in meaningful ways behind the scenes in my Founder role. That will include being an advocate and ambassador for FLY, helping with our fundraising and investor relations, and working on special projects that are part of Imagine 2030. I so look forward to continuing my journey of service at FLY in these new and exciting ways.

Most of you know the story of FLY’s founding based on the ideas of the youth of Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall’s B-1 Unit. I believe wholeheartedly that they would be immensely proud of how we have deeply listened to their ideas and hopes and made them a reality over the past 20 years.

Together, we have built a strong, vibrant, effective, and beloved organization that is ready for this moment in time. I know that FLY will continue to thrive and that we will magnify our impact through Ali’s leadership and partnership with you.

To the young men of B-1 and to all of the youth, staff, volunteers, board members, investors, and community members who said “Yes” to FLY and joined me along the way: I’m so grateful to you for teaching me, inspiring me, and helping me become a better human, leader, and fellow crusader for justice.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime!

Christa