Human Options Announces Retirement of Founder Vivian Clecak and Search for New CEO

Posted on August 18th, 2015

Human Options’ board of directors announced this week that founding CEO Vivian Clecak will retire on January 30, 2016 after 34 years of service.  An executive transition task force is set to guide the process and anticipates the CEO search to launch in late summer in order to welcome a new CEO by early winter. Board members have taken a thoughtful and strategic approach to the transition, contracting with the consulting firm, CompassPoint, to assist in the search for a new CEO.


Clecak stated, “Human Options will continue long into the future to provide safety, healing and a way forward to victims of domestic violence, guided by a strong internal leadership team and a supportive Board of Directors.  Together we are working through this important transition to create a powerful new beginning and chapter in our organization.”


As a young social worker in Orange County in the early 80’s, Clecak was stunned by the stories she heard from women being abused in their own homes. Determined to make a difference, she co-founded Human Options in 1981 with Carolyn Churm, Margaret Thoreau and Anne Wright.


From its earliest days, Human Options was a pioneer in effectively responding to domestic violence issues. In 1984, Human Options became the first organization in Orange County to provide prevention programs to high school students and the first to open a transitional housing program for families in 1993. In 1996, Human Options built the first emergency shelter in California specifically designed to house women and children escaping abuse through an unprecedented public-private partnership. Human Options is continually expanding to new cities and establishing partnerships with diverse agencies.


More recently, Human Options was chosen as the lead for a new partnership at HOAG Hospital – the first collaboration of its kind in ten years – increasing services to at-risk families at HOAG’s new Center for Healthy Living facility in Costa Mesa.


Funded by the Orange County Women’s Health Project, Human Options is leading the effort on behalf of all Orange County domestic violence organizations and UCI to develop a domestic violence screening curriculum for healthcare providers.


Human Options board president Nancy W. Dahan explains, “Viewing domestic violence as a public health issue, we have developed new strategies that effectively respond to the complex needs of the community. We have an extraordinary leadership team in place, a committed board and an extremely supportive community; we are well-positioned to embark in the next exciting chapter of Human Options. Vivian has led the organization through an incredibly journey of growth and her legacy will live on in every life that has or will be changed because of her vision.”


Clecak’s career will be celebrated at the Human Options annual Serious Fun Gala, on May 14, 2016, where Clecak will be presented with the DOVE award. For more information about Human Options, please contact Nora Caldwell at 949-737-5242 ext. 211 or


About Human Options:

The mission of Human Options is to provide safe haven and life changing programs to help abused women, their children and families rebuild their lives, while working with the community to break the cycle of domestic violence.  Human Options provides a full continuum of services to stop the violence – from prevention and early intervention programs to emergency shelter and long-term transitional housing.


For further information about Human Options or the CEO transition, call 949.737.5242 ext. 211 or visit

Barbara Kimler

Human Options Publicity

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