National Volunteer Fire Council Board Appoints Sarah Lee as Interim CEO

Sarah Lee

During its annual spring meeting on April 23, the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Board of Directors voted to appoint Sarah Lee as chief executive officer. Lee, who had been the deputy chief executive, officially took over as interim CEO on May 14. The position was previously held by NVFC first vice chair Kevin D. Quinn, who stepped in to facilitate the transitional period following the sudden passing of longtime CEO Heather Schafer on March 15.

“Please join me in congratulating Sarah Lee on her appointment as interim CEO of the NVFC,” said Quinn. “There is a saying going around the NVFC of ‘What Would Heather Do?’ I know Sarah will take these words to heart and continue to grow the legacy that Heather left behind. Sarah has been a pivotal part of the NVFC’s management team for over 15 years, and the board and I have every confidence that she will move the organization forward in exciting and productive ways.”

“I appreciate the board entrusting me with this position and look forward to taking on this new role within the organization,” said Lee. “It has been a privilege to work with Heather, the board, staff, and our partners over the past 15 years in service of our nation’s volunteer fire, EMS, and rescue community. The NVFC has come a long way in our 45-year history, but we can’t remain still. We will continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of our members, and I honored to do my part to lead the effort.”

Lee grew up in a fire service family and worked for other nonprofit emergency service organizations before finding her calling at the NVFC in 2005. She came on board as Fire Corps director, but quickly proved to be an invaluable asset to the organization and moved to the position of deputy chief executive in 2006. In this role, she oversaw staff operations, secured federal grants, and managed the NVFC’s award-winning programs. Lee worked closely with Schafer during a period of significant growth and success for the organization.

In addition to her work experience, Lee has a master’s degree in public administration and nonprofit management and is credentialed as a Certified Association Executive through the American Society of Association Executives.

Lee’s appointment will be in effect until the next board meeting in October, at which time an evaluation will occur to make the position permanent.