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National Council For Adoption Announces President and Board Leadership

ALEXANDRIA, VA (May 18, 2022) – National Council For Adoption (NCFA), the nation’s leading adoption organization, is pleased to announce the selection of Ryan Hanlon as President and CEO and several leadership roles on the NCFA board of directors.

Following the retirement of longtime President and CEO Chuck Johnson, a search committee of the board worked with DRG Talent Advisory Group to identify and evaluate candidates. Hanlon’s selection comes after a thorough process that included screening over 400 potential candidates from the adoption and child welfare communities. The board determined Hanlon, who has been serving as Acting President & CEO since November 2021, was the best candidate to lead NCFA into the future.

Hanlon joined NCFA in August 2017 as Vice President of Education, Research, and Constituent Services, overseeing NCFA’s advocacy efforts, professional membership programs, and education initiatives, while also leading several major research projects.

Before joining NCFA, he served as the executive director of an adoption agency, as a foster care caseworker, and with child protective services. He holds a PhD in social work and Masters degrees in nonprofit management and social work.

“The highest duty of a nonprofit board is to ensure that the right person is managing the organization,” said Mike Thorne, who chaired the search committee. “Through this process, we have been searching for a leader to collaborate with the adoption community and drive forward NCFA’s vision and purpose. In Ryan, I’m confident that we have the right person to lead new efforts to better support every member of the adoption community.”

At its April 2022 board meeting, the NCFA Board of Directors also elected a new slate of officers who will support Hanlon in leading the organization. These include:

  • Mike Thorne was elected Chairman of the Board. Thorne is a leader in business and nonprofit enterprises and a frequent trainer, speaker, and writer on leadership and management and has been serving as NCFA’s Chair-Elect since May 2021.
  • Andrea Vavonese, JD was elected as Chair-Elect. Vavonese is a Corporate Director, Division Counsel for Northrop Grumman Corporation and has been serving as NCFA’s Vice Chair since 2015.
  • Lisa Sinclair, JD was re-elected as Vice-Chair. Sinclair is the Vice President of Legal Affairs and Deputy General Counsel at Northeastern University.
  • Jane Castanias, JD was elected as Vice-Chair. Castanias is a former trial attorney who has served in leadership roles for RESOLVE, The Gladney Center for Adoption, and Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. She has chaired NCFA’s Strategic Planning task force since 2018.
  • Kyle Clark, MBA was elected as Treasurer. Clark is the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Florida State University and previously chaired NCFA’s Audit Committee.
  • Kate Trambitskaya, JD, was re-elected as Secretary. Trambitskaya is the CEO of Spence-Chapin Services to Families & Children.

Finally, the NCFA board elected two new members to its ranks. Eric Curtis is the President of Curtis Strategy, an innovative consulting firm that designs breakthrough strategies for future growth, relevance, and sustainability. Dr. Renee Alexander is Associate Dean of Students and Director of Intercultural Programs at Cornell University. As with all of NCFA’s board members, Curtis and Alexander bring with them deep personal connections to adoption alongside their professional experience.

Thanks to the generosity of those who made NCFA’s 40th anniversary celebration successful, Hanlon and the board will pursue several key projects in the coming months, including the next phase of a landmark Profiles in Adoption research study, the largest and most comprehensive study of adoption experiences ever conducted, along with new initiatives in advocacy, ethics, and post-adoption support.


About National Council For Adoption

Founded in 1980, NCFA is a leading authoritative voice for adoption and is passionately committed to the belief that every child, everywhere, deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family. NCFA’s nonprofit work promotes a culture of adoption through education, research, advocacy, and collaboration that aims to serve children, expectant and birth parents, adoptees, adoptive families, and adoption professionals. Learn more at

Kristen Hamilton