Bob Rosinsky can still remember his first day at Goodwill Industries.
Half a century ago, a then 25-year-old Rosinsky walked into Goodwill in Milwaukee for the first day of what he thought would be a six-month stint. That all changed within a matter of weeks.
As he came to work every day and got up close and personal with Goodwill as an organization, Rosinsky realized he liked what he saw. He started to look into the nonprofit's history and learned about its philosophy of giving people "a hand up, not a handout," as one of its taglines said. Rosinsky said he found it fulfilling to help people out in this way — it was certainly more interesting to him than the therapy and experimental psychology he'd been doing as he pursued a doctorate degree.
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Who will be the new Goodwill Manasota CEO?
On June 30, after a 50-year career at Goodwill, including 31 in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, Rosinsky will retire. He will hand over the Goodwill Manasota CEO reigns to company president Donn Githens, who was selected last year as his successor by the organization's board of directors.
"Most people who retire have more fun. My fun quotient will go up, but not by that much, because of how much I've enjoyed working here," Rosinsky said.
Rosinsky has been president and CEO of Goodwill Manasota since 2013. Under his leadership, Goodwill Manasota has fundraised for and developed a new corporate campus in Bradenton. He also worked with former CEO Don Roberts on moving to self-funded services at Manasota, oversaw the creation of the GoodPartner Coach program, which offers case management and mentoring for all employees, assisted in creating free Job Connection services throughout this area, and launched the American Veterans and Their Families program.
In retirement, he plans to go scuba diving, boating, fishing and hiking, play tennis, go to cooking classes, and travel. But he also won't be leaving Goodwill completely. He plans to work with a local production company to tell the stories of the organization's mission and services through film, and he wants to work on addressing homelessness in the area.
Donn Githens has been with Goodwill since 2006
Githens has been with Goodwill since 2006. He was recruited from a Blockbuster franchise and decided to leave because he saw the writing on the wall in the home video business.
For the next few years, he worked for Goodwill in Georgia, first at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers before moving into the Atlanta market three and a half years later. Then, at a company senior leadership conference, he met someone who worked for Goodwill Manasota. The colleague arranged a dinner for Githens and Rosinsky, they hit it off, and 90 days later, Githens and his family had relocated to the Sarasota area. It worked out great, he said, because his wife is from Bradenton, and her mother and stepfather had a house in the area.
Githens' first title at Goodwill Manasota was director of logistics and donor services. He was promoted to vice president of operations in 2015, and over the years took on more responsibility, including overseeing marketing and communications, real estate, facility maintenance, property management, and training activities in support of other Goodwill groups across the country.
As his tenure as CEO begins, Githens said he's aware of the many challenges ahead. Rising inflation and skyrocketing rent prices have left many Goodwill team members in tough spots, he said. Those challenges can be addressed through partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, like Turning Points, a Bradenton nonprofit serving those experiencing homelessness.
"We’re not all things to all people, but we are a resource people can come to for employment, job skills training, and job search support," Githens said. "If you need food, we can connect you with a food bank. If you need housing, we can connect you with Turning Points to get you an ID if you need it and get you clean clothes. We've had collaborations with other nonprofits, and I really look forward to doing more of that in the future."
Over the past year, Rosinsky and Githens have worked together on the transition. A lot of that has been teaching Githens the difference between a staff role and the role of a CEO, getting him in front of the board, and letting him figure out things on his own. It's kind of like watching your kid grow up, Rosinsky said. He cleaned out his office in March and Githens moved in.
Rosinsky said he's proud of his half-century at Goodwill. On that first day 50 years ago in Milwaukee, he never visualized what his retirement day would be like, he said. But it's almost here.
"I tell people all the time, for 50 years I've gotten up every morning and I've wanted to come to work. I have loved my job — somedays you love it a little less than others, there certainly are challenging times too — but I never felt like the challenges would be overwhelming," he said. "I'm very very proud of the work that this board, this staff, and this community has done to grow this Goodwill."
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This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Goodwill Manasota CEO retiring, VP of operations taking over