Former SOU employee Laura O'Bryon to take charge of Community Works

Community Works has selected a former Southern Oregon University leader to act as its interim director while it searches for a permanent replacement for outgoing director Ginger Lee.

Laura O'Bryon's 17 years of varied experience at SOU include stints as coordinator of the Education & Resource Center, director of training and employer resources, Medford Campus associate director and dean of students.

"We were impressed with her management experience as dean of dtudents at SOU," Stuart Meyer, Community Works board chairman, said in a news release. He added O'Bryon's leadership style was "highly praised" by faculty and staff.

"We're excited to have such a collaborative leader in charge," Meyer said.

Lee announced in July that she was leaving the helm of the nonprofit agency, which provides services for domestic abuse victims and at-risk youths, at the end of August to return to California.

Lee said she was sad to leave her Oregon colleagues but felt Community Works remains in the hands of "a highly capable board and staff."

Meyer praised Lee for providing strong leadership during a very difficult time for the organization. As federal, state and donor funding dried up during the nation's fiscal crisis, Lee made difficult decisions that helped rebalance Community Works' budget, he said.

The agency continues to conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director and will continue to include staff and local leaders as part of the process, Meyer said.

Community Works serves 16,000 people annually with programs addressing homeless, runaway and adjudicated youths; mental health services; and victims of domestic and sexual violence. About 100 employees and more than 100 volunteers work in its three locations: The Main Street office, the Lithia Springs Program in Ashland, and the Dunn House shelter, Lee said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email

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