News & Events

Herbert Washington, Herbert K. Washington Jr., Aspire, Center for Enriched Living, CEL, KEES, Executive Search

Center for Enriched Living Selects Herbert K. Washington, Jr. as Chief Executive Officer

Posted On by

Center for Enriched Living (CEL), a privately funded nonprofit organization that provides programs and services for people with developmental disabilities, has proudly announced the appointment of Herb Washington as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Assuming his new role effective November 13, 2023, Washington will help the organization build on its solid foundation and strategically move forward to empower even more members to experience life’s possibilities. Washington will succeed CEL’s current leader Harriet Levy, who is retiring after over 37 remarkable years at CEL, 20 of which she served as CEO.

Bringing over 26 years in the human services sector and 11 years of nonprofit executive leadership experience with an organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), Washington is a highly motivated and results-driven executive. He holds a record of mission delivery accomplishment, strong business acumen, and an entrepreneurial mindset. Washington’s strategic thinking and tactical execution have helped him lead change, pioneer innovative solutions, and achieve success consistently over the years.

“We were seeking a passionate, strategic, and collaborative leader to help our organization grow into the future,” said Sue Bersh, CEL Board of Directors President. “Herb’s dedication to the IDD community and enthusiasm for CEL’s mission make him a perfect fit for the CEO position. We look forward to growing and flourishing with Herb at the helm. On behalf of the Board, we are thrilled to welcome Herb to the CEL community and thank the entire KEES team for their commitment and expertise throughout the succession planning process and transitionary stage.”

In his most recent role as Chief Innovation Officer for Aspire, Washington was responsible for ensuring the strategic growth and sustainability of the Community Employment/Careers program, Virtual Life Coaching, Digital Experiences (DE&I consultation and training), Clinical/Mental Health Services, Quality/Compliance, Intake/Admissions, and two social enterprises. As a member of the Vision Team (Executive Team), Washington worked to establish Aspire’s brand awareness and reputation as a leader in innovation beyond local reach to national and international markets as well as created new private revenue streams. During his tenure with Aspire, Washington has a proven track record of not only moving the needle, but also pioneering new initiatives, improving existing paradigms, inspiring new leaders, and creating dynamic partnerships while keeping a watchful eye on marketplace trends and public policy.

CEL’s mission resonates with me as I have spent my entire career working with and on behalf of people with disabilities,” said Washington. “My energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to the IDD community are sustained by a very real and deep passion for this work. I’m looking forward to advancing CEL’s mission, and I couldn’t be more confident in CEL’s future working side-by-side with their team, the Board, and the entire CEL community throughout this next phase of growth.”

CEL retained KEES, a premier executive search firm specializing in searches for top nonprofit executive roles, as its CEO search partner following Levy’s announcement of her retirement. A comprehensive search was launched, and Washington was ultimately selected by CEL Board Leaders from a passionate, diverse, and talented pool of national finalists. CEL’s search efforts were led by a Search Committee including Board President Sue Bersh (AMLI Residential), Joan Cannon (Tersera Therapeutics), Kim Cysewski (retired from Grainger), Howard Diamond (Rise Interactive), Lane Epstein (Construction Industry Consultant), Mary Greanias (Horizon Therapeutics), and Akash Pathak (Potbelly Sandwich Works).

Herb’s vision, dedication, and passion for serving those with developmental disabilities will undoubtedly guide CEL toward new heights,” said Laura Weinman, KEES Vice President. “It has been an extraordinary opportunity to partner with an amazing CEL search committee team and lead the transition process. We are proud to have continued our relationship as CEL’s search partner and are excited about what the future holds. Congratulations to the entire CEL community on this exciting announcement!


A CQL accredited nonprofit organization, CEL provides outstanding programs and services to teens, adults and seniors with developmental disabilities seven days a week in a state-of-the-art Universal Designed building in Riverwoods, IL.

Supporting hundreds of members annually, CEL members come from a variety of settings – homes, schools and area agencies throughout the Chicagoland area. CEL offers social enrichment; arts; recreation; community-based employment coaching and placement; REACH Adult Day program; Robert Vihon Family Resource Center (counseling, therapies and resources for the IDD community); Catalyst life skills program for greater independence; virtual social/recreational programs; and a teen/young adult summer camp.

For 55 years, CEL has enriched the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities by maximizing their opportunities for personal success, friendship, fun, employment, and community involvement. At CEL, members are empowered to realize their greatest potential, thrive within the community, and achieve their hopes and dreams. For more information, visit


KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams with dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit

As a premier search firm, KEES specializes in executive searches for top executive positions such as Chief Executive Officer, President, and Executive Director roles and has a successful history of placing accomplished nonprofit executives nationwide. This partnership builds upon KEES’ executive search history, commitment, and growth to building meaningful partnerships and relationships with nonprofit organizations serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

# # #


Angela Pasyk,


Jamie Sheffler,