ProAct has hired a new president, Judie Foster-Lupkin, who will work with CEO Steve Ditschler during a time of transition. Ditschler plans to retire early in 2021, after 20 years of service.

“Judie has the right combination of experience, skills, knowledge, education, and personal leadership style to be very successful with ProAct,” Ditschler said. “I look forward to working with her during a transition period that is proving to be filled with challenges.”

The new president of the disability nonprofit with locations in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin acknowledged the challenges presented by COVID-19. ProAct has modified all of its operations and suspended some to comply with Department of Human Services and Department of Health guidelines. This has resulted in a large drop in income, while fixed costs remain. Foster-Lupkin said she believes in financial transparency, honest discussions and accountability to ProAct’s board of directors.

Ditschler said years of work helped ProAct to lay a stable foundation, and while it has expanded, it has done so carefully, with planning and purpose.

“We’ve been fortunate to be able to assess the potential risks and rewards of the opportunities we’ve been given,” he explained.

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The two said they are refining best practices drawing from their combined experience and past methodologies. She led residential and day service/employment providers, including Winona ORC and nonprofits in Oregon and Missouri.

“As an organization, I am confident that we will successfully deal with the challenges we are facing and thrive in the future,” Ditschler said.

“People are essential to the success of any organization and to the success of the leader,” she said. “They need to be given opportunity for creativity and expansion . . . looking at their position in a career sense rather than as just a job.”

Foster-Lupkin earned her master’s degree in business administration from Walden University in Minneapolis and a bachelor’s degree in that same subject with an emphasis in management from Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

ProAct has headquarters in Eagan and has operations in Red Wing, Shakopee, Zumbrota, MInn., and in Hudson, Wis.