New chapter turns for Advocate Safehouse Project as Julie Olson announces retirement

Advocate Safehouse Project Executive Director Julie Olson, who is retiring.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

For the majority of the time Advocate Safehouse Project has been an organization in the Roaring Fork Valley, Julie Olson has been part of it. 

This fall, both Olson and ASP will be starting a new chapter as Olson steps down from being the executive director in order to retire. 

“It’s time, and I’m excited for the new step,” she said. “I feel strongly it is a good time to pass the reins to the next leader.” 

Although it has been a hard and bittersweet decision to leave something she said almost considers to be her baby, she thinks it is a good time for her and the organization and she is excited to see someone else take over.

The program, financial status and staff are in good shape, making this a good time to assure a smooth transition, but she will definitely miss her team.

Olson will not be gone immediately, as she will continue working throughout the transition and she plans to continue to do some work for the organization after her retirement, though she will be moving out of the area to live closer to family.

She said that she and her husband haven’t lived close to family in more than 35 years, and she is excited to be within 20 minutes of her sister and other family members. 

At this point, it sounds like she will act as a consultant after her retirement wherever she might be needed, and she will be coming to visit as often as she can. 

“I’m going to be leaving the area, but working remotely and coming back periodically,” she said. “It’s my home and it’s my community too.”

With a wealth of institutional knowledge, she has no problem sharing that knowledge, consulting for them and more, she said. 

“The real heart and soul is the community, we have a great staff, a great board and a great community,” she said. 

Olson has worked tirelessly to ensure that survivors of interpersonal violence and/or sexual violence in Garfield County have had access to the resources and support they need, a news release announcing her departure states.

“Her contributions have been invaluable,” the release states.

Olson said they haven’t decided on a replacement, nor have they started the search, but she thinks there are some really strong potential candidates.

The Board of Directors will soon begin the search for a new executive director to lead ASP

Her job has a lot to do with the relationship built in the community, the relationships with staff, survivors, donors, funders, the community as a whole. Keeping those strong relationships will be a big factor in keeping the strength of the decades-old nonprofit. 

“We, as the Board of Directors, would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to Julie for her leadership in making Advocate Safehouse Project the incredible organization it is today,” the release states. “While we will miss her leadership, we are proud to support her in her next chapter.”

The Board of Directors will soon begin the search for a new executive director to lead ASP.