Mobile Arts Council Operations Director Hillary Anaya is leaving Jan. 31 to accept a new job as assistant manager at Candlewood Suites in downtown Mobile. Anaya is the senior employee of the umbrella arts organization and served over a year as interim executive director.

“I start Feb. 6 and it’s sort of a big change. I’ll go from two staff members to 20 but the team over there is great,” Anaya said.

“First of all Hillary’s been a great employee, as you know and this is a great opportunity and I wish her well. Jumping from a non-profit to a hotel is quite a jump. I’m sure she’ll do fine,” MAC Board of Directors President Jeff Marcus said.

This marks a complete change in MAC staff in the last two years. Previous Executive Director Bob Burnett stepped down in January 2015 after more than a dozen years and longtime Associate Director Charlie Smoke fulfilled many of Burnett’s duties until relocating to Pensacola midway through 2015. Anaya the served as interim executive director until her job title reverted back to operations director in the last year.

The move leaves Mobile Arts Council with two current employees, Program Director Lucy Gafford and Program Assistant Kat Stoves. A recent search for an administrative assistant might be halted or changed.

“We’re going to hire another full-time person who will be very good at meeting planning, at financial analysis, that kind of stuff. I won’t call it an operations manager because that’s not our plan to hire an operations manager,” Marcus said.

He alluded to a new strategic plan that will result in a restructuring of the organization. A heightened influx of funding will allow them to search for a new executive director as well.

“We’re going to look within and outside of Mobile. It may or may not be somebody who has experience with non-profits. We’ll turn over every stone until we find somebody who fits the new plan and vision,” Marcus said.

The new full-time hire is expected to be immediate. The upcoming executive director position will be posted. Lagniappe will have more on this story in the Feb. 2 issue.