News

Filoli executive director is no longer with organization

Abrubt departure of Cynthia D'Agosta announced Wednesday afternoon

Cynthia D'Agosta, Filoli's executive director through the recent upheaval in volunteer ranks that saw hundreds leave their unpaid jobs at the historic estate rather than sign a controversial volunteer agreement, is no longer working for Filoli, volunteers learned on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 11, via an email.

The email from Filoli's governing board executive committee does not explain the departure, nor say if it was voluntary, but simply states: "Cynthia D'Agosta is no longer with Filoli."

The email says that Carolyn Daley, who heads the governing board's finance committee "will oversee Cynthia's direct reports" until an interim executive director is named.

The email says Filoli plans to "immediately retain" an interim executive director from a professional agency, and then search for a permanent replacement.

"During this transition period the Governing Board Executive Committee will provide continuing oversight of all Filoli operations and ongoing projects," the email reads.

Filoli closed to the public on Oct. 24 for its regular winter break, but will, in a little over two weeks, begin its annual Holiday Traditions program, which is a major fundraiser for the organization.

To read the rest of the story, visit Almanac News.

Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Zac
a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 12, 2015 at 10:19 am

What lovely news. It will be nice to return to Filoli for the holiday season. I hope they have a great big party welcoming back the hundreds of volunteers Ms. D'Agosta felt were disposable.


20 people like this
Posted by Gail
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 12, 2015 at 12:39 pm

Great news. Hopefully the new director will fire the dreadful caterer that D'Agnosta hired to run the cafe. The cafe used to be such a lovely place to have lunch, tea and dessert. The food is awful and the kitchen is dirty under this newish management. I have high hopes that whomever Filoli hires as the new director will appreciate the hard working volunteers and bring elegance and class back to Filoli. Thank you.


7 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2015 at 12:42 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

I've visited Filoli twice with my husband. It is an amazing place! I hope that the place can maintain the wonderful serenity that it has enjoyed over the last few years.


7 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Bye Felicia!


7 people like this
Posted by Peggy Murphy
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 12, 2015 at 3:13 pm

I, too, much preferred the lunch provided by the volunteers. I don't care for the caterers that were hired--don't like the food.


24 people like this
Posted by former volunteer
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2015 at 4:50 pm

While the removal of this particular Executive Director is a step in the right direction, it must be remembered that the people on the Governing Board who selected her and defended her actions are still there and in control. In addition, many are the same people who selected her predecessor, an equally unfortunate choice. The fiasco that happened earlier this year which forced so many volunteers to resign was not entirely the Executive Director's fault. The Governing Board, in approving and supporting her actions, had a part to play. There needs to be a change on the Board as well because the thinking that led to the selection of the last two Executive Directors has not changed. The Board leadership needs to be held accountable. They are equally as culpable.


19 people like this
Posted by volunteer - II
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2015 at 5:55 pm

This is not a surprise to anyone; it was an expensive 'mistake' to hire (again) someone who was not a good 'fit', who systematically reduced a superior level of performance and service through sheer ignorance and incompetence. And she was vetted by the same people who brought in the previous 'poor-fit' Directors. All of those people who 'vetted' and supported Cynthia -- and WERE AWARE of her deficiencies -- and how she alienated pretty much everyone (staff and volunteers) should remove themselves posthaste. The dedicated and talented staff deserve better, Filoli volunteers (past and present) deserve better, the legacy of Filoli, the Roth family and the Bourn family -- all deserve better!


7 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 12, 2015 at 7:59 pm

I'm friends with one of the volunteers who was very involved with organizing various events for the public for a number of years and found Ms. D'Agusto rigid and extremely difficult to work with. After a couple of years my friend resigned because of Ms. D'Agusto, as did many other long time valuable volunteers, quite separately from the fiasco with the new volunteer contract. Volunteers who had the resources to donate generously and left feeling quite turned off by not only Ms. D'Augusto but also by the way the board dealt, or failed to deal, with the problems created by Ms. D'Agusto.


10 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 12, 2015 at 8:00 pm

I'm friends with one of the volunteers who was very involved with organizing various events for the public for a number of years and found Ms. D'Agusto rigid and extremely difficult to work with. After a couple of years my friend resigned because of Ms. D'Agusto, as did many other long time valuable volunteers, quite separately from the fiasco with the new volunteer contract. Volunteers who had the resources to donate generously and left feeling quite turned off by not only Ms. D'Augusto but also by the way the board dealt, or failed to deal, with the problems created by Ms. D'Agusto.


13 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2015 at 10:24 pm

This is the same story that has happened countless times before in any charitable organization.

The most valuable assets any charity has are ITS PEOPLE. And when most of the daily operations workload is carried by volunteers, you need to treat those people as STAFF.

Filoli didn't have a funding crisis, it had a leadership crisis.

This one is on the Governing Board. YOU CHOSE POORLY.


9 people like this
Posted by CH
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2015 at 11:13 am

Having 18 years of not for profit management experience and being a 20 yr Filoli member and 6 yr volunteer in many areas, I would like to suggest the following considerations for all interested parties:
1) Filoli has a very unique and complicated structure – two boards-one fiduciary volunteer and the other program volunteer along with oversight of the national trust for historic preservation. All of these entities feel a strong sense of involvement and wish to have decision power. Add to that around 1000 volunteers or more, all of whom have major investment in the organization, and you have a management structure that make even the most experienced executive director's head spin. All of this needs to be carefully explained to the consultant that is being sought at this time as well as every prospective candidate or sadly yet another failure is sure to happen. And all of this during a recently launched centennial program which is so important to succeed;
2) on another very important topic, it will be impossible for the organization to thrive financially without a highly professional and experienced director of development-- a position that's been unbelievably vacant for over a year!
i could continue to consider and write more, but I want to keep my remarks to the most important and relevant. Filoli is a treasure and I am very hopeful for its future thriving, especially if we heed the constructive advice I and others are providing.


2 people like this
Posted by SC
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jan 23, 2016 at 10:31 pm

I am a volunteer

You must remember, you are volunteers, no more no less-There are many volunteers who love what they do. They come to the property to relax or just walk the beautiful grounds and then we have the trouble makers with nothing better to do than complain and repeat every conversation they here..

Mrs. Deangelo was running a business, you ladies & gents are just bizzy bodies. And for the idiot that said volunteers should be treated as employees.
1. If some volunteers were employees they would be terminated but, you probably know this with all your wisdom of playing the blame game, legally per the state, volunteers cannot be treated as employees or staff.....
2. As far as the café, It must have been nice to burn through the wallet of the property because that outlet which you say was so peaceful was a money pit. The Volunteers had no idea of what it took to run a food & beverage outlet like this one.

3. As far as the food that was so wonderful, that's a completely different story-The past season, The premade sandwiches, quiche and other foods were ordered the day before from an outside deli in Redwood City. Ridiculous ladies)

4. For Peggy Murphy, Gail & Jane, ignorance at that age is a terrible thing...

To think one person (the director) drew up this new contract.. You must be kidding,, That volunteer contract was brought to the table by the governing board for demand that she execute. (the fiasco is still in house)

And really, My Friend told me she was Rigid (mind your business)

Cynthia D'Agosta was one of the best things that could have happened to this property.. Shake off the laziness people...


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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