August 14, 2019

Chuck Howard Tapped as IOA's Inaugural Executive Director

In an announcement last night, the International Ombudsman Association Board announced that Charles Howard will become the inaugural Executive Director starting next month. He is expected to be, "the public champion and representative for the IOA, its members, and the organizational ombudsman profession." This is a momentous development. An attorney by profession, Howard has been the leading advocate for Organizational Ombuds for decades and authored the definitive legal treatise. 
Here's the press release from IOA:

IOA Announces Inaugural Executive Director
Charles Howard joins IOA as Executive Director, supporting the advancement of the organizational ombuds as an invaluable strategic resource for the corporate, government, non-profit, and educational sectors.

Seattle, WA (13 August 2019) – The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) today announced Charles (Chuck) L. Howard will serve as the organization’s Executive Director to serve as the public champion and representative for IOA, its members, and the organizational ombuds profession. The selection of an executive director concludes IOA’s organizational transition to a hybrid management model after partnering in January with SBI Association Management to manage its operations.

As the IOA Executive Director (ED), Howard will be primarily responsible for carrying out the strategic plan and policies as established by the IOA Board of Directors, and will be tasked with building relationships and networks as well as working across all representative sectors to promote and further the strategic goals of the organization.

Marcia Martínez-Helfman, current IOA President, said, “We are thrilled to have landed as our inaugural executive director the person who literally wrote the book that captures the foundations for the organizational ombuds profession today. Chuck is no stranger to our membership, and we know he will jump into his role with lots of energy and enthusiasm for taking IOA to greater heights.”

Howard has been an advocate and spokesperson for the organizational ombuds profession for more than 30 years, and authored the seminal work, The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles, and Operations - A Legal Guide. Howard was a partner of the law firm Shipman & Goodwin from 1984 through 2018 before becoming “Of Counsel” on 1 January 2019. He maintained a national practice in representing organizational ombuds at universities, multinational corporations, and other organizations. He will officially begin his work as IOA Executive Director 1 September 2019.

“As a strong supporter of the role of organizational ombuds for now almost 30 years, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with IOA as its first Executive Director. I am looking forward to working closely with the IOA Board of Directors and membership to continue to promote and strengthen this important role, which I believe should be included in every significant organization. I cannot imagine anything else I would rather do,” said Howard of his new role.
(IOA Press Release.)

A few Chuck Howard posts: ABA Publishes First Book About Organizational OmbudsBP Never Had the Ombuds Office It Should HaveAudit Standards Should Prompt More Knowledge of OmbudsReview of Chuck Howard's Book at CorpGov.netThe Broader View of Ombuds in Public Schools.

Related IOA posts: IOA Board Elects 2018 OfficersInternational Ombudsman Association Selects New Management Company for 2019; IOA Announces New Board Members for 2019After a Rocky Year, IOA Announces Search for Executive DirectorContinuity Marks IOA's Leadership Team for 2019; IOA Releases Video to Promote Ombuds Profession.


  1. Exciting times for IOA as we now have a dedicated voice for our profession, IOA and membership!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS to both Chuck and the IOA! Chuck's well-established track record of leadership and service to the ombuds community is an excellent complement to the IOA's developing strategic focus.

  3. Hooray! The Association has needed a strong executive to direct the energies of the Board and members. Chuck has been a tireless advocate for the ombuds, this is a wonderful choice for the IOA.

  4. David Talbot8/16/2019 5:07 AM

    Congratulations to Chuck! No one has been a better advocate and resource for IOA and the profession.

  5. I am so happy that Chuck will be helping to build on IOA's momentum! This is a great step forward.

  6. I am really excited about this, as everything I have ever heard about Chuck makes it seem as though he will be an exceptional ambassador for IOA and inaugural executive director.

    One request for IOA as we move into this new era: please remember that many in IOA (or soon to be in IOA) *don't* know anything about Chuck. I have personally experienced a tendency (at conferences in particular) to use shorthand to refer to individual people or times in IOA's history that make it seem as though everyone is assumed to know who these folks are and why people keep talking about them. It's not particularly welcoming or inclusive, and I think we'll do better if we take the time to make sure we provide context for references like that (and make sure they're adding value to begin with) instead of assuming we all have the same knowledge and experience base.

  7. Gecole Harley8/19/2019 1:24 PM

    Wonderful! Chuck's leadership will add energy, direction, clout to the organization.