Special Olympics Southern California Announces New President & CEO

LONG BEACH, Calif., Sept. 21, 2020 — The Board of Directors of Special Olympics Southern California announces the appointment of Calvin Lyons as the new President & CEO of Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) effective September 28, 2020.

Lyons joins SOSC from the Boys & Girls Clubs, where he served as the President and CEO of the Metro Los Angeles Clubs for the past four years and prior, in the same position for the Clubs in King County, Washington.

A passionate advocate for those in his care, Lyons built strong partnerships with school districts, elected officials, community organizations, and donors to secure the necessary support and funding to increase the reach and impact of the Clubs in the neighborhoods they served. During his tenure with the Boys & Girls Clubs, Lyons was responsible for building and implementing long-term strategic plans, leading hundreds of employees, operating robust sports programming, and managing budgets in excess of $20 million. Most recently, Lyons guided the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles through the COVID-19-related transition to a digital format for its after-school programming with an unwavering focus on the organization’s mission to enable young people to reach their full potential.

“We are extremely fortunate to welcome a proven leader like Calvin to SOSC, not just because of his expertise in long-term strategic planning and leading organizations through change, but also because he is a true servant leader with a personal passion for our mission,” said SOSC Board of Directors Chair Kelly Johnson. “We look forward to giving Calvin our full Board support as he ensures our athletes, Unified partners, and families have a strong advocate and champion and as he leads SOSC through these challenging times and into the next phase of our history.”

Prior to his time at the Boys & Girls Clubs, Lyons held executive positions with non-profits Talaris Institute and Rainier Scholars in Seattle. Earlier in his career, Lyons led diversity recruiting with a leadership role in employee relations for Washington Mutual; directed business development in Los Angeles and Orange County for INROADS, Los Angeles, Inc.; served as Executive Director for INROADS, Puget Sound, Inc.; and managed human resources and marketing for The Boeing Company.

“As a parent of a child with an intellectual disability, I believe wholeheartedly in the power of Special Olympics and its mission to help our athletes reach their full potential, develop their physical fitness and health, and use the skills and confidence gained through sports to become even more empowered and respected individuals,” said Lyons. “Special Olympics is such a unique organization because our athletes are welcomed for life, and I look forward to joining the team to build even greater awareness and inclusion in our communities.”

Lyons received his Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and his Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He also completed the Executive Leadership Program at Seattle University. Lyons enjoys spending time with family, following nearly every sport, and playing chess on the many boards he has collected from around the world.

Lyons succeeds SOSC President & CEO Bill Shumard, who announced his plans for retirement last November after guiding the organization through 15 years of phenomenal growth. Shumard remains committed to supporting Lyons and the organization and will continue to be involved on a part-time basis as President Emeritus through 2022.

This has been the best job I’ve ever had…and I’ve had some really good ones,” said Shumard. “I’m sure Calvin will feel the same way and share my lifelong passion for excellence in serving our great athletes, and I look forward to supporting him as he guides us into the future.”

Under Shumard’s leadership, SOSC achieved unprecedented growth in its athlete base, expanding from 8,000 to serve 38,200 athletes, while simultaneously earning SOSC the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“We will be forever indebted to Bill for the compassion, dedication, and leadership he has brought to SOSC,” said Johnson.

For more information and photos and to schedule an interview, please contact Brian Szczerbinski at 562.686.5997 or brian@sosc.org.

 About Special Olympics Southern California

Special Olympics Southern California enriches the lives of 38,200 athletes and their communities through sports, leadership programs, and athlete wellness. Our free, year-round programs lead to improved health, self-confidence, and independence among athletes with intellectual disabilities and acceptance and inclusion in the community. Special Olympics Southern California has earned a four-star ranking from Charity Navigator for exceeding industry standards. This ranking is the highest Charity Navigator offers to an organization and is given because Special Olympics has demonstrated strong financial health and a commitment to accountability and transparency.

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