After 42-Years of Dedicated Service, Pioneering Perspectives President and CEO Jeannie Seeley-Smith Passes the Torch to a New Leader

Perspectives, Minnesota’s largest therapeutic, supportive housing program for women and children who have experienced long-term trauma, addiction, homelessness, mental illness, and poverty, announced today that Jeannie Seeley-Smith is retiring as CEO after four decades of building Perspectives into a national model. As part of Perspectives’ leadership succession plan, Seeley-Smith will finish the $19M “Seed the Change” capital campaign, $5 million of which must still be raised.

“While Jeannie Seeley-Smith’s shoes will be hard to fill, we are extremely pleased to welcome Lilia Panteleeva as the new president and CEO of Perspectives,” states Chair of the Board Susan Grafton. “She brings an outstanding record of service to children and youth through her work at the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota. Her competence as a leader and her knowledge of child protection will undoubtedly be of tremendous value to Perspectives.”

“Not long after coming to Perspectives, I saw a great need for a comprehensive, integrated model addressing the needs of single moms and their children, struggling to climb out of poverty and addiction,” noted Seeley-Smith. That vision, and an amazingly progressive board, kept me at Perspectives for four decades, designing programs that removed barriers to equality and opportunity. This passion for equity and inclusion will keep Lilia Panteleeva excited about her role as the new CEO. She has an excellent background in building programs for children, who are at the core of all we do. She is the right person at the right time.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the incoming president and CEO of Perspectives. Perspectives has a foundation of excellence in designing programs that help mothers and children trapped in a multi-generational cycle of trauma, addiction, homelessness, and poverty,” remarked Lilia Panteleeva. “Its mission is congruent with the work I have done at Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, promoting the rights and well-being of children and youth in the child protection and child welfare systems. I am grateful to Jeannie for her commitment to completing the ‘Seed the Change’ campaign, and I look forward to building on the foundation that she created.”

About Perspectives:

Perspectives systematically addresses the need for early intervention programming for children, while providing comprehensive services for mothers. Perspectives children’s services include a year-round academic and social enrichment program. The Cargill Kids Cafe provides lunch and dinner to children living at the Perspectives housing campus five days a week during the school year. It includes a commercial kitchen/classroom where children learn to prepare nutritious food. A summer program serves breakfast and lunch.

Perspectives campus includes five apartment buildings, clients receive fully furnished apartments when they move in. The campus is adjacent to a city park, it includes urban gardens, patios, playgrounds, a pergola, a therapy office, and apartments for two on-site team members. This is home to 52 mothers and 70-100 children at any given time. The 22,000 sq. ft Family Center houses trauma-informed therapy services, early childhood development, and year-round programming for K-5th grade students.

Perspectives is recognized as a national model, providing comprehensive mental health services for women and children emerging from homelessness and addiction. Perspectives unprecedented record of success demonstrates the disruption of cycles of dysfunctional lifestyles through a holistic approach that includes trauma-informed care, therapeutic services, supportive housing, and comprehensive children’s programming.

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