East Lansing Info’s Board of Directors is undergoing a change of leadership as Board President Raymond Vlasin has decided to retire from service. Last week, the Board elected a new slate of officers: Chuck Grigsby as president, Nathan Andrus as treasurer, Karessa Weir as secretary and Cody Harrell as public editor. Adan Tomas Quan also serves on the board as a director at large.
Vlasin joined the board in January 2020 and immediately took on the role of treasurer. He served ELi during a tumultuous time last year when the organization had to cease delivering local news for a four-month period. A Task Force was convened in July 2022 and, based on the recommendations and following the hiring of Julie Seraphinoff as managing editor, news publication was resumed in September 2022.
Board members expressed deep thanks and praise for Vlasin’s service.
“Ray brought me on during an intense period for ELi’s board of directors,” Harrell said. “After ELi going dark due to a change in leadership, Ray invited me to join the board and help ELi get back on its feet as a Public Editor. While I had no idea just how much work it would take that summer, Ray was steadfast in his commitment to community.”
“It’s so rare to see someone so involved in their community at Ray’s age,” said Harrell, referring to Vlasin’s age of 92. “I didn’t believe him when he told me how old he was at our first board meeting together. But during that summer, I learned more from Ray about community involvement and leadership than any other time in East Lansing. I’m indebted to Ray’s service and thankful for his example.”
“I would like to thank Ray for his commitment, leadership, and steadfast dedication to his involvement over the years of East Lansing Info reporting our local news,” Grigsby said. “I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from Ray directly.”
Andrus has also worked with Vlasin both through the Task Force and Andrus’ recent joining of the board. He, too, praised Vlasin’s leadership.
“Ray stepped up to the plate during a very tough time for ELi,” Andrus said. “He provided some much-needed stability and guidance which has allowed the organization to restructure for a more sustainable future.”
Vlasin told his fellow board members in his formal letter of resignation that he was leaving the board but not leaving ELi’s critical network of supporters. He spoke to “the care with which [ELi] seeks and uses locally contributed funds and that are spent locally.”
“I promise to support you and ELi from the sidelines and will encourage others to do the same,” Vlasin said. “I leave with ELi being fully functional as a non-profit corporation. It has dedicated staff, leadership and reporters. Its operation and its Board are on a trajectory of sustainability. It is a path-breaking provider of local East Lansing news vital to its citizenry. Its selection of topics and events to cover, its thoroughness and accuracy, and its continuous awareness of the information needs of its East Lansing readers distinguishes it in Michigan and nationally.”
The new officers were elected unanimously by the board, and board members expressed gratitude to each other, but particularly to Grigsby for stepping into Vlasin’s position.
“I am honored to join my fellow East Lansing citizens as a board member of East Lansing Info,” Weir said. “We all immensely value the service that Eli provides to our community and are willing to take on these roles to ensure its continued success. I would especially like to congratulate my friend and neighbor Mr. Chuck Grigsby on his election as president of the board. He is a consistent and energetic supporter of East Lansing and will guide us into a successful future.”
“Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge into his position as President,” Andrus said, “and I’m very excited to be able to work with him in that capacity.”
In his remarks, Grigsby articulated the mission at the center of this public service journalism.
“I am confident we will continue the path of a news organization committed to transparency that informs, educates, and uplifts our neighbors in East Lansing,” he said.