Vista Maria President and CEO Angela Aufdemberge, who has led the Dearborn Heights nonprofit serving abused and neglected girls for the past 11 years, is stepping down. Aufdemberge, who served as a board member of the nonprofit for 14 years prior to becoming CEO, will stay on until a new CEO is named and then work with the new leader in a consulting role for up to a year to aid in the transition, she said

The Hunter Group LLC in Bloomfield Hills is leading the search for Vista Maria’s next CEO.

The nature of the services Vista Maria provides, including support, treatment, and education to abused and neglected girls, young female survivors of human trafficking and at-risk children and teens, requires a leader who can be there every day, nights and weekends, Aufdemberge said.

Should conditions necessitate for children and families served by Vista Maria, “you need to be able to respond if there is a crisis need,” she said. Aufdemberge said she needs a more flexible schedule that accommodates family needs at this point.

The timing is good: Vista Maria is very stable financially and strong programatically, she said. During her tenure, the nonprofit has grown from a $19 million budget to a $33 million organization with the acquisition of Insight Youth and Family Connections and the Michigan Abolitionist Project and the formation of Vista Affordable Housing.

Among other accomplishments during her tenure as CEO, Aufdemberge supported the successful development of a mental health continuum of care service model for children and young adults, up to age 24, who have experienced abuse and child welfare systems of care.

She oversaw the development and construction of two treatment sites on its Dearborn Heights campus for girls who have survived human trafficking. The second site, opened in April 2020, as trafficking continued, despite the pandemic, is still the only secure (or locked) treatment site in the state, Aufdemberge said, something that is needed to prevent victims from returning to their abusers.

Vista Maria also developed new, transitional housing for young females and boys who identify as females who have aged out of foster care to help position them for success going forward with Aufdemberge at the helm.

Her team has played a big role, said Aufdemberge, who was named among Crain’s Notable Women in Nonprofits in 2018.
“We’ve built a very dynamic and leadership team at Vista Maria β€”it’s good for me to peal off and let them continue to develop as an executive leadership team.”