Executive Director John Politi Announces Retirement


After 14 years of dedicated service, AFIT Executive Director John Politi has announced his plans to retire by the end of the year.

John’s first interaction with our organization was back in 2005, when he served as a Learning Partner at the Summer Institute in Kansas City, Missouri. At the time, our organization was known as the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN) and Summer Institute focused on studying the outstanding practices of a single learning partner organization. At the 2005 program, John represented his Baldrige consulting firm, The Avalon Group, in partnership with his client, St. Luke’s Hospital—the first hospital to win a Baldrige Award.

John’s knowledge of The Baldrige Framework and expertise in performance excellence made such a strong impression on CQIN and its members, he was invited back in 2007 to help the organization develop a planning process and strategic plan to solidify its direction for the future. When CQIN’s staff coordinator resigned in 2010, John was quickly recruited for the role, which evolved into the executive director position he holds today.

Our organization has thrived under John's leadership. Not only has he improved its financial viability and sustainability, but he has also grown the staff from three to six team members and has attracted new member CEOs from across the country. John was also the visionary behind our current theme-based learning model, which engages diverse learning partners in a deep exploration of carefully chosen learning themes that are highly relevant to AFIT’s members. When it became apparent that higher education organizations needed to embrace innovation and transformation to face the disruptive forces challenging our industry, John oversaw CQIN’s transition to become the Alliance for Innovation & Transformation (AFIT) in 2018.

"John's deep commitment to AFIT's mission and his strong focus on creating relevant, outcome-focused learning experiences for our members has helped shaped this organization into the invaluable resource it is today," said AFIT President Leah Bornstein. “John will be sorely missed, but we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

“It has been a distinct privilege for me to serve as AFIT’s executive director and have the opportunity to participate, in some small way, in strengthening the ability of our member organizations to enhance student learning and student success,” said John. “I cherish the many friendships I have made and salute the AFIT staff for their amazing work in making AFIT the great organization that it is today. I have no doubt that AFIT’s best days lie ahead and our next executive director will produce an even greater impact on the higher education landscape in the future.”

On behalf of AFIT's Executive Committee, staff, and members, we extend our deepest gratitude to John for his exceptional leadership, tireless dedication, and countless contributions to our wonderful organization.

John's retirement opens the door for another individual to bring his or her skills to AFIT and build on the strong foundation he has created. If you are interested in being considered as AFIT’s next executive director, please review the job description to learn about the role and how to apply.

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