Meet the Leadership Team

 

Learn more about Team YESS and why we love what we do - All day. Every day.

 

Leisa Fox, Chief Executive Officer (2019)

With over 20 years of experience as a senior executive in nonprofits and business development, I’m excited to have joined such a dedicated team to achieve YESS’ vision of building an Iowa where all children thrive in a safe home. YESS’ mission to change lives by protecting children and empowering families is a universal cause that impacts every individual in our community. I’m humbled to provide leadership, vision, and oversight for the daily operations of our wraparound services while building and nurturing community relationships. I’m also blessed to have the opportunity to interact with the wonderful kids and families who turn to YESS for care and support every day.

Favorite day: Waking up somewhere tropical with nothing to do all day but walk on the beach, enjoy the day, and make memories.

 

 

Dr. Sara Swansen, Chief Behavioral Health Officer (2009)

I earned my doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Iowa State University and am a licensed Child Psychologist. I have worked in the child psychology field for 12 years, specializing in adolescent and behavioral disorders. As a Clinical Child Psychologist and the agency’s Clinical Services Director I provide psychological assessments and conduct therapy sessions with children and their families. I also provide supervision to YESS’ mental health therapists and am in charge of ongoing program development and management of the Clinical Services Department.

Favorite day: The day after Christmas. Nothing is expected of me, I have nothing to prepare, nowhere to be, I don’t worry if my house is a mess, and I don’t feel guilty when meals are leftovers and candy treats. On this day, it seems the world stops and I am allowed to be completely present, attentive, and relaxed with my favorite gift – my family.

 

 



 Chris Andersen, Director of Philanthropy and Community Partnerships (2020)

Chris Andersen's career spans more than 20 years with non-profit organizations in human services, performing arts, medical and mental health advocacy, and higher education. Over that time, he honed his philosophy of philanthropy that he passionately describes as the reinvention of donor and corporate partner relationships. Chris comes to YESS from the Des Moines Community Playhouse where he served as Director of Philanthropy since 2017. During his time there, he revamped the spirit of philanthropy by creating new programs and revitalizing donor favorites.

Favorite day: Enjoying time outdoors with his family - going camping in their RV, hiking, fishing, boating, playing golf and tennis, woodturning, geocaching, and wildlife watching. 

 


 

Chad Van Hauen, Human Resources Director (2019)

I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from Central College in Pella in Exercise Science.  I bring more than 11 years of HR experience to the YESS team. I received SHRM-CP certification in 2018 and I’m also a local and national member of the Society for Human Resource Management. I am excited to partner with YESS leadership and staff to continue to build upon our mission of changing lives by protecting children and empowering families.   

Favorite day:   Every Saturday in the fall cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Central Dutch.


   


Susan Johnson, Chief Operations Officer (2016)

I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from Central College in Pella with an Accounting major and took and passed the CPA exam a few years later. I've spent my entire career in the healthcare industry, and I have a passion for process improvement and efficiency. I am thrilled to join Team YESS and look forward to being part of the wonderful work of the agency every day.

Favorite Day: My favorite day is Christmas. It’s just our immediate family for the entire day with no planned agenda.

 

 

 


 Robert Aiken, Community Programs & Policy Director (2016)

I have been dedicated to the human services since 2007. My first roles were as a Residential Counselor & Operations Supervisor. Since that time I’ve done everything in the field from planning charity golf tournaments to administering multi-county outpatient programs. I strive to help children & families! I’ve worked with at-risk youth, homeless, disability, mental health, and substance dependent populations. My family came to Iowa in 2010 and I graduated with a Masters of Public Administration from Drake University in 2013. I am so excited to be working with YESS!  

Favorite day:  Any day that finds me up before dawn, on my way to the lake, marsh, or slopes, with a cup of black coffee in hand.  

 



Lela Scott, Residential Operations Director (2012)

I received my Bachelor's in Psychology at Creighton University. I believe in YESS’ mission and our responsibility to our community. I ensure our kids are safe, our staff are safe and clients are receiving quality care and services. I love engaging clients and families in support services that will improve their quality of life. I have been serving children and working with families for over 10 years. I joined Team YESS in June of 2012.

Favorite day: I would have to say my birthday and my loved one’s birthdays. I love seeing people being celebrated and seeing them celebrate themselves. We are all so important and our birthdays are a reminder of that.