Barbara Best Executive Director

CEO Colby Swettberg excited to lead alongside Best as national division opens

Contact: Cori Mykoff, Director of Development, (617) 209-5307,

For immediate release

BOSTON, Sept. 23, 2019: Barbara Best, former Executive Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, is joining Silver Lining Mentoring as its Executive Director starting on October 8th. She joins Silver Lining Mentoring at a time of growth, as it aims to double its local footprint to serving 500 young people impacted by foster care in Massachusetts by 2025, as well as opening its first-ever national division this fall.

Colby Swettberg, CEO of Silver Lining Mentoring, will be leading the organization’s national growth, while Best will be leading its Massachusetts-based programming. Swettberg says, “There has never been a more exciting time, nor a more qualified leader to join Silver Lining Mentoring. Barbara’s dedication to child welfare, commitment to community building, intellectual curiosity and deep leadership experience will advance Silver Lining’s mission and help to realize our vision. I look forward to collaborating with and learning from Barbara in service of bringing meaningful mentoring to many more young people impacted by foster care in Greater Boston and across the country.”

Best joins Silver Lining after nearly seven years with the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership. Prior to Harvard, Best spent more than a decade with the Children’s Defense Fund, serving as Director of Foundation Relations and Special Projects as well as Texas Executive Director, among other roles. She earned her Masters of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and her Bachelors of Arts in history from Duke University.

Best notes, “I am excited to join Silver Lining Mentoring at this critical time. Colby’s powerful, visionary, and dedicated leadership have made an enormous impact in Massachusetts, and it is now sparking national dialogue. I am honored to work with Silver Lining Mentoring’s dedicated and talented team, courageous and resilient young people, devoted mentors and community partners, and its deeply committed Board of Directors. Together, we will double the number of youth who participate in high quality mentoring and essential life skills programming. I am thrilled to join a determined and skilled team at the local level, and work with them to empower young people throughout the Commonwealth and across the country to thrive and reach their full potential.”

Anne Bowie, Board Chair of Silver Lining Mentoring, led the search committee for the Executive Director. Said Bowie, “We are so pleased to welcome Barbara Best into the dynamic work of Silver Lining Mentoring. Barbara’s extensive leadership experience and steadfast passion for youth perfectly positions her to lead our local team into these next exciting chapters of serving more young people through mentoring.”

Best will be leading a team of 18 employees beginning October 8. The Silver Lining Institute, SLM’s national division, will also launch in October.

Founded in 2001, Silver Lining Mentoring empowers youth in foster care to thrive through committed mentoring relationships and the development of essential life skills. Silver Lining Mentoring is the only mentoring organization in Massachusetts, and one of only a few nationwide, that exclusively serves youth in foster care. SLM provides targeted, specialized mentoring services and life skills training for young people who have been impacted by the foster care system.

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