James Drayton

New WASI CEO James Drayton

WASILLA — The Wasilla Area Seniors, Inc. recently announced the arrival of their new CEO, James Drayton.

Drayton is replacing outbound CEO Chuck Foster. After seven years at the helm of WASI, Foster said that he’s happy the board of directors found an ideal replacement who’s committed to continuing all the hard work their team has put in over the years while bringing a fresh take on where to go from here.

“One of the things is most important is temperament, and I think James brings the right temperament to suit the staff, and the volunteers, and the members here. You have to bring that with you. We can’t train temperament. He brought that and that’s going to be a real advantage in his success here at WASI… I really think James is the right guy,” Foster said. “We have a pretty diverse staff. We have been able to leverage that diversity into a unity of purpose, which sounds like a buzzword, but we’ve been able to pull it off.”

The WASI board of directors chose Drayton due to his lengthy experience with senior care and notable leadership positions in Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley with businesses and nonprofit organizations such as the Southcentral Foundation and Lifeworks.

“The combination of his experience, proven ability, and drive makes him an ideal fit for our company’s next stages of growth. James’ level of confidence and work ethic is complimented by his deeply ingrained sense of humility and pragmatic leadership style. Please join us in welcoming James Drayton, our new CEO,” WASI Board President, John Weaver stated in a recent press release.

Drayton said that he was drawn to work in senior care after experiencing all the challenges and emotions of getting his mother the care she needed. He said that joining up with WASI seemed like the next logical step in his journey.

“It seemed like a natural fit. It’s something that needed to be done. I tell people I’m practicing my entire life to be a senior citizen, and the programs I help make today are gonna be the ones that serve me,” Drayton said. “I know there’s going to be some challenges. There’s going to be quite a few rewards too. I’m looking forward to both.”

Drayton joined WASI Aug. 30. He’s spent the last week transitioning into the position with Foster while meeting the seniors and getting to know the rest of the team. He said that he’s excited to be part of their mission.

“It’s a very well run organization… There seems to be some dedicated people that are together to find real solutions to real problems,” Drayton said.

This is the final week of Foster’s time as CEO. He said that he’ll miss everyone at WASI, but he won’t have to miss them for long because he’ll be back as a volunteer, regularly helping out wherever he can.

“It’s pretty fulfilling. I like the people here. It feels very home to me. I like it here. There’s a lot of people here I’m not ready to say goodbye to,” Foster said.

For more information about Wasilla Area Seniors, call 907-376-3104 or visit wasillaseniors.com.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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