Executive Director Update
In June of 2020, The Raining Season announced its new Executive Director, Lori Pyle. In that 2020 announcement, founder Erica Rust shared about Lori’s longtime connection to The Raining Season. “Lori was on that first airplane. She was there when we launched TRS. She gave birth to the vision right there alongside me. She raised money, trained staff, launched programs, and traveled more times than I can count. There were seasons where she left her family and spent months with me in Sierra Leone, fighting to shift law and open the doors to adoption. Once our program launched, she served countless other families.”
Since taking over as Executive Director, Lori has made three trips to Sierra Leone, working closely with our in-country staff on the vision of TRS, developing relationships within Sierra Leone and beyond, and envisioning what The Raining Season’s future might look like. Her time in Sierra Leone has included loving and serving our children and staff, as well as a rice feeding program that impacted women and families in Freetown and beyond. Lori has also had the opportunity to develop relationships within Sierra Leone and even internationally. The Raining Season has been operating in Freetown for thirteen years yet is relatively unknown throughout the country. Lori met people in-country who couldn’t believe what TRS is doing in Sierra Leone and that it was being done for so long without help. Now, businesses and organizations that we didn’t even know existed in Sierra Leone want to support The Raining Season. We have been operating solely through sponsorship support, and for that, we are so very grateful. However, these relationships have created new opportunities for TRS that will allow The Raining Season to reach new levels.
We are grateful for Lori’s heart for The Raining Season and vision for its future. In 2020, Erica shared that the new Executive Director would require someone with the knowledge of the past, grit for the climb, and vision for the future to take the reins. Lori has stepped into this role with passion and determination, so it is with excitement that we share that as of November 1st, Lori has expanded her role as Executive Director to full time. Lori shared, “When I took this position, in my very first board call, I was charged with two big ideas, and that was to take TRS to the next level and to bring the fire and excitement back to the organization. We’ve been stable for a long time, and we are really good at what we do, but I heard them. I take this position with a very humble heart, and I know that I have a big responsibility ahead of me as TRS has not had a full time employee before. It is my goal to make sure that everyone involved with TRS, whether that is an employee, sponsor, donor, prayer partner, volunteer, or a child we serve, feels valued and is proud to be a part of this organization. I am thrilled to take this position, but it is a big change for our family. I left a twenty-four year career as a Speech Pathologist and the comfort of what we have known for a long time, but I know this is right! We have a great team in the US and in Sierra Leone, and it is my honor to serve alongside them.”
The Raining Season is moving toward a season of change with a huge opportunity for growth and expansion, and in order to successfully make the transition, our board unanimously recognized the importance of having someone that could give it the time and attention it needs. Board member Darren Woodruff shared, “Lori Pyle has put her body and soul into growing and improving the mission and actions of TRS. Her wisdom, experience, and heartfelt actions are moving TRS into exciting new territories! Her uncanny ability to forge strong and meaningful group relationships is almost as great as her love for the Individual children we are working to help. The 21st century will see fast and impactful change globally, and the children and families of Sierra Leone can play a large part of this. If TRS wants to affect this in any substantial way, Lori is the right person to lead us.” Board member Megan Garrett agreed with the importance of having a full time Executive Director, “I think having a full time Executive Director that was part of the initial launch of The Raining Season is invaluable. Lori has supported TRS through so many different chapters of our history and knows the organization inside and out. She has solid relationships with in-country staff, consistent communication with stateside staff and board members, and has a deep love for the children we serve. There is no better candidate for the job!”
Why is a full time Executive Director so important to the future of The Raining Season? Board member Matt Pearson shared, “Having a full time executive director for TRS will be a huge benefit for the ministry God has called us to in Sierra Leone. It will allow for growing the impact TRS will have for Sierra Leone and lead us into a bright future with many possibilities on the horizon. We are so lucky to be able to have Lori take on this role and share her passion and experience to guide us into the future at TRS.” As a full time position, Lori will be charged with continuing and expanding what she has started over the past two years. We are grateful that, in many ways, The Raining Season has remained stable in recent years. Through Ebola and COVID-19, you, our supporters, have continued to show up and support TRS through some challenging seasons. Now, it is time for new beginnings and growth. Board member Sheri Barnett saw Lori as the perfect leader for this task, sharing, “As we accelerate towards expanding our impact on the health and success of Sierra Leone’s children, it was critical for us to hire a full time leader to provide focus, energy, and execution on our key priorities. When God opens doors, we must have the faith to rise to the challenge. Lori was an obvious choice to lead us in this next chapter. I am proud to work by her side.”
Lori will continue to take on the bold task of growing The Raining Season while focusing on increasing funding through sponsorship, grants, and fundraising. Lori has shifted the philosophy of The Raining Season to be an organization that is raising kids to be rooted in their culture and in Sierra Leone. She truly wants to see these children raised to be vital parts of Sierra Leone. Expansion of The Raining Season’s impact in Sierra Leone will be crucial to making this philosophy a reality.
Since we first opened our doors in 2009, we have watched as our small orphan care center grew to serve hundreds of vulnerable children. We have watched children grow, heal, and thrive under our roof. In 2017 we launched our next phase with The Roots Project. In thirteen years, we have experienced joy, heartache, and everything in between. We are thrilled to say this is only the beginning. We have BIG news to share soon that you don’t want to miss. Thank you for joining us on this journey.
The Raining Season