Maria Website Press Release

(Lakeland, FL) The Board of Directors of Talbot House Ministries proudly announces the promotion of María Cruz, MNP, PMP, CCM, to the position of Executive Director effective January 7, 2023. Cruz succeeds Dr. Brenda C. Reddout, who has served as Executive Director for nearly seven years.

Cruz, currently the Senior Director of Programs and Services, has more than 22 years of nonprofit senior leadership experience. In her time at Talbot House, she has leveraged this expertise to improve clients’ experience, streamline reporting, and develop new community partnerships.

Before coming to Talbot House, Cruz served as Director of Housing Programs and Initiatives at the Coalition for the Homeless, an Orlando-based nonprofit. During her eight-year tenure Cruz designed and implemented the first homeless Diversion and Prevention program in Central Florida. She also launched their Tri-County Outreach mobile unit for families, Innovation Youth Program, SHIP Rapid Rehousing program, and led the organization’s transition to the Housing First model. Through her work, the agency significantly expanded its ability to house the homeless.

“Talbot House’s future will continue to be bright with María Cruz as our Executive Director,” shares Board President J.D. Shahin. “She has the passion and desire to lead this ministry. I’m more than confident that she will be successful in her new role.” Cruz was chosen from a competitive pool of candidates after a thorough, nationwide search.

“I am humbled and very excited for this opportunity,” said Cruz. “Talbot House Ministries truly makes a difference in the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness, and I’m proud to be asked to lead this amazing team of exceptional staff and dedicated volunteers. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and jump in!”

Cruz is a doctoral candidate in Administration of Social Work Programs & Policy Research at Ana G. Mendez University.  She also has a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management & Leadership from Ana G. Mendez University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. She has earned certifications in executive coaching, evaluation and monitoring of federal programs, and mental health first aid. Cruz was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and is bilingual. She lives in Davenport with her husband and two children.

Dr. Reddout announced her retirement earlier this year. Her transformative leadership has positioned Talbot House to better meet the community’s needs and achieve its future goals. Dr. Reddout led the renovation and opening of the Vermont Place Apartments, Talbot House’s newest 16-unit affordable housing complex. She also navigated the agency through the COVID-19 pandemic and oversaw urgently needed capital improvements to the kitchen, dining room, and emergency shelter. During the course of her tenure, Dr. Reddout expanded the organization’s budget, added mission-critical staff positions, and built strong community partnerships. Her final day at Talbot House will be January 6, 2023. On behalf of the Board, Shahin celebrates Dr. Reddout’s legacy of service:

“I want to thank Dr. Reddout for her committed leadership of Talbot House Ministries. Her dedication and passion have led this amazing ministry to where it is today. I am forever grateful for her expertise and friendship, and I also wish her the best in her retirement.”