Mason to retire from Hospitality House

Article Published: Mar. 6 | Modified: Mar. 6
Mason to retire from Hospitality House

Hospitality House executive director Lynne Mason, second from left, poses with board members, from left, Brenda Lyerly, Kay Borkowski and Chris Burns. After 12 years with the organization, Mason will retire this June.

Photo submitted

After nearly 12 years with the organization, Hospitality House executive director Lynne Mason will retire, effective June 30.

Mason’s decision to retire after 31 years in social work is a bittersweet one that she has made to spend more time with her family, she said.

“I am proud that we are an agency that utilizes best practices of non-profit management and am excited for the future of this organization as I transition out,” Mason said. “The time has come for me to focus on my family and our new ventures. I feel good about the state of the agency and have the utmost confidence in the staff that I am leaving behind.”

Mason’s path to Hospitality House began in 2002, when she and former Grace Lutheran pastor Tim Smith started WeCAN, the Watauga Crisis Assistance Network. That program went from an area church crisis assistance effort to a coordinated program under the Hospitality House umbrella.
Previously she worked mostly with families and children but quickly found working with homeless people, a misunderstood population, to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. In 2005, Mason was appointed executive director.

During Mason’s time as executive director, she transitioned the Hospitality House from a small mission-minded non-profit to a fully functioning organization with an operating budget of $1.3 million. Previously, the Hospitality House operated on a budget of faith, with the mindset that when money was needed, it would come. Mason saw the need for the organization to operate as a business, using solid business practices and a fully realized budget.

“Lynne’s leadership has been integral to the advances and achievements of Hospitality House,” veteran board member and former chair Kay Borkowski said. “The evolution of Hospitality House from a traditional homeless shelter to a transitional living facility that won the North Carolina Housing Award of Excellence is a credit to Lynne’s dedication and ambition.”

Mason’s vision also allowed the organization to transition from three tired, worn-out downtown buildings into a single 18,500-square-foot facility that better fits the needs of the community. The motivation behind the move was that people on hard times needed a safe, nurturing and healthy environment in order to rebuild their lives. The ensuing capital campaign and move in March 2011 allowed for the emergency, transitional, family and permanent housing programs to be under the same roof. The increased space and professional atmosphere at the new facility enabled the agency to expand the variety of programs, services and jobs offered.

Chris Burns, chair of the Hospitality House board of directors, said the search for a new executive director will begin within the next month. “Our personnel committee, led by Chris May, has begun the process of refining the vacancy announcement and assembling a search team. Lynne’s shoes will be hard to fill, but we expect to hire an outstanding candidate who has the skills to lead the agency into its next successful chapter of service to our community.”

The community is invited to join Hospitality House in honoring Mason through the Lynne Mason Tribute Fund. Donations can be made online at, or checks can be made out to Hospitality House, with “Lynne Mason” in the memo line, and mailed to Hospitality House, P.O. Box 309, Boone, N.C. 28607.

Hospitality House will host an open house and retirement celebration for Mason in June. For more information, call (828) 264-1237, or visit

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