Cross named to replace retiring NRPA president Taraski

Published 8:48 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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The Nansemond River Preservation Alliance Board of Directors in Suffolk named Beth Cross was named as the group’s next president and chief executive officer.

Cross assumes the new role Feb. 20 with the pending retirement of the group’s one and only president and CEO.

In a news release, NRPA said Cross has devoted her career to non-profits, serving nine years as executive director of the Help and Emergency Response shelter in Portsmouth. HER is an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. 

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During her time at the HER shelter, Cross created a new strategic plan that improved programs for clients, grew diversified sources of fundraising and marketing and lead a high performing team of 46 staff. She also worked with the United Way of America as business development manager and vice president of advancement at Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

Cross will follow in the footsteps of NRPA’s first and only president and CEO, Elizabeth Taraski, PhD., who is retiring at the end of March. 

Taraski joined NRPA 12 years ago, leading a group of like-minded Suffolk residents concerned with protecting Suffolk’s Nansemond River, creeks and tributaries. During her tenure, Taraski transformed the founding members’ vision into a highly effective, mature conservation organization that is pivotal to the health of Suffolk’s waterways and marine life. 

“At a time of unprecedented growth in the city, the alliances she forged with city leadership, its citizens and its businesses to protect and restore our waterways have been a very important partnership”, said Edward Munson, chairman of the NRPA Board of Directors.

Taraski said she appreciates the board for its support.

“Serving as NRPA’s CEO provided me with the special opportunity to apply my skills and experiences to do my part in ensuring that the next generation will enjoy our precious natural resources,” she said. “I would like to thank Richard Barry for his vision to establish NRPA and his counsel throughout the years. It has been a wonderful journey and I am grateful to have been a part of this vital organization and am confident that Suffolk has a bright future.”

Munson praised Cross’s non-profit experience and deep commitment to community engagement.

“We are thrilled to welcome NRPA’s new leader Beth Cross to take us forward in our important work,” he said. “Beth is a talented leader who understands the importance of working with volunteers, city leadership and our board.”. 

Cross said Western Tidewater is truly a unique and beautiful place. 

“I have a passion for the rivers my family has played and fished on for so many years,” she said. “I look forward to growing, protecting and preserving this treasure through the community work that was started by NRPA.”

Beth Cross resides on the Elizabeth River with her husband and three boys.

NRPA’s mission is to raise public awareness and encourage environmental stewardship of the Nansemond River, Chuckatuck Creek, Bennett’s Creek and their tributaries and wetlands by developing and implementing programs and initiating collaborative actions with individuals, businesses, civic organizations and governmental agencies.