Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
As Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Candace Vanderwater has responsibility for strategic growth and stability of the organization. She provides the leadership, management, and vision necessary to ensure the organization has the proper infrastructure to secure financial strength, quality services and operational efficiency.
Vanderwater has been with the Chesapeake & Carolinas affiliate since 2011, starting as the Director for the Northern Virginia Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities programs. In June 2014, she moved into the Vice President of Strategy and Organization Development role, responsible for driving the strategic planning process as well as developing growth and capacity building strategies and plans. She then assumed executive oversight of the Homeless Services, Substance Use Disorder Services, and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities services lines for the state of Virginia. In 2016, she was promoted into the COO role and the EVP role in July 2022.
In her role, Vanderwater has executive oversight of our Human resources and Administration, Program Services and Organizational Excellence to drive the organization’s strategic plan. Her role has expanded to increase responsibilities in external affairs, ministry outreach, and new business development.
Vanderwater holds a Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Indiana University and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). She was commissioned as a VOA Minister in 2019. In 2021, she earned an additional master’s degree in business at The University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business, Executive Master of Science in Non-Profit Administration (EMNA), in South Bend, Indiana.
Vanderwater has a passion for organizational development and leadership. She earned a Nonprofit Certificate of Education through a Nonprofit Leadership Program from The University of Notre Dame/Volunteers of America in 2016. She is a 2018 alum of The Leadership Center for Excellence’s Regional Leadership Program in Arlington, Virginia. In addition, she is a certified practitioner for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI), Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavior® (FIRO-B and FIRO-Business) instruments and a Crucial Learning certified trainer for Crucial Conversations/Mastering Dialogue®, Getting Things Done® and Crucial Accountability®.
Vanderwater grew up in Chicago, IL, as the oldest of 6 children and a first-generation college graduate. Her husband, Paul, is a retired USMC officer serving for 24 years. They live in Alexandria, Virginia with their daughters. She enjoys the summer season, entertaining and travel.