Family House leader from Hampton steps down for own family
Even a once-in-a-lifetime job can become too much.
Seeking to “take a breather” and spend more time with her daughter, Christie Knott, 44, of Hampton, executive director of the nonprofit Family House, which provides shelter and emotional support to critically ill patients and family who travel to Pittsburgh for medical treatment, will step down at the end of the month.
Knott's last day will be Feb. 28, ending seven years on the job.
Family House board member Bob Howard will serve as interim executive director, board chairman Glen Feinberg said. Howard is president of Crown Management Group Inc., a Sewickley-based human resource consulting firm.
“To find an organization with a mission that just captures your heart and a team of people who do such good work, those jobs come around once in a lifetime,” Knott said. “We've accomplished so much, and to be a part of those guests' lives has just been incredible.”
Family House was founded in 1983 by doctors and civic leaders who said they were tired of watching patients' families sleep in chairs in hospital waiting rooms.
It provides critically ill patients and their caregivers an alternative to extended stays in hotels, which are more expensive, while placing them in a supportive atmosphere amid families enduring similar hardships, officials said.
When Knott took over in 2005, Family House had three locations in Shadyside and Oakland. Under her leadership, Family House opened a fourth location in 2009 at University Place in Oakland, adding 48 guest rooms.
“Christie's departure leaves a big hole at Family House, but she is leaving the organization in excellent shape and successfully positioned for its third decade,” said Feinberg, a principal with Deloitte Consulting, Downtown. “Her tenure has been marked by growth in the number, scope and quality of programs.”
Knott and her husband, Ian, adopted their daughter Allie, now 9, on the day she was born in Florida. Allie was 2 when Knott started at Family House.
“I feel like I'm a good mom and my husband is a good dad, but Allie's going to be her own person in no time at all,” Knott said. “It's hard when you have a family and you also have a Family House. I'm an all-in type of person. I needed to scale back a bit.”
Family House regulars said they will miss Knott's constant and sympathetic presence.
“It felt like we'd known each other for years,” said Mary Trahan, who has traveled repeatedly from Watertown, N.Y., to Pittsburgh while caring for her sick daughter, Julie.
“You could tell Julie was always on her mind. We had a very special relationship.”
Julie Trahan, 32 — who as a child contracted post-viral gastroparesis, a condition that prevented her from digesting food — underwent stomach, small bowel, duodenum and pancreas transplants in 2010 in UPMC Montefiore. She recently went blind, her mother said.
They last visited Family House in September and return often because doctors in upstate New York are not qualified to treat her complicated problems, Mary Trahan said.
In 2008, during her first extended stay at Family House, Julie Trahan observed:
“They have built this place for us — lonely people that are sick and need a place to stay. Somewhere else, I'd be isolated and alone. Here, all of that melts away.”
While it pains Knott to leave, she said she did not want to miss what's left of her daughter's growing up.
Other professional women told her that they took time off when they had young kids and never regretted it, she said.
Knott said she will work again, but for now, she wants only to be a mom.
“This has not been an easy decision,” Knott said. “But I've hired some great people. It's got a strong board, and it's time for me to take a breather. I feel like I'm leaving what I helped create in good hands.”
Chris Togneri is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He canbe reached at 412-380-5632or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bradford Woods to celebrate its 100th anniversary
- Ride for Ryan to raise funds for beating victim in minimally conscious state
- Pine OKs old Wexford Fire Hall business plan
- McCandless garden receives ‘certified wildlife habitat’ designation
- Hampton School District changing formula for class rankings
- Hampton turning lane work halts access to Route 8 from Duncan Avenue
- Hartwood Acres gift shop expands
- Expired, unwanted medications to be collected at Shaler North Hills Library
- Shaler promotes 1 police officer, hires another
- Cannon named director of Pittsburgh Boy Choir
- Photo Gallery: North Hills Community Pep Rally