A Chicago area woman is expected to be the next leader of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont after the resignation of Ludy Biddle, who has been executive director for 20 year.
Heather Starzynski is expected to take over on May 3.
In November, Biddle announced plans to step down in April.
NeighborWorks of Western Vermont (NWWVT) is a nonprofit organization that helps people go from renting to home ownership.
Calls to NeighborWorks in West Rutland on Friday asking for comment from Starzynski were not immediately returned.
Candidates for Biddle’s successor were asked how they would develop a commitment to race, equity, diversity and inclusion (REDI).
According to the release announcing Starzynski hire, NeighborWorks is committed to those principles. The new executive director was described as “passionate” about those elements and committed to making them part of the work of the board of directors for NeighborWorks and the field work done by the staff.
Starzynski had previously worked for NeighborWorks America as a vice president of field operations and relationship manager with oversight of four lines of business, including real estate, CDFI lending, economic development and community engagement where she spearheaded the integration of equity into the organization’s grants.
She was a part of the REDI employee team and trained as a REDI facilitator.
The executive director candidates were asked about subjects such as leadership, fundraising and future goals. “Heather describes herself as an inclusive leader, believing ‘that in aligning (her) passion for supporting the needs of rural communities with (her) experiences in affordable housing, nonprofit and financial management and staff development, she will provide a strong foundation upon which NWWVT can rely,” the release said.
Starzynski has more than 10 years of experience in program and project management, partnership building, board development, grant and budget management and strategic planning with nonprofit organizations.
Her most recent position is director of consulting practices for facility planning for IFF in Chicago, a lender, real estate consultant and developer.
IFF is a Community Development Financial Institution — a private community development financial institutions dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help disadvantaged people and communities.
Starzynski comes from a small town in northern Michigan. She went to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where she earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration and the University of Missouri-Kansas City where she earned a master’s degree in public administration.