Human Resources, Lakeshore, and Nonprofits

Q&A: Elizabeth Kidd

October 4, 2016
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Elizabeth Kidd
Elizabeth Kidd. Courtesy Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area

Editor’s note: Each Q&A in the Influential Women enewsletter will feature a woman from the region who’s influential, a rising face in her industry or doing interesting work. Submit tips on potential Q&A subjects to tgortsema at grbj dot com.

Elizabeth Kidd is the vice president of community impact at a community foundation in the region.

Kidd is responsible for implementing the community impact strategies for the board of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, or CFHZ, for grant making and strengthening the local nonprofit sector.

She monitors current and emerging needs and opportunities in the community and works with the foundation's committees and board to use the foundation's flexible Community Endowment resources to create positive, lasting change for residents in the Holland and Zeeland areas. 

Kidd worked in the state Legislature and nonprofit sector before joining CFHZ in 2008.

She holds a B.A. in international relations from Michigan State University and a master of public affairs, with concentrations in nonprofit management and public management, from Indiana University.

Biggest career break?

Being promoted to VP at the foundation in 2014. This has been a tremendous opportunity for me to take on more leadership responsibilities and have a greater role in shaping organizational strategy. It's truly an honor to be entrusted with a leadership role at the community foundation and one that I take to heart every day. It has been really exciting and rewarding to take on these new challenges.

Proudest moment?

I am most proud of the work I have done to design the foundation's new investments in local nonprofit staff leaders, especially around staff leadership transitions. There is a lot at stake in these transitions for everyone involved — people served by the organization, board members, staff and donors — and transitions are often challenging for nonprofits to navigate. Decisions made at these junctures have substantial long-term effects on organizations. While they can be daunting, leadership transitions are bound to happen at one point or another for every nonprofit. The foundation's leadership transitions program now provides transition services to boards through the Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance, along with financial resources to strengthen the transition process. In the year since we've launched this program, it has been exciting to see the difference that these investments are making for our local nonprofit partners, and I truly believe they will continue to benefit these organizations and the people they serve for years to come.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

"Listen deeply enough to be changed by what you hear."

How did you make your first dollar?

Babysitting. I remember making fliers to pass out to the neighbors and being nervous if anyone would hire me. As it turned out, I really enjoyed it, and I was the only teenager in my neighborhood at the time, so it kept me pretty busy. 

Most-treasured possession?

Photographs of family, friends and travels. 

Dream job?

My current position is certainly a dream job for me, but down the road, I would love to be in a leadership role at a major national foundation. 

If I were president for a day, I would…?                            

This is tough question for someone who enjoys public policy as much as I do! One pattern I see constantly in my work is how challenging life is for individuals and families who are working but not earning a living wage. I would focus on ways we could create a more accessible upward path for these families and best structure key supports around childcare, housing, education and transportation. 

Last book you’ve read?

“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it. 

Last thing you Googled?

Restaurants in Québec City for an upcoming trip

Your worst habit?

Saying yes to too many things and being overcommitted. I am working on it, but it's a constant battle!

To unwind, I like to…?

Read, practice yoga, spend time at Lake Michigan

Dream vacation?

I love to travel, and the more places I go, the more I want to keep traveling. South Africa, the Galapagos Islands and Egypt are on my list of dream trips right now. 

Favorite food?

Enchiladas de jocoque from El Azteco in East Lansing

Person you most admire?

I can't pick just one, but all the people I admire most have had the courage to write their own definition of what a meaningful, fulfilling life looks like. They each know what's important to them and invest their time and energy every day in a way that aligns with their goals and values. They're self-aware but not self-centered. In one way or another, all of them are making a positive difference that will carry far into the future.  

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