NWWVT Announces New Executive Director, Heather Starzynski

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont 110 Marble Street
West Rutland, Vermont 05777

For Immediate Release
March 5, 2021
Contact: Board President Scott A. Tucker

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont Announces New Executive Director Heather Starzynski

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont (NWWVT), Board of Directors, announces the hiring of Heather Starzynski, as their new Executive Director effective May 3, 2021. Heather comes to us with over ten years of experience in program and project management, partnership building, board development, grant and budget management, and strategic planning facilitation with nonprofit organizations.

She has rich experiences to share, most recently as Director of Consulting Practices for Facility Planning working for IFF in Chicago, leading a real estate staff in consulting practices and strategies in achieving standards of excellence. IFF strengthens nonprofits and the communities they serve by providing leadership, capital, and real estate solutions. Like NWWVT, IFF is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). CDFIs are private community development financial institutions dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream.

Previously Heather worked for NeighborWorks America, a national umbrella organization to NWWVT, a congressionally chartered nonprofit organization that supports community development in the United States and Puerto Rico. The organization provides grants and technical assistance to more than 240 community development organizations. NeighborWorks America provides training for housing and community development professionals through its national training institutes.

Heather’s roles for NeighborWorks America were as Vice President of Field Operations working to develop and deliver the strategy for the division in areas of grant-making, budgeting, performance management, operations, procurement, affiliation and disaffiliation, and customer success. She coached and mentored a diverse team, including budget, projects, and grants management staff. Prior to serving as VP of Field Operations, she worked as Relationship Manager for NeighborWorks America with oversight over four lines of business, including real estate, CDFI lending, economic development, and community engagement.

Heather grew up in a small town in northern Michigan, and after graduation, she attended the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration. Next, she attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City earning a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in non-profit management and urban policy and administration. Here she worked and built experiences as Associate Director, Research Fellow and Project Coordinator focusing on interdisciplinary research for the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability within the Department of Economics. As a course instructor, she taught introductory and intermediate economics courses. At K Star Development Consultants, LLC, Heather was a Managing Member and Principal Consultant working on federal, state, and local real estate public incentive and financing programs, analyzing and providing recommendations based on market and demographic trends, economics and financial feasibility.

In addition to questions related to leadership, management, governance, fundraising, public relations, and future goals, Executive Director candidates were asked to show how they would develop a commitment to race, equity, diversity, and inclusion {REDI). As VP for NeighborWorks America, Heather spearheaded the integration of equity into our grantmaking framework, was a part of the internal race, equity, diversity and inclusion {REDI) employee team and was trained as a REDI facilitator. NeighborWorks of Western Vermont is committed to REDI principles and will work in partnership with Heather to live these principles in the Board Room and to be effective leaders in our communities, about which she is passionate.

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 NeighborWorks of Western Vermont can rely as its next Executive Director.’ She believes relationships and a relentless investment in staff are keys to success.

Please join NeighborWorks of Western Vermont in welcoming Heather Starzynski to Vermont, when you see her!