SVCN Names Kyra Kazantzis Chief Executive Officer

April 10, 2019

Board of Directors Selects Housing Leader and Community Lawyer to Succeed Long-Time CEO Patricia Gardner

 

SAN JOSE, CA, April 10, 2019 – The Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits today announced that its Board of Directors has selected Kyra Kazantzis as Chief Executive Officer effective May 20, 2019. Kyra previously served on the SVCN Board of Directors for five years and currently is a Senior Policy Advisor to San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, focused on solving San José’s housing and homelessness crisis.

 

“We are fortunate to have someone of Kyra’s commitment and experience step up to lead SVCN,” said Board Chair, Sandra Murillo. “Kyra understands the mission of SVCN and is familiar with our work, our membership, and the communities we seek to support. Her role in leading initiatives and advocating for our most vulnerable populations gives us confidence that she will be an inspirational leader focused on building the capacity of our members and strengthening the nonprofit sector.”

 

“I am thrilled to be joining Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits and am ready to hit the ground running as CEO of this respected and effective organization,” Kyra said. “I look forward to working with SVCN’s board and exceptionally talented team to accelerate the organization’s and the nonprofit community’s effectiveness and meet the challenges facing our sector in the coming years. Together, we are stronger, and in this spirit, I will approach my role at SVCN.”

 

“I know that I speak for everyone at SVCN in thanking Wendy Ho for her leadership and dedication in serving both as interim CEO and senior policy director during this transition,” she added.

 

“Having known and worked with Kyra for more than 25 years, I am confident that SVCN will be in good hands,” said Patricia Gardner, who announced that she would step down after 18 years as CEO this spring. “Kyra’s relationships with our members, partners and government leaders will allow SVCN’s passion and impact to grow stronger under her leadership.”

 

Prior to her role in the Mayor’s Office, Kyra served as a longtime directing attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley leading policy advocacy and litigation in a wide variety of issue areas including fair housing, affordable housing, civil rights, inmate rights, consumer protection, disability rights, and poverty. Kyra also co-founded the Law Foundation’s innovative Fair Housing Law Project.

 

Kyra has been a nonprofit professional, community leader, and public servant in the Silicon Valley community for over 25 years. She has a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinction and honors from the University of Arizona. Kyra lives in downtown San José with her husband Eric, teen-aged daughter Kassia, and rescue dog Leila. 

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ABOUT KYRA KAZANTZIS

Kyra Kazantzis has been a nonprofit professional, community leader, and public servant in our Silicon Valley community for over 25 years. Her most recent role has been as a Senior Policy Advisor to San José Mayor Sam Liccardo, focused on solving San José’s housing and homelessness crisis. There, Kyra led the Mayor’s housing initiatives which, for example, marshaled a department-wide housing crisis work-plan and homelessness response plan; established a housing catalyst team; made land use changes to accommodate thousands of new homes; and launched the bridge housing program for people who are unhoused.

 

Her prior role as a longtime directing attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley saw her leading teams of in-house and law firm pro bono attorneys in conducting strategic impact policy advocacy and litigation in a wide variety of issue areas—fair housing, affordable housing, civil rights, inmate rights, consumer protection, disability rights, and poverty; Kyra co-founded the Law Foundation’s innovative Fair Housing Law Project. She began her legal career at the Law Foundation’s mental health advocacy program, where she was the directing attorney for 8 years, specializing in issues of involuntary mental health commitment, criminal justice interaction with individuals with disabilities, quality of care in psychiatric institutions and jails, and minors’ rights in residential care.

 

Kyra has a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and holds a Bachelor of Arts with distinction and honors from the University of Arizona. She has served on the governance boards of SVCN, MACLA, and the Santa Clara County Bar Association (SCCBA) and is a long-time volunteer at Children’s Musical Theater, San Jose. In 2013, Kyra was named as SCCBA’s Professional Lawyer of the Year and, in 2012, was listed as a woman of influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Kyra is a proud member of ALF’s Urbanism Class XXXVI, and lives in downtown San José with her husband Eric, teen-aged daughter Kassia, and rescue dog Leila.

 

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