CEO Message: “Can I be so bold as to ask you to invite me in?”
I’m Kyra Kazantzis and I am so pleased to introduce myself to you as the new CEO of the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits. In this, my first monthly message to the nonprofit community and those who care about it, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself.
I had the great honor of spending 25 years (aack!) in the bosom of the Valley’s rich and varied nonprofit community, at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. As an SVCN Board member from 2012 to 2017, I was impressed with the importance of SVCN's role in educating nonprofit leaders about the most pressing and tenacious issues facing them and the communities they serve, helping them address those issues, and representing them at tables of influence.
And although I feel fortunate that this base of knowledge is allowing me to hit the ground running in this new role, I am intentionally spending this first 100 days in a fact-finding mission to assess opportunities and challenges ahead for local nonprofits, the landscape of philanthropic and government funding, the policy environment that affects nonprofits as entities and the larger community, the race-based and structural barriers to equity for all, as well as and the operations of SVCN as an organization. I’m fighting the urge to “get things done” and make decisions and plans without the necessary perspective.
It’s a privilege to be able to invest this time listening and learning to be able to formulate and share with you, in short order, my priorities and vision for SVCN. Feel free to send me an email to let me know what you think. Or, to my extended nonprofit family, can I be so bold as to ask you to invite me in? I’d love to visit your afterschool program, your food distribution warehouse, or your senior center. I need to experience local nonprofits and the breadth of their approaches at a granular level. What I already know even before my fact-finding tour is that I intend to both respect the incredible legacy of SCVN and look for and take advantage of opportunities to evolve and grow. SVCN is already a healthy nonprofit, with excellent Board leadership, a stellar reputation, and a strong staff, so it’s exciting to think about how SVCN could marshal these strengths toward an even more impactful future together with you.
I owe a huge thank you to my tireless forerunner, Patricia Gardner, our Board Chair Sandra Murillo who led the Board and Transition Team in the search and hiring process, and, most of all, to SVCN’s committed staff and particularly Wendy Ho, who served as interim CEO and continues to serve as the organization’s Policy Director. They all continue to work hard in making this transition seamless. Thanks to them all and to you for your warm welcome.
Feel free to reach out to us at any time. We are happy to hear from you!
Kyra Kazantzis Chief Executive Officer