By Sarah Beth Martin
Contributing Writer 

Mt. Washington CDC names Manspeizer director



Ilyssa Manspeizer

Sometimes, after you search everywhere, you discover what you've been looking for has been right in front of you the whole time... This was the sentiment felt round the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC) last week when it announced its new executive director had been appointed-and had been promoted from within.

After a rigorous five-month search, the MWCDC unanimously voted to appoint Ilyssa Manspeizer, PhD, giving its current director of park development and conservation a well-earned rise in the ranks.

Ms. Manspeizer has been with the MWCDC for seven years, during which time she raised more than $4 million in investments in the Mt. Washington community, coordinated the planting of some 6,000 plants and trees, and oversaw the removal of approximately 260,000 pounds of garbage from neighborhood parks and trails, among other things.

But it wasn't just her tenure or voluminous accomplishments that landed Ms. Manspeizer her highly coveted new job. These were but a few of the things the MWCDC Search Committee considered when reviewing her application alongside those of the other 46 candidates vying for the seat.

The MWCDC Board of Directors engaged a professional service, NonprofiTalent, to conduct a national search, which pooled together applicants from as far away as Connecticut, Florida and Texas, as well as from local spots. Comprised of MWCDC board members and staff and one member of the community (unaffiliated with the organization), the Search Committee whittled the initial list down to four candidates-and, then, down to two.

In addition to the above, numerous other things made Ms. Manspeizer's application stand out from the rest, including her 25 years of experience in community development across the globe and her extensive academic work in anthropology, which focuses on outcome management and the partnerships necessary for a community to thrive.

What stood out most, however, was the 100-Day Plan Ms. Manspeizer presented to the committee in the final round of the selection process.

"The committee was particularly impressed with how it focuses on outreach and communication," said MWCDC Board of Directors President Jon Lusin. "It shows a lot of passion for the community and a true desire to help it move forward."

Ms. Manspeizer's first step forward, as presented in her plan, is to conduct a "listening tour" of Mt. Washington, where MWCDC board and staff members will interview as many people possible over the next several weeks, both in MWCDC headquarters and out in the streets.

The goal of the tour is to arrive at a better understanding of public knowledge and opinion regarding the MWCDC, its function and its work and to find out what people want to see happen in the neighborhood. Information from the interviews will be compiled to make a comprehensive statement at the end of the tour, and Ms. Manspeizer will use that statement to guide her as she begins her journey as executive director.

Ms. Manspeizer officially assumed her role as MWCDC executive director on May 19 and was formally introduced to the community at the organization's monthly forum meeting, held last week.


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