Andrea Zekis (’20) has been announced as the Interim Executive Director of Lucie’s Place, a nonprofit focused on LGBTQ youth homelessness in central Arkansas.
Lucie’s Place was founded in 2012 with the vision to support and empower LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and instability. The organization has provided food, showers, computer access, professional development services, and housing to residents since its inception. However, many of its services, including an eight-bed residential site, were recently closed or suspended amid internal issues that resulted in the resignation of the previous executive director.
Zekis, who was appointed to help steer the organization through this difficult period, said she understands the challenges Lucie’s Place faces and is committed to ensuring the organization’s core mission continues. The interim role will require her involvement in virtually all aspects of the organization, from operations and donor relations to communications and management of staff.
“We’ll be working on how we can best provide our services to the young LGBTQ homeless people we serve during this global pandemic,” Zekis said. “I’ve been tasked to support the transition to the next executive director and what programming and other services will look like at this time for our members.”
Zekis, who has previously served on the Lucie’s Place board, said she anticipates her appointment with the organization to run through June 19.
“There’s a lot of work to do, and I gather it will last longer than I’m there,” Zekis said. “I’ll start the transformation process for the organization it appears and bring some mindset into how we can do the work better, but also more sustainably for the good of our clients and staff.”
As a Clinton School student, Zekis completed a semester-long fellowship as a McLarty Scholar with Vital Voices Global Partnership (VVGP) in Washington, D.C. Her work focused on researching and evaluating the interaction, strength, and effectiveness of the VVGP global network of women leaders. She is the founder of ArTEC, the Arkansas Transgender Equity Collaborative, with additional experience at the Center for Artistic Revolution, Human Rights Campaign Arkansas, Basic Rights Oregon, National Center for Transgender Equality, and the ACLU of Alaska.
In addition to her Master of Public Service, Zekis is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, Syracuse University with a master’s degree in broadcast journalism, and the University of Central Arkansas with a master’s degree in geographic information systems.
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