Kyra Kazantzis, a senior policy advisor to Mayor Sam Liccardo and a longtime attorney, is the new CEO of the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits following Patricia Gardner’s retirement, officials announced Tuesday.
“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,” Kazantzis 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.”
Kazantzis previously served on the SVCN Board of Directors for five years.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Kyra’s commitment and experience step up to lead SVCN,” said Board Chair Sandra Murillo in an email announcement. “She understands our mission and is familiar with our work, our membership, and the communities we seek to support. I know she will be an inspirational leader focused on building the capacity of our members and strengthening the nonprofit sector.”
Before joining Liccardo’s office in 2017, Kazantzis served as a longtime directing attorney at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and co-founded its innovative Fair Housing Law Project. She was with the Law Foundation for 25 years. In that role, she led teams of attorneys in conducting research, policy advocacy and litigation in areas such as fair housing, affordable housing, civil rights, inmate rights, consumer protection, disability rights and poverty.
Gardner in August announced she’s retiring after 18 years of leading SVCN and has since started a private consulting firm, PAG Leadership Consulting. Her last day was in March.
“I’m really excited to have Kyra succeed me,” Gardner told San José Spotlight on Tuesday. “I think she’s got the right skills. It’s the right time, she’s the right person, and I’m really excited to support Kyra after she takes over and grows SVCN even stronger. I’m just thrilled.”
Murillo thanked SVCN’s transition team for “their guidance and support throughout this process.”
“The Transition Team was instrumental in helping us select the right champion for our sector to be our next CEO,” Murillo added. “And many, many thanks to Wendy Ho for her leadership and dedication in serving as interim CEO during this transition.”
Kazantzis begins her new role with SVCN on May 20.