Elysa Hovard: Helping to shelter society’s most vulnerable

Elysa Hovard

More stories about Emerging Leaders 2017

This is one of a series of stories profiling finalists for the Emerging Leaders award, which is presented annually by The Herald Business Journal. The winner will be announced April 6.

The work is hard, what’s witnessed difficult to see and the crisis nearly constant.

Worse, there’s never enough money or resources.

Everett’s Cocoon House helps homeless youth through outreach, prevention and housing.

The work can be exhausting for herself and her staff, wrote Elysa Hovard, director of outreach at the nonprofit.

“I have found myself being faced with a leadership dilemma,” Hovard said in her nomination form. “How do you motivate, inspire and support staff while holding them accountable to the work that needs to be done?”

She aims to do this by working in the trenches with her staff, showing gratitude and not just expressing it and keeping things positive.

She said she’s found this pushes the staff at the nonprofit to take on the most challenging situations.

In other work for the community, Hovard co-leads Snohomish County’s Homeless Policy Taskforce.

She’s an advisory board member of the National Safe Place Advisory Board, which ensures that every youth in crisis will be transported to shelter safely.

She’s also the board secretary for Project Girl, an agency that fosters the advancement of young women of color to make positive life choices.

“Throughout my life I have realized how much passion I have for helping others, especially society’s most vulnerable,” she wrote.

These qualities make Hovard “someone who I see as being one of our most important community leaders in the field of human services for years to come,” wrote the person who nominated her.

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