Creating a legacy that empowers the next generation
COLUMBUS, OH – Columbus Works, Inc. announced this week that current Founder, President and CEO Beth Gifford will be stepping down from her position at the end of the year. Beth has been the leader of Columbus Works for more than six years, and will be transitioning into a role as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors.
Gifford said “Truly, it is my desire to make room for a new generation to lead Columbus Works into its next phase. With the goal to continue revolutionizing the way we help vulnerable people engage fully in work, experience economic mobility, and disrupt poverty in central Ohio.”
After embarking on a national executive search for their next leader, Columbus Works is proud to announce that Kaiya Harris Thompson has been named Chief Executive Officer and joined the organization effective September 19, 2022. Before coming to lead Columbus Works, Kaiya was the National Director of Development Coaching for the All Stars Project, Inc. where she led the design and implementation of a virtual one-on-one leadership coaching program that connected more than 500 young adults and corporate coaches in San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, New York City, Jersey City (NJ) and Newark (NJ). Kaiya holds a B.S. in Public Health from The Richard Stockton College of NJ.
Gifford notes “This has always been about our neighbors. This natural progression from Founder to next generation will absolutely strengthen our mission and position us for a strong future. I am excited about my coming strategic role as Co-Chair of the Board, the working relationship with our new CEO, and the stories of life change that future Columbus Works Members will share as we continue to grow.”
During her role as Founder and CEO of Columbus Works Gifford innovated an award winning operating system that has resulted in over 600 individuals being served. In 2020 Gifford was named a Global Knowledge Leader by EMPath, in 2021 she was awarded the Smart50 designation, and she has been involved with the Urban Institute as an expert in workforce issues specifically involving moving individuals from low to middle-wage jobs. It is the Columbus Works unique system and wonderful team of professionals that enable the outstanding outcomes of our Members, year over year.
This year alone Columbus Works employed Members will produce over $10M in payroll, and a significant return on investment as they experience economic mobility and come off SNAP and Medicaid benefits. Columbus Works Members rise out of poverty through sustained employment and as a result experience economic mobility. Truly Columbus Works is transforming the way in which vulnerable people work their way out of poverty.
Please join us in welcoming Kaiya as the next generation leader of Columbus Works.