Four Hands on the Wheel
Lawrence, KS, February 1, 2021– Van Go, Inc. announces new Co-Executive Directors Eliza Darmon and Kristen Malloy, both seasoned Van Go staff members, to lead the organization into the future.
The new leadership format, approved unanimously by Van Go’s Board of Directors, began January 1, 2021. Each woman brings a unique set of skills and specialty area to their positions: Eliza in Development and Operations, and Kristen in Program Administration and Human Resources.
“Together we look forward to creating a model of leadership at Van Go that exemplifies the invaluable job skills of teamwork, collaboration, communication and shared leadership that we teach our youth every day. Last year’s challenges affirmed the benefits of this integrated approach. It is with deep respect for one another and reverence for Van Go’s roots that we will steward this cherished organization into the future,” said Darmon and Malloy.
“We are delighted that Kristen and Eliza will be serving as Co-Executive Directors of Van Go.They did an exceptional job leading Van Go in 2020, and we know they will continue to strengthen and grow this award-winning social service organization. Working in tandem, and supported by an extraordinary staff, our new Co-Executive Directors will propel Van Go forward in its mission to support and empower at-risk youth through the development of essential work and life skills. Van Go is strong and its work has never been more vital. We congratulate these incredibly talented leaders and look forward to supporting them in their ongoing work on behalf of our youth and community, “ said John Bullock, 2020 President of Van Go’s Board of Directors.
Eliza graduated from KU with a Journalism Degree, soon joining the Peace Corps, affirming her passion for underserved populations. She is a 20 year marketing and communications professional who served as Van Go’s first Marketing Director. In 2014 she became Van Go’s Development Director, successfully managing their $1 Million Endowment Campaign from 2015-2018. Eliza authentically connects with donors and develops genuine partnerships with area businesses and regional funders. Under Eliza’s stewardship, Van Go has exceeded fundraising goals year after year. She fervently believes in Van Go youth and the creative and holistic ways Van Go strives to meet their needs.
“I am continually impressed with Eliza’s ability to navigate fundraising amid a pandemic. Through her creative problem solving and strong donor relationships I trust that Van Go’s future is bright. Over the years she has developed wonderful friendships with our donors and friends and is a natural fit for her new position. Every announcement I’ve made about the new leadership has been met with enthusiasm,” said Sandy Praeger, Van Go Board Member.
Kristen brings more than twenty years of mission-driven administrative and program development experience to her new role at Van Go. Having completed her bachelor’s in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and her master’s in Clinical Psychology from Fort Hays State University, she earned her license as a master’s level psychologist (LMLP) and began her service to the youth in our community. Since moving to Lawrence in 2001, Kristen has served as the Executive Director for The Partnership for Children and Youth, Inc. and the Family Services Supervisor for The Shelter, Inc. For the past ten years, she has served as the Director of Programs at Van Go where she developed and implemented all youth programming, employing a strengths-based approach to training and leadership development for all program participants. Kristen’s dedication to cultivating partnerships, leveraging needed resources, advocating for underserved populations and empowering young people is inspiring.
“When the pandemic struck, Kristen led the extraordinary efforts to create programming to employ as many sheltering-in-place youth as possible and to safely deliver the wrap-around services Van Go is known for. Then she worked tirelessly to establish COVID safety protocols in order to bring the artists back in person. Kristen worked exceptionally hard to be responsive to the needs and concerns of our youth, our staff, our volunteers, and our community. Hearing about what was going on at Van Go was, without a doubt, one of the bright spots of 2020. As if all of that is not enough, she has so many more ideas for Van Go, and we cannot wait to see where she helps take us,” said Jennifer Roth, current Van Go Board President.