Bray departs LISC Milwaukee

Executive director resigns after four months


Last updated on July 7th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

Laura Bray, executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s (LISC) Milwaukee office, resigned from the community development organization on Friday after a four-month run at its helm.


Her resignation, effective immediately, surprised internal staff, said Dawn Hutchison-Weiss, communications director of LISC Milwaukee.

“We were very excited that Laura was hired for this position, and so we didn’t really anticipate this transition,” Hutchison-Weiss said.

Bray’s leave was prompted by feelings that her leadership position with LISC wasn’t “a good fit” for her or her family, according to Hutchison-Weiss.

“Laura told us that it was not a fit for her with her young family,” Hutchison-Weiss said.

Bray came aboard LISC Milwaukee in August,  succeeding longtime leader Leo Ries. Prior to her appointment, she served as chief executive officer of BioFoward Inc., the member-drive Wisconsin affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

Bray was appointed to the head of BioFoward Inc. in September 2014 and left that organization in May, citing a desire to refocus her career on and in Milwaukee.

To carry LISC Milwaukee forward after Bray’s departure, Chuck Vliek, a program vice president of LISC who is based in Kalamazoo, Mich., will serve as interim executive director. Vliek also filled in as interim executive director following Leo Ries’ leave.

LISC Milwaukee is part of a national LISC organization, which has field staff overseeing local programs. Vliek is the program vice president that LISC Milwaukee is accountable to, according to Hutchison-Weiss. During a leadership transition, the national organization mandates that a national representative step into the interim leadership role, Hutchison-Weiss said.

During the transition, Hutchison-Weiss will also serve as interim deputy director “to continue with the continuity of decision-making and operations at the local level,” until a new executive director is named, she said.

LISC Milwaukee’s board of directors is currently working with the national office to determine the process for the selection of the next leader.

“I think that we’ll be looking for someone at the local level who understands Milwaukee,” Hutchison-Weiss said of the search process.

While looking for a new executive director, LISC Milwaukee will continue focusing on running its menu of existing programs, which includes the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) Program and its MANDI Awards Program.

“All of our programs are expected to carry on as they have,” Hutchison-Weiss said.

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