I am back with my last employee profile blog. Our last, but certainly not least, employee is Executive Director Nate Lichti. His favorite color is orange and he has a three year old dog. Lichti likes to ride bikes and spend time with his 13 year old daughter. At HAND, Lichti has played a crucial role from day one. He has been coordinating, organizing, keeping people informed, and making sure that HAND’s work is always for the mission of the company since the very beginning. Unfortunately, Lichti will be leaving our organization shortly, but I don’t want you to miss the opportunity to meet a great, passionate man.
Lichti started his occupation with a master’s in nonprofit management where he grew his passion for helping his community. He loves doing work that is meaningful to him and makes an impact on the ones around him. When I asked why his job was important to him he explained, “It’s a part of my identity. It also fits the community’s needs. It’s very strategic in the way that HAND can improve the community, and build relationships.”
Lichti loves to form personal relationships with the people HAND serves. He also says that, “A lot of people think I encounter a lot of resistance everywhere I go, but we have so many backers and supporters. So, I love to see people surprise me or those around them. Sometimes people start in a confrontational place, but inevitably there’s kindness and generosity and a spirit of caring that comes out. That’s usually the best and most fulfilling part of my job.”
Neighbors who are able to support HAND and see the benefits of helping their community play a huge role in expanding and assisting the organization in its goals. When people are capable of seeing new perspectives and show an interest in caring for their neighbors, it becomes a lot easier to improve the quality of life for everyone. I also asked Lichti why HAND should matter to all types of people in Hamilton County and he clarified, “HAND is about building community, which in our society we grapple with. We’re very self-motivated or family motivated. But I think that in community development there’s a greater opportunity for that community fabric to be rewoven and strengthened. So for people looking to build and strengthen their community, I think HAND is uniquely positioned to do that.”
The interview progressed to Lichti’s reflection on his work at HAND. He has put a lot of time, effort, and passion into his years spent working to grow affordable housing in Hamilton County, and I was curious as to what he thought of it all. I started by asking him what he considered his greatest achievement and he replied, “I’m most proud of the work we’ve done to broaden the base of support, to generate support beyond the board directors. We hadn’t been relevant to many communities that really needed us but didn’t know it. Now we have been able to form many more partnerships and establish many more relationships with all of the communities. I’m grateful for where we’ve gotten.” Gaining support has been a key factor to the success of HAND, and with Lichti’s help and guidance, HAND has been able to grow immensely.
I also asked him what his hopes were for the future of HAND after he leaves. Lichti explained, “I hope HAND can continue to develop. I hope that the communities continue to support HAND. HAND needs some ongoing support to maintain a capacity to provide these services in communities. So I think pledges will help HAND get the resources and support it needs to keep going.”
Lastly, I asked Lichti how he felt about his overall experience working with HAND and the communities of Hamilton County. Lichti responded, saying, “I have been very grateful for the opportunity. It’s been tremendously fulfilling and satisfying. The encouragement I’ve received during our campaigns when there was a lot of controversy—the core support that we’ve had is critical.” Even when faced with challenges, Lichti enjoyed the hard work it took to help his neighbors of Hamilton County. He went on to say, “I’ve learned so much from local leaders, from people on the street. I’ve gotten a whole other sense of the interrelationship between suburban communities and the state as a whole. I feel like I’ve learned so much and I appreciate everyone for teaching me.”
Lichti is very sad to leave HAND, because of the great experiences, challenges, opportunities, and achievements he was met with. He has worked hard to build HAND into an organization that is able to help people of all different backgrounds and build up a community that everyone in Hamilton County can be proud of. Lichti explains, “HAND is really important for the future of Hamilton County. I really want people to recognize it and to be on the lookout for a campaign this summer that will be raising awareness for HAND and the affordable housing needs of Hamilton County. I hope people will be ready to rally behind and help distribute and raise support for HAND for this upcoming campaign.” Lichti hopes that HAND will thrive and continue to do what is was made to do: help its fellow neighbors and neighborhoods. We are sad to see such an inspiring leader, worker, neighbor, and friend go, but we wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavors.