Liz co-founded SBP in 2006, after spending two weeks with her then boyfriend, Zack, volunteering in New Orleans six months after Hurricane Katrina. Today she is the Executive Director of SBP’s New Orleans operation. She leads SBP’s ongoing rebuilding work in the city, including the direction of SBP’s volunteer management and construction team. She has also led the expansion of SBP’s innovative Opportunity Housing program, which redevelops blighted New Orleans properties into affordable homes for first-time low-moderate-income home buyers and generates revenue that is reinvested into SBP’s owner-occupied rebuilding program.
In partnership with Toyota, Liz led her team to reduce the average time to rebuild a house from 116 to 61 days. The model used to achieve these results has become SBP’s standard construction model, applied to all of the organization’s work nationwide.
Liz speaks nationally on a number of topics including disaster recovery and women’s leadership. She has delivered addresses at her alma mater, Boston College, and participated on panels at the Farmers Insurance Open Executive Women’s Day.
In 2008, Liz was named the CNN Hero of the Year for her innovative work in helping Katrina survivors return home and in 2016 she was nominated as a CNN SuperHero of the Decade for her continued work in disaster recovery in South Louisiana following devastating floods that summer. In recognition of her dedication, Liz has twice been named a White House Champion of Change (2011 and 2013) and in 2011 was awarded an Urban Innovation Fellowship at Tulane University to scale and replicate SBP’s model across the country, with support from the university.
Prior to founding SBP, Liz taught middle school in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Before that she served with the Peace Corps in Lesotho in southern Africa. She received a B.A. from Boston College, an M.A. from The George Washington University, and an honorary doctoral degree from Muhlenberg College.
Liz and her husband, Zack, live in New Orleans with their son, Jack, and two cats.
Zack directs the strategic vision, marketing, partnership development, and fundraising for the nonprofit organization, which he co-founded following Hurricane Katrina.
Among the innovative programs at SBP that Zack has designed are: Good Work/Good Pay, a construction training program for veterans, unemployed or under-employed local citizens, and citizens recently released from jail; Opportunity Housing, an innovative blight eradicating/affordable housing program that turns blighted properties into well-built affordable housing, while creating well-paying jobs for struggling community members; and Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lab for training other organizations in SBP's systems and processes.
Zack has been recognized as New Orleanian of the Year and Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project Champion of Justice. He has received the Manhattan Institute Social Innovation Award, an Honorary Doctorate from Muhlenberg College, and a distinguished alumnus award from Washington College of Law.
Zack speaks nationally on a broad array of topics including organizational culture development, high-impact innovation, post-disaster recovery and leadership. His work has been featured in Newsweek, US News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.
Before founding SBP, Zack was an E. Barrett Prettyman Teaching Fellow at the Georgetown University Law Center. He ran an indigent criminal defense practice in Washington, DC. One of his most meaningful victories was freeing a man who served 23 years for a murder that he did not commit.
This was excellent. Very impressive what SBP has done over the years with help from Toyota. Lots of good takeaways for all of us, even if you don't work with nonprofits or disaster recovery. Really applicable for nonprofit and those who work in construction or government agencies.
Hearing the lean transformation from those going through it gives me a better appreciation of what they are going through, and will help me with my clients.
It's also a short read, it took me about 3 hours to finish.
We are so proud to have published this book. I also sent a copy of Getting Home to President and Mrs. Carter, in recognition of their commitment to housing issues. I received a lovely letter in return thanking us for the book and the good work with Lean.