Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates brings on new leadership

Since its launch in 2015, Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates (LIA) has worked to bring stability to West Michigan families and communities through legal services, advocacy, and education. 

The organization’s new Executive Director, Eva S. Alexander, will continue the vision and leadership of LIA, work launched by Sarah Yore-Van Oosterhout, Lighthouse’s Founder and Managing Attorney.

“Eva’s leadership of Lighthouse promises to continue the good work we’re doing and also broaden our impact in West Michigan. She brings outstanding development, operational, and management skills to Lighthouse, which will be critical as we seek to expand our capacity to serve the immigration legal services needs of our community,” says Yore-Van Oosterhout.

She praised Yah-Hanna Jenkins Leys for her service as the organization’s interim executive director over the past year. During her tenure, she strengthened the foundation of Lighthouse through her fundraising initiatives, board development, and development of internal policies and procedures. 

“I am excited to partner with Yah-Hanna in her new role at the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, as well as her roles with Women of Color Give and the Lakeshore Coalition for Racial Justice,” Yore-Van Oosterhout says.

Strategic plan

The transition is part of Lighthouse’s strategic plan to continue to provide stellar legal services, be a premier source of education on matters of immigration reform and be a staunch advocate for immigrants in the West Michigan area. 
“As a Latina leader, I aim to use my voice to advocate for others. I believe that all people are worthy of care, compassion, and dignity,” says Alexander. “My partnership and exciting new role with LIA will allow me to continue this work and make a significant impact on families here in West Michigan.”
Alexander will lead the organization beginning on Nov. 30, 2020. 

She describes her leadership style as one focused on equity, valuing individual contributions, and serving as a resource to others. She believes that her personal values align closely with LIA’s values and that these transcend events and programs.

‘The right partner’

Board President Taiyoh Afrik added that he is confident in Alexander’s strengths and ability to lead the organization into the future.

“Over the past few months, many at LIA have worked diligently in our search for a new executive director. We knew we found the right partner and leader as soon as we interacted with Eva,” Afrik says. 
Alexander’s previous work has provided her extensive nonprofit, hospitality, and event management experience. She previously held positions at YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, the American Red Cross of West Michigan, and management positions in the hospitality industry. 
Lighthouse also organizes events, workshops, presentations, campaigns, and initiatives to advocate and educate the West Michigan community on issues impacting immigrants and refugees. 

Read more about LIA's work:

Coming home: Family navigates immigration during COVID-19 crisis

Law is a tool to help for Holland immigration attorney and advocate


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