Blog

Reflections from our Departing CEO

by | Sep 7, 2021 | Blog, Blog: General Humanities

Michigan Humanities wanted to speak to Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki before she leaves her post as Michigan Humanities’ CEO on September 17. We asked Shelly about her experience leading our organization, what she wanted for our future, and where our community could find her next. Please read below for her answers.

What were your most rewarding moments/experiences in your six years as CEO?

I loved every minute of serving Michigan Humanities.  I truly looked forward to coming to work every single day.  My most rewarding moments were visiting the smallest towns in Michigan, and seeing the difference they were able to make with grants and programs.  Their creativity and ability to reach people was nothing short of amazing.  I also learned immensely from the people around me.  The staff and board team were innovative, kind, off-the-charts smart, and dedicated.  The IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) Action Team changed my way of thinking.  The federation of state humanities councils are brilliant group of people.  The whole experience made me a far better person, and I’ll never forget it.   Humanities have the power to change lives, every single day.

What will you miss the most about being Michigan Humanities’ CEO?

Working with the wonderful people.  Each staff and board member brought their own unique talents and strengths. The ability to work with a team of Michigan Humanities’ caliber made it possible to expand our reach and employ innovation.  I will miss the privilege of traveling around Michigan.   I believe my little car (called Jane) gained 100,000 miles or so!

What would you want for the future of Michigan Humanities? Where should we be heading?

With the Board and Staff team, and the wisdom of our IDEA Action Council, and partners all over the state, I’m confident Michigan Humanities will continue to flourish.  The collective team has built a culture of trust, and put into place a strategic framework that will support expansion of Great Michigan Read to include Great Michigan Stories. Grant-making will be enhanced.  I’m certain the Board of Directors will do a fine job in its search for a President & CEO, and that Jennifer Rupp will do a fine job as Acting CEO in the interim.  The future of humanities is in great hands.

Where are you going next? Where can the MH community find you?
It took a monumental opportunity for me to consider leaving. I will begin as President & CEO of the Fremont Area Community Foundation here in Michigan. This is a foundation which has an incredible culture, accountability, and resources.  It is the fourth largest community foundation per capita in the country.  I will eagerly seek partnership opportunities with the many friends I’ve made, and will always be a MH donor and program participant.  I plan to keep in touch, and will be reachable there, beginning in October.
We wish Shelly all the best in her future role as the President & CEO of the Fremont Area Community Foundation and thank her for her six years of service in which we saw our organization grow so much!

Latest Entries

A Night with Great Michigan Read Author Angeline Boulley: Attending the One Book, One Community of Monroe County’s Event

Our Great Michigan Read (GMR) Spring Author Tour is starting next week, and we couldn’t be more excited! Our Director of Programs, Katie Wittenauer, and I, Jennifer Sierra, DEI Coordinator, couldn’t contain our anticipation and decided to attend the One Book, One...

Visiting “Colonial Colonnade,” an exhibit by artist Doris Bittar, at the Arab American National Museum

The Arab American National Museum opened the exhibit “Colonial Colonnade" by artist Doris Bittar on November 9. I, Jennifer Sierra, was fortunate to attend the opening reception on November 10 and witness the live music and dance performances by Clarissa Bitar and...

How to Write a Strong Grant Project Proposal 

As our Humanities Grant deadline is approaching on September 7, we wanted to compile a list of tips to help you write a compelling project description. With this aim, we asked Michigan Humanities Director of Grants, James Nelson, and the Michigan Arts and Culture...

MIHumanities Neighborhoods: Visiting The Black Bottom Street View Exhibit

The Black Bottom Street View is an exhibit by the Black Bottom Archives Project available at the Dequindre Cut Walk in Detroit from June 19 to July 31, 2023. This exhibit presents photos from the former Black Bottom neighborhood, which previously stood on the grounds...

MIHumanities Neighborhoods: Visiting our Partners in Lansing

Michigan Humanities started monthly blog posts at the end of 2020 as a way to connect with our community while our programming and events moved to a virtual format. The monthly blog was coordinated by Jennifer Sierra, Michigan Humanities’ Diversity, Equity, and...