In honor of #TriviaTuesday this week, we wanted to share some trivia about our new Executive Director, Liz Haynes! We’re so excited to have her on staff leading this organization, and we KNOW she comes equipped with the energy and passion needed to take downtown to the next level. Read more about her here, and then be sure to say “hi” when you see her out and about.
Tell me about your connections to Downtown Cape.
I was born and raised in Downtown Cape. My family owned 3 businesses downtown while I was growing up, and we lived at 605 Broadway, the building which is now the Indie House. My dad owned Robertson’s Photography and his studio was on the first floor of our home with his darkroom in the basement. My mom started Annie Laurie’s Antique Mall, and we also owned and operated a bed and breakfast on our property. My mom is still a downtown small business owner as she has a mental health practice, A Step at a Time Counseling, which is next door to Annie Laurie’s. My fondest childhood memories took place in Cape from walks to the river and visiting downtown businesses along the way, racing turtles at Riverfest, playing in the fountain at the Courthouse grounds, lemonade stands on Broadway, going to school at St. Mary’s and so much more.
What were you doing before this and why did you choose to come back?
After graduating from Mizzou with a degree in Communication, I launched my career in the non-profit sector in St. Louis. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated college outside of the fact that I knew I wanted to make an impact on the world in some way. Working as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross accomplished that personal mission for my first 5 years out of college. I then transitioned into higher-ed, working at Maryville University as Assistant Director of Alumni Relations. After 3 ½ years in that position, I was promoted to Director of Special Programs. In this role, I managed all aspects of the philanthropic arm of the University, Kids Rock Cancer. I was also charged with launching a Women and Leadership program at the University during that time. After 7 years at Maryville, I was recruited to Washington University in St. Louis. For the past year, I was Regional Director of Development and Donor Engagement for the New York region. I worked to engage alumni and parents in Manhattan and Westchester with the University through fundraising, events, and activities. I had always hoped I’d land back in my hometown as Cape is truly where my heart is, but the right opportunity just hadn’t presented itself until the Executive Director for Old Town Cape position came onto my radar. I knew immediately this would be a great fit as I can speak very authentically to the mission. Downtown Cape is a different place than it was 17 years ago when I left the area, thanks in large part to the incredible work of Old Town Cape. It is a dream come true to lead this wonderful organization!
What do you hope to accomplish as our new director?
I feel strongly that Old Town Cape is set up for success at this point in time, thanks to the incredible work of Marla Mills and the Old Town Cape staff, the organization’s Board of Directors, and the stakeholders within the local community. I feel that we have an enormous opportunity to build on this success as we embark on the next chapter of the organization. With my background in development as well as the support of a very engaged Board of Directors, there is a tremendous opportunity to engage current investors at a deeper level as well as uncover new friends to help us move forward with the priorities determined in the strategic plan and to ensure the sustainability of the organization. I’d also love to see us continue to share our success stories with the community in various ways to ensure folks are aware of the mission and work of Old Town Cape. We have fantastic partnerships with community stakeholders and collaboration is key, so it’s also a priority of mine to strengthen and sustain those relationships in every way possible.
What’s your favorite part about downtown?
Having lived and worked in St. Louis for 13 years and after working in Manhattan for the past year, what I really appreciate about Downtown Cape is that it offers much of what can be found in big cities as far as entertainment, lodging, restaurants, scenery, and shopping and yet it has that friendly, small-town charm and rich character that makes residents and visitors alike feel that they belong. All of that coupled with the fact that Downtown Cape Girardeau is picturesque and the local economy is thriving makes our downtown a wonderful place to live, work, and play.
What do you do for fun?
In my free time, I like to travel, see live theater, do Zumba, bake, and spend time with my family and friends. Theater has been my passion since the age of 5, so I love to be on stage any chance I get as well.