President and CEO
Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake Inc.
When the pandemic hit and Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake closed all its stores throughout the region, president and CEO Lisa A. Rusyniak and her team continued to offer their 72,000 services virtually, while also helping 804 individuals get jobs with an average hourly wage of $13.86.
Rusyniak, who has worked at Goodwill for 26 years, including 12 years as CEO, credits her success to predecessor Marge Thomas – the first female CEO of Goodwill. She says, she is fortunate to have mentors who have “inspired, challenged and supported” her development and leadership abilities, while also providing her opportunities to create and lead her own initiatives.
“When others believe in you and you in turn help develop and refi ne their skills, there is a connection, respect and admiration on both sides,” she says. “It makes even the most difficult problems easier to resolve and generates an environment of trust, creativity and camaraderie.”
Th roughout the pandemic, Rusyniak says she continues to stay connected with her team and problem-solve through Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It was a difficult year strategizing how to control expenses and manage finances without open retail stores to generate revenue, she says. Collaboration helped with that.
“As a leader, you simply can’t get through a crisis like the pandemic without an effective and passionate leadership team,” she says. “We worked tirelessly so we could continue helping people most in need in our communities and our commitment to our mission inspires us every day.”