Elizabeth “Liz” Kerns, IOM
Business Continuity Manager
My motivations to work in the nonprofit industry stem from my calling to positively move our society forward as global citizens and lead by example for my three boys making the world a better place for the future. Before I even graduated from college, I knew I wanted to work with chambers of commerce after interning for the Jonesboro (AR) Regional Chamber. While chambers are nonprofits, their mission to be the voice for businesses and change-agent within a community solidified my career trajectory working to support a community from the inside out.
I have spent my career working with chambers of commerce or teaching communication and nonprofit management in higher education. In fact, while teaching college students, chambers of commerce were often at the heart of my pedagogy where my students conducted projects, events, media relations, or research projects for the local chambers through experiential learning opportunities. Moreover, my thesis for my Master’s Degree in Communication was on crisis communication for chambers and my Doctoral dissertation is on community-university partnerships.
While I love working with nonprofits professionally, I also dedicate my personal time to them. Because being involved with our children’s activities are important to me and my husband, we both find ways to stay active within those organizations. While my husband serves as the cub master for our local Boy Scouts, I have found spending my time as a board member for the Sagamore Council beneficial. Additionally, we both serve as volunteers for our children’s swim team. Giving of ourselves is the best way to lead by example for our children and positively lean into our community.
Liz is a highly driven, entrepreneurial leader with extensive experience in organization management from local and state chambers of commerce to a multi-national diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting agency. As an ecosystem-builder, she has spent her career working at the intersection of nonprofit organization management, higher education, workforce leadership development, and community-university partnerships building strategic alliances to further progressive organizational goals.
Her professional and academic work is rooted in applying best practices to developing training and education programs for professionals across the workforce and career continuum in order to strengthen organizations and teams. Through leadership training grounded in experiential learning, Liz believes that organizations have the opportunity to build stronger foundations by way of maximizing resources and empowering authentic, diverse, and inclusive teams.
In addition to being part of Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, Liz is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Leads Fellowship on Workforce Development and Training. She facilitates Leadership Kokomo, teaches communication at Purdue Polytechnic Institute, and is earning her Doctorate in Education in Ethical Leadership. In her community, Liz is on the board of directors for the Boy Scouts of America Sagamore Council and President-Elect for Kokomo (IN) Early Risers Rotary. In November 2020, the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives named Liz as a “40 Under 40 Emerging Leader Shaping the Chamber Industry.”
Summary of Experience
- Led Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance.
- Spent eight years in higher education at Olivet Nazarene University and Central Washington University.
- Began career as Director of Local Chamber Relations and Event Management for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and was President of the Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
- Earned the U.S Chamber Institute for Organization Management (IOM) certificate and Illinois Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Accredited Chamber Executive (ACE).
- Master’s Degree in Communication from University of Illinois at Springfield; Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Public Relations from Arkansas State University.