Following a successful search for a new chief executive officer, the East Lansing Info (ELi) Board of Directors has voted unanimously to name Beth Peck as ELi’s next Executive Director and Publisher.
Peck’s educational and professional background along with her dynamism and passion for ELi’s mission led the board to choose her for the position out of six applicants.
Peck graduated from Michigan State University in 2004 with a degree in journalism and a specialization in public relations, and her career has spanned marketing, fundraising, and nonprofit management. She has been a regional director of development for MSU and, before that, an assistant director of development for Eastern Michigan University’s foundation.
More recently, since 2018, she has served as the Executive Director for Project Koru, which provides peer-to-peer support for young adult cancer survivors. Peck has brought Project Koru up to a revenue level about twice ELi’s current annual level.
ELi was founded in 2014 to provide factual, timely, nonpartisan news about East Lansing, Michigan. It has steadily developed a reputation for providing an exceptional level of community, watchdog and investigative news for this community while other towns and cities nationwide have been losing local news coverage.
In early 2022, a loss of key staff at ELi led to a need to suspend publishing. A Task Force was formed to assess ELi’s resources and provide recommendations to the Board of Directors – which oversees ELi’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation – about how to move forward.
The Task Force recommended beginning with hiring a new managing editor to get back to publishing as quickly as possible, and Managing Editor Julie Seraphinoff was hired in September 2022. The task force also recommended having Alice Dreger (this reporter) resume the work of Executive Director and Publisher until operations stabilized enough to conduct a successful search and transition.
The search that just completed began two months ago and the board and top management staff are thrilled with the outcome.
“At ELI, we were extremely fortunate to have some exceptional candidates apply for the Executive Director role,” Chuck Grigsby, President of ELi’s Board of Directors, said. “Following my interview with Beth, I was confident that she possessed the necessary experience, qualifications, work ethic, and personality to drive ELI’s progress and continue building upon the solid foundation established by Alice Dreger’s leadership.”
“Between her journalism background and experience running a non-profit organization, I’m confident Beth will lead Eli into a very bright future,” said Karessa Wheeler, Board Secretary. “Her kindness, humor and professionalism are all assets that will allow her to bond with the staff and board as well as donors and community members. I look forward to working with Beth for years to come.”
“Beth brings with an impressive amount of experience and expertise in nonprofits, and I’m really excited to see what she can do for ELi,” said Board member Adan Tomas Quan, co-editor of the high school’s Portrait newspaper. “I’m looking forward to seeing her build more relationships with donors, community members, staff and everyone else who works with and supports ELi’s work.”
Peck knew about the job opening because she’s an avid reader of ELi.
“As a resident of East Lansing raising three children here, I rely on ELi to keep my family informed,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be able to utilize both my vast knowledge of the nonprofit world and my background in journalism to give back to the community I love through ELi.”
Peck’s role will be to run the business side of ELi – to assure ELi continues to comply with all state and federal requirements for nonprofit organizations, to manage personnel issues and policies, to maintain and grow relationships with our local and national partners, and to be primarily responsible for raising the funds needed for ELi to bring the news.
My stepping away from this role will benefit ELi as I have been juggling this job, ELi reporting, and my mainstream writing career (separate from ELi). Now, ELi will have an expert Executive Director and Publisher dedicated specifically to that work. As previously explained, I will continue to support ELi’s work with reporting – including investigative reporting – and by helping with editing and fundraising. I’ll also help with the transition, of course, although Beth’s expertise and skills will make the transition faster and smoother than anticipated when we began the search.
Beth Peck’s hiring marks a critical step in the sustainability of ELi in this tenth year of operations and comes at a time when the news and information need in East Lansing has been running particularly high.
Peck starts this job today, Monday, May 15.
“My immediate goals are to increase funding so ELi can properly report on news at all levels in East Lansing, along with growing and diversifying our readership,” Peck said. “All East Lansing residents deserve access to quality news about their community.”