Extraordinary Ventures, a company with the goal of creating businesses employed by a neurodiverse workforce, hired Lisa Kaylie as their new executive director on March 1.
The organization has invested in multiple programs, including dog walking and laundry services, according to their website.
Before accepting the position, Kaylie said she served on the Extraordinary Ventures board for two years. She was motivated to get into local community activism after her first son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
“We needed someone who had a business background, who understood how nonprofits work, who had connections in the community and who understood autism," said Kaylie, who graduated from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and has prior experience working for nonprofit organizations. “As we were talking, I started to realize I was probably that person.”
Kaylie said it was important to her to be involved in organizations that focused on awareness for all disabilities, rather than just autism spectrum disorder.
"I was really interested in being involved in organizations like Kidzu Children’s Museum because I could serve as a voice for disability awareness in a room where maybe most people were not thinking about that,” Kaylie said.
While Extraordinary Ventures will never grow big enough to fully employ the entire neurodiverse workforce, it can work to promote other businesses looking to hire diverse individuals, Kaylie said.
Jacklyn Googins, executive director at B3 Coffee, — a nonprofit partnered with Extraordinary Ventures that aims to dismantle stigma and influence change by bringing people together through coffee — said Kaylie is full of enthusiasm and energy with a willingness to listen to and learn from people who are most affected by issues.
“That’s what I appreciate most about her as a leader,” Googins said. “She’s always full of ideas and passion.”