Melwood Names Larysa Kautz as President & CEO
October 22, 2020
UPPER MARLBORO, MD, October 22, 2020 – Melwood’s Board of Directors has named Larysa Kautz as the next President & CEO of the $112M AbilityOne nonprofit with more than 1,600 employees working across five campuses and 60+ federal contract sites in the greater Washington D.C. area.
For more than 57 years, Melwood has provided job training and employment support for thousands of people with disabilities and injured veterans. Melwood also serves as an advocacy and thought leader on disability employment and the federal U.S. AbilityOne Program.
“I believe deeply in Melwood’s mission and it’s an honor to serve our community, together with our excellent staff and federal and corporate partners,” said Kautz. “Neurodiversity and inclusion need to be hallmarks of the American workforce. I’m excited to build on Melwood’s success to help make this dream a reality.”
Kautz’s selection as President & CEO comes at a pivotal point, as Melwood implements a strategic plan of sustainable growth, innovative programs, diversified revenue, and data-driven advocacy to modernize the AbilityOne Program.
“Larysa’s breadth of experience with Melwood’s programs, contracting, and advocacy, paired with her excellent leadership both inside the organization and with our external partners made her a natural choice to successfully lead Melwood into the future,” said Don Hathway, Chair of the Melwood Board.
After receiving her JD from Yale and her LLM from Georgetown, Kautz practiced law with a focus on domestic and international nonprofit organizations. As the mother of a child on the autism spectrum, she is passionate about Melwood’s mission of inclusion.
Kautz had previously served as the organization’s General Counsel, Chief of Staff and, most recently, interim President & CEO. She currently serves on numerous commissions and boards, including the Virginia State Rehabilitation Council and the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, and has previously consulted for President Obama’s Office of White House Counsel and Virginia Governor Northam’s Transition Team. She was named one of the 2017 Leading Women in Maryland by The Daily Record, received the 2019 In-House Innovator Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel, and is an alumna of the Arlington Leadership Center for Excellence.
Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.
Vice President of Government and Public Relations