Kelly Anoe grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago but has called Northwest Indiana her home for the last 15 years. As Vice President of the Legacy Foundation, she has been making Lake County a better place to live, one step at a time.
Anoe always knew she wanted to work with nonprofits. To pursue that passion, she earned a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in business.
“I always wanted to get into the nonprofit field. That’s something I’ve always gravitated towards,” Anoe explained. “I started my career working in direct service. I was a case manager in a hospital emergency room. I worked for a community-based counseling organization for a while, and then I moved over to administration to try and impact things on a broader policy level.”
The one-on-one, case specific experience that she gained early on in her career truly laid the foundation for the work she does at Legacy today. Those experiences demonstrated the importance of listening and what it takes to be an effective leader.
“[It is important] to go in with an open mind and without any preconceived agenda and just listen to the needs and the wants of the community and the organizations that you’re working with,” Anoe said. “I think a strong leader demonstrates flexibility and a willingness to adapt to the needs of the organization.”
This approach has proven results. During her four years with the Legacy Foundation, Anoe has been integral in enhancing the leadership potential for the organization. From ‘Neighborhood Spotlight’ to ‘On the Table’ to the current establishment of a ‘Community Development Corporation’ (CDC), one success has led to another.
“As each of these initiatives has evolved, we have evaluated and built upon the successes and the lessons learned to move them into the next stage,” she said.
During the day, Anoe spends her time overseeing grant distribution for nonprofit organizations and takes on advisory roles for community initiatives. In the evening, she is also very civically active, attending community events and volunteering where she can.
“If there are things happening at the nonprofits, I definitely will make sure I go out and volunteer,” she said. “I think that’s a part of really engaging with the community and what’s happening in the neighborhoods.”
While her weeks are jam-packed, Anoe spends her free time with her family. In fact, family is one of the primary reasons she moved here in the first place.
“I moved here when my daughter was 4-years-old because it was a good community to raise my daughter in...They had great organizations that were providing programs for youth, [and] they had strong schools,” Anoe said.
The abundance of opportunity and the family-friendly atmosphere attracted Anoe and her daughter to Lake County. What has made them stay, however, are the people.
“One of the things that I see across all [Lake County] communities is that there’s amazing people here. No matter where you go, you feel that sense of community and you feel that commitment and passion from the residents who are working together to make their neighborhood the best place possible to live and work and play.”
It is this sense of unity and determination that inspires Anoe to continue doing the work she does with the Legacy Foundation.
“I’m really fortunate in the role that I’m in,” Anoe expressed. “...to be able to work with so many people in Lake County who are just really committed to their neighborhoods, to their community, and are working together to improve the quality of life.”