I-House announces the retirement of Interim Executive Director, Lou Ziskind

lou11It is with mixed feelings that the International House Davis Board of Directors announces the retirement of Interim Executive Director Lou Ziskind, as of October 2, 2017.  We are happy to see Lou embark on new adventures, but are sad to see him go.  Lou has provided us with outstanding leadership, infused with his signature qualities of patience, grace, humor and kindness.  Put simply, Lou has made our community a better place.

Lou joined I-House on March 1, 2015, following the retirement of Executive Director Elisabeth Sherwin.  Lou’s initial mission was to provide leadership and continuity for the organization until recruitment could begin for a permanent Executive Director.  His term was to have lasted 6 months, but turned into a period of two and a half years.

An experienced leader in the non-profit world both locally and internationally, Lou has provided a stable and convivial environment for staff, membership and visitors alike.  He has been diligent in overseeing key programs and events, including the annual October International Festival, annual I-House Thanksgiving Dinner; and springtime cultural dinners to celebrate The Persian New Year and Brazilian culture.  He has also served in the role of ambassador to distinguished institutions and individuals, welcoming groups of Humphrey Fellows and Mandela Fellows.  Lou has also planned and co-hosted annual membership meetings, worked with staff to distribute the annual SEN Volunteer Award, and supervised and guided support staff.  Just as important, Lou has helped initiate and train I-House’s numerous volunteers and interns, including many UC Davis students.

Lou has also ably joined in the everyday governance of I-House, serving on its many committees, and working closely with the Board of Directors and Board President.  As part of this work, he has built strong relationships with the leaders of at least a dozen ongoing I-House programs.  Crucially, Lou has maintained strong ties with the Davis community, including leaders from UC Davis and Davis city government, as well as a host of non-profits, charities, faith communities, and businesses.

Being the Executive Director of International House Davis is a demanding job.  Lou has been more than up to the task.  Over the past two years, he has spent many full days and evenings presiding over and attending an impressive array of I-House events and meetings.  Whether pitching an idea at a lively board discussion, teaching newcomers about Thanksgiving traditions, or learning new dance steps at a cultural dinner, Lou has always been fully present and engaged.  One could always spot him in the crowd, wearing a quiet smile, with a mischievous glimmer in his eyes.

Indeed, Lou’s friendly and unassuming style, coupled with his devotion to staff and volunteers, has won him the deep affection of people throughout the community.  The “Reign of Louis I” will be remembered as one of civility and warmth, marked by many lasting friendships across cultures and borders.

The Board of Directors sincerely congratulates Lou on his retirement.  We wish to express our gratitude for all his service, and for the high standards he has bequeathed us as a leader, citizen, and humanitarian.  We wish Lou the very best in the next chapter of his life.

We invite Lou’s friends, and members of the extended I-House family, to drop by his office to express their best wishes for a happy and fruitful retirement.

Yours truly,

The President and Members of the Board of Directors,

International House Davis