Courage Connection director chosen as Champaign County deputy admin


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URBANA — Isak Griffiths, the executive director of Champaign-based Courage Connection, is leaving that agency next month to fill the newly created deputy director of administration position for Champaign County.

County Executive Darlene Kloeppel said Griffiths will begin her new job Jan. 22.

Griffiths will support her office and primarily be responsible for personnel and human-resources development, Kloeppel said.

"I think she'll be great. She's got a lot of great skills. She has the right education and experience for the job," Kloeppel said.

Griffiths has led Courage Connection, a nonprofit agency serving victims of domestic violence, since 2014.

A search to replace her will begin immediately, and the agency's senior leadership team will jointly handle her job in the interim, according to Michael Ujcich, Courage Connection's director of development.

Griffiths brought leadership and the power of compassion to her position at Courage Connection, Ujcich said. But he also sees her filling the county position as a great opportunity for the community, he said.

"Our agency staff, board of directors and especially our clients wish to thank Isak for service to our community and wish her the best in her new role," he said.

Kloeppel said she invited Griffiths to apply for the job.

"When Darlene first asked me, I was stunned," Griffiths recalled.

As she looks at the challenges facing Champaign County and its residents, she said, many of those challenges intersect with what's done at Courage Connection. Her new job gives her the opportunity to serve not only those being helped by Courage Connection but to help with challenges across the community.

"It really is being a part of the bigger conversation," she said.

Griffiths is an Air Force veteran with both a bachelor's degree and MBA from the University of Illinois. Before coming to Courage Connection, she managed her own leadership development business, facilitated Dale Carnegie training programs and developed systems, programs and training courses in the library systems and telecommunications industries, according to the agency.

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