Liz Blake, senior vice president, Government Affairs, Advocacy and General Counsel
Before joining Habitat’s senior leadership team in 2006, Liz Blake had a distinguished career practicing law in both private and corporate settings. A 1977 graduate of Columbia University’s School of Law, Blake spent the first part of her career on Wall Street working for Davis Polk & Wardwell with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, securities and commercial litigation. In 1982, she moved to Cincinnati where she became a partner with Frost & Jacobs in the corporate and litigation departments.
It was while living in Cincinnati that Blake first experienced Habitat for Humanity’s house-building work firsthand through builds with her church. In addition to volunteering with Habitat, Blake served her community in a variety of volunteer positions including as board member of the Lighthouse Youth Services, the Cincinnati Symphony, the College of Mt. St. Joseph, the Contemporary Arts Center and the Ohio Board of Regents. Appointed by then-Governor and former Habitat for Humanity International board member Dick Celeste, Blake was the first woman to become chair of the Ohio Board of Regents. Blake focused on affordable access to higher education for first-time college students and students from low-income families.
Blake was also appointed to the Ohio Arts Facilities Commission and led the development of the Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts, an urban revitalization project. Blake credits her nonprofit experiences with preparing her for her work at Habitat. “Because of extensive time volunteering, I had opportunities to work in nonprofit areas that are adjacent to Habitat,” she says.
In 1996, Blake left private practice and went to work for Cinergy Corp. as vice president and chief of staff. Blake’s career then took her to General Electric Corp. as vice president and general counsel of GE Power Systems and to U.S. Airways as executive vice president of corporate affairs and general counsel. A move to Atlanta with her husband eventually led her to Habitat. In Atlanta, Blake has become a member of the Board of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Emory University Board of Visitors. Blake is also a member of the Board of the National Housing Conference, the International Housing Coalition, Summit Housing and Women Thrive. Blake will serve a one-year term in 2011 as a member of the board of the National Association of Realtors.