Nikwasi Initiative hires first executive director

by May 19, 2020NEWS ka-no-he-da


Following an extensive talent search, Nikwasi Initiative (N.I.) has hired Elaine Eisenbraun of Long Creek, Ore., as its first executive director. 

“Elaine has already begun working from her home, and will soon be moving to western North Carolina,” said Barbara McRae, N.I. co-chair. “She brings an unusual depth of experience in fields that overlap with our mission and a set of skills that are vital for us at this stage in the organization’s life.”

Funding for the position has been made possible by the generous support of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, McRae said.

“The position was advertised nationally,” she said. We felt that the large number of highly qualified people who applied reflects well both on the attractiveness of our region and on the esteem with which Nikwasi Initiative is held across the country. 

“A diligent search committee took on the task of interviewing and making recommendations, and we much appreciate the hard work they did. In the end, Elaine emerged as the perfect fit. Her background proves her to be an innovative thinker, and a doer. She has had a lot of experience building young organizations like ours, and she has a strong grant-writing and fundraising background. As the Cherokee are partners in this Initiative, it was important to us that she has worked closely with Tribal leaders and members in the Northwest.”

“Most important, perhaps, the directors found her engaging, easy to talk with, obviously people-oriented. We think she will fit right into the community and we look forward to the day that we can begin introducing her to folks in Western North Carolina.”

Eisenbraun has a master’s degree in business leadership and management and an undergraduate degree in forest management. Her experience includes work in the environmental sector and in the arts. She and her husband Marty had been planning to move to North Carolina to be closer to their daughters and other family, and had purchased property in Hot Springs. She plans to stay there temporarily while looking for a house in the Franklin area. 

– Nikwasi Initiative release