After an extensive national search, LifeWorks promotes long-time executive and advocate Liz Schoenfeld, Ph.D., to lead the organization into its next chapter.

LifeWorks proudly announces the appointment of Liz Schoenfeld, Ph.D., as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1, 2024. Liz will succeed Susan McDowell, who has served as CEO for nearly three decades and will be stepping down at the end of June 2024.

As one of the original founders of LifeWorks, Susan McDowell has led the organization through 29 years of fearless advocacy for youth in Austin. Under her leadership, LifeWorks has served over 100,000 clients and has become a national example for addressing youth homelessness with the belief that everyone deserves a place to call home, a chance to heal, and an opportunity to work. Susan’s dedication has strengthened LifeWorks programs in housing, counseling, and education.

Following an extensive national search led by Board Chair Kyle Ali and Vice Chair Lisa Richardson, the LifeWorks Board of Governors has chosen an internal candidate, Liz Schoenfeld, Ph.D., as the next CEO. Liz has been a part of the LifeWorks family for over a decade, most recently serving as the Chief Research & Evaluation Officer. Her contributions to strategic planning, donor relations, and program evaluation have been instrumental in advancing the LifeWorks mission.

“Having dedicated my professional life to LifeWorks and the youth and families we serve, I am profoundly honored to build on Susan McDowell’s legacy as the next CEO of LifeWorks,” said Liz Schoenfeld, Ph.D. “I’m excited to work alongside our exceptional Board and staff to advance our mission, deepen our impact, and continue driving lasting, positive change in our community.”

“Dr. Schoenfeld’s expertise and leadership have been vital to LifeWorks’ success over the last 10 years,” said Kyle Ali, Board Chair. “She possesses both the deep knowledge and strategic relationships needed to achieve our vision of a community where youth homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring. The Board of Governors is confident that Dr. Schoenfeld is the ideal steward of our mission. We look forward to supporting her work and celebrating her accomplishments in the years to come.”

In the year ahead, LifeWorks plans to break ground on 120 units of housing at The Works III apartments in East Austin, a project that underscores a strong commitment to creating more stable housing for youth.  

About LifeWorks

LifeWorks is a fearless advocate for youth and young adults pursuing a life they love and a stable future for themselves and their families. Established in 1998, LifeWorks provides a comprehensive network of support services, including housing, counseling, education and workforce development, to over 2,500 youth and families each year. Our mission is to address youth homelessness, ensure rapid employment, and offer healing through compassionate and evidence-based care. For more information, visit 

Source: LifeWorks

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