The Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion announced last week that Emily Kazim, who has served as the organization’s program manager since April of last year, has taken the helm as its new executive director.

“LBCEI has been making significant contributions to the community since its inception, and I’m thrilled to join this dynamic organization,” Kazim said in a statement.

A Long Beach resident, Kazim is a graduate of the Leadership Long Beach program and serves on the executive board of Long Beach Moms. She previously served as director of Life Family Center and as food support program manager for the LBCEI.

Kazim is the fourth executive director since the center launched in March 2020.

Jeff Williams, formerly the executive director of Leadership Long Beach, headed the center upon its creation in an interim capacity. Following a national search, Byron Reed was named executive director in 2021 but quickly resigned due to health issues, center board member Carl Kemp said in a phone interview Monday.

Following Reed’s departure, Tunua Thrash-Ntuk stepped in as interim executive director and held down the role until Kazim assumed the title Thursday following another national search that began in November.

The search turned up numerous “high-caliber” candidates, according to Kemp. Ultimately, Kazim was chosen because she “has a heart for this community” and that she has already “proven herself” through her previous role, he said.

The center was created as a result of the city’s “Everyone In” initiative, which aimed to form a community development corporation to expand economic opportunities related to housing, small business, workforce and youth development, and economic resiliency within all communities citywide. Over the last three years, the center has partnered with more than 30 agencies to provide basic needs to 4,500 households every month, according to the announcement.

The center also has funneled over $1 million every year to residents, small businesses and partner organizations.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.