Hanna Schulze, 31
Hanna Schulze had big shoes to fill when Elissa Sangalli left Local First earlier this year, but after a nationwide search, the organization found it had the ideal leader right under its nose.
Under Schulze’s leadership, Local First responded quickly to the pandemic to update consumers on what businesses were still serving customers and how they changed their operations to keep employees and customers safe.
“The dedication of those working for and engaging in local business resiliency drive me to show up and work hard to create equitable opportunity for wealth building through small business,” Schulze said.
The organization also put out a call to local partners like CPAs and law firms to help businesses navigate the COVID-19 climate.
Schulze was introduced to Local First as a part-time events assistant before joining the organization full time in 2013. She served in a variety of roles within Local First before becoming executive director.
Schulze also is the president of the Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, where she works to foster and empower a resilient community within her own neighborhood.
“When I started working with her, I didn’t know her at all; now I know so much more about what she stands for as a business professional as well as human being,” said Hannah Berry, owner of Lions and Rabbits. “The dynamics of her humility, constant respect and empathy has created her to be the leader she is today — not to mention the whirlwind and responsibilities she is gaining post COVID.”