Meals on Wheels appoints new CEO

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Lisa Wideman Courtesy Meals on Wheels Western Michigan

Meals on Wheels Western Michigan appointed its seventh CEO.

The Meals on Wheels Western Michigan (MOWWM) board of directors said it selected Lisa Wideman as the nonprofit’s next leader, effective Monday. She has served as its COO since April 2018.

In January, current CEO Brewster Hamm announced his intention to retire. The board then contracted with local talent management firm HR Collaborative to lead a nationwide CEO search process, which resulted in the promotion of Wideman as the best fit for the role.

Hamm will stay on to help with the transition until July.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I am proud to present Lisa Wideman as the new CEO of Meals on Wheels Western Michigan,” said Bill Kozak, board president of MOWWM. “Lisa has proven experience in the field of senior nourishment (and) is also a woman of strong leadership skills and is committed to our mission of providing quality nutrition so that area seniors can live healthy and independent.”

Wideman said one of the many things that drew her to Meals on Wheels Western Michigan was its direct impact and “perfect match” for her lifetime passion of nutrition and serving seniors.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to serve as the CEO of Meals on Wheels Western Michigan,” she said. “I’ve trained and prepared for this my entire life. I look forward to building upon Brewster’s work of community trust and organization building and his passion for seniors and their independent living.”

Wideman started as a director at MOWWM in 2009 and was hired as COO in April 2018. MOWWM said she “successfully managed the COVID-19 crisis response,” including implementing a program restructure and coordinating the media response.

She has provided testimony many times to the Michigan Legislature, advocating for senior needs. In 2016, she developed and implemented the senior choice program, which is designed to improve the consumption of meals and client outcomes. Her motivation for the program was her strong belief in “the dignity of choice for older adults,” MOWWM said.

Prior to her position at Meals on Wheels, Wideman served at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, where she established new programs in two counties and coached leadership members through startups. She also was instrumental in developing regional service standards, policies and procedures for AAAWM.

A native of Kalkaska, Wideman earned a Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition with a minor in business in 1986 from Michigan State University. She also has earned specialization and leadership certifications over the years, including the Meals on Wheels America Leadership Certification and board certification through the Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

Wideman is past president of the Michigan Association of Nutrition and Aging Service Programs board and past co-chair of the Heart of West Michigan United Way Basic Needs Investment Council. She also served on the National Emergency Food and Shelter Board and the Allegan County Commission on Aging.

She currently is a member of the Michigan Directors of Services to the Aging and the Kent County Essential Needs Taskforce.

Wideman has lived in West Michigan since 1987 with her husband of 32 years, Thomas. They have one son and one grandson.

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