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KETKESY HERENA

Manager of Elgin Initiatives

Ket was born in Laos and migrated to Thailand, then to Elgin, IL during the Vietnam War. Ket and her family were one of the first Lao refugee families to arrive in Elgin in 1978. She now lives in the Elgin area with her husband and three children. Ket joined CMAA in 2017 and her current role is the Manager for Elgin Initiatives where she is responsible for the operations and oversight of programs at CMAA’s Elgin Office and strengthening relationships with people in the community

Over the last 25 years, Ket has led fundraising events and assisted refugees and immigrants with resettlement needs such as medical care, citizenship, and education. Ket’s successful outreach and program expansion efforts are well known. She has curated multigenerational cultural celebrations, increased access to health care and financial assistance for low income seniors, mobilized the inclusion of Lao citizens in the 2020 Census count, and has made an impact for the community at the height of COVID-19. She fostered relationships from both private and public sources to generate new income sources for the Elgin office. Being an immigrant herself, Ket is very driven to give back to the regional community. Seven years ago, she co-founded the Multi-Cultural Educational Outreach Group which benefits school-age children by providing summer camp and youth leadership programs. She is recognized as a trusted leader in the Elgin area with strong relationships to the City of Elgin, Legislators, Center for Lao Studies, the Lao Buddhist Temples of Elgin, Thai Cultural Fine Arts Institute, and the Fox Valley Filipino Catholic Communities. Ket is currently serving as a member of the Asian American Employment Plan Advisory Council, as well as, a member of Sherman Hospital Diversity and Inclusion Council.

FUN FACT | Ket is fluent in Lao, Thai, and English.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, all CMAA locations will be open by appointment only until further notice.
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