True North director switches to Stephens for veterans pilot program

Elizabeth Herrera Eichenberger is embarking on a new adventure after spending the past six years as Executive Director at The True Northa comprehensive service agency for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Colombia.

Herrera Eichenberger will create a pilot program at Stephens College aimed at helping female veterans transition into college experience and college life.

Her last day at True North is April 1 and she will start with Stephens on April 4.

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Herrera Eichenberger is a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force on active duty, National Guard, and Reserves.

She is thrilled to have the opportunity to help other female veterans, she said.

“Sometimes the college experience can be a challenge,” she said. “It’s a special population that needs to be cared for in a unique way.”

When Herrera Eichenberger starts at Stephens, she will start laying the groundwork for the program. An implementation date is not set. It will first review available research before developing program plans.

“(The research examines) how veterans are excluded from care. It’s a nationwide issue. The goal is to ensure they have the resources and support they need to succeed in academia,” she said.

Herrera Eichenberger will answer the following question: What does a female veteran need to succeed in academia?

This pilot program is a continuation of a mission to serve and support and empower women, said Herrera Eichenberger.

“I can do it in different capacities,” she said. “I have worked with teenage girls, victims of domestic and sexual abuse, and now I work with people who I consider part of my inner family, who are veterans.”

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Herrera Eichenberger believes True North will continue important work after her departure, she said.

“We have a really vibrant board,” she said, adding that the board and staff will continue to improve programs and best practices in business models.

Impacts on True North

The True North Board of Directors, in announcing the departure of Herrera Eichenberger, highlighted several accomplishments during her six-year tenure with the organization.

During her tenure at True North, she:

  • oversaw updates to the True North Refuge;
  • revamped and improved True North’s website and online presence;
  • provided education, support and outreach to more people in need of services;
  • supported True North’s rebranding and agency logo changes;
  • spearheaded a strategic plan focused on expanding the agency’s services;
  • generated new revenue streams and increased services during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • worked with community partners to secure funds for a new advocacy building

“We can’t thank Elizabeth enough for her dedication and the countless hours she has put into growing this agency,” True North’s Board of Directors wrote in the announcement. “She leaves True North in a very strong position to support our community, and we sincerely thank her for her contributions and leadership.”

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True North’s board of directors will appoint an interim executive director on April 1.

The organization received a $1.25 million grant from the Veterans United Foundation in January for facility and program expansion. This was the largest grant in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the foundation.

Expanding the program and facilities were Herrera Eichenberger’s primary goals when she started at True North.

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She hopes that within the next two years, True North will have a full-fledged advocacy center. Funding from the Veterans United Foundation means True North can have strong domestic and sexual violence prevention programs, Herrera Eichenberger said in January.

“The possibilities are endless,” she said, noting that True North works every day to honor its mission to the best of its abilities.

“I think now is the time for us to engage in activities that support our vision of prosperous and healthy relationships – an important part of breaking the cycle of violence.”

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