Larysa Kautz has served as Melwood’s President & CEO since July 2020, bringing nearly 20 years of experience in law, business, advocacy, and nonprofit management to this position. Larysa previously served as Melwood’s General Counsel and Chief of Staff.
After receiving her law degrees from Yale Law School (JD) and the Georgetown University Law Center (LLM, tax), Larysa focused her career on affordable housing development, venture philanthropy, and advising national and international nonprofits. Prior to joining Melwood, Larysa was a partner at the Schaner & Lubitz law firm and served as counsel at Bingham McCutchen (now Morgan Lewis).
As a first-generation American, a daughter of parents with invisible disabilities, and a mother of a child with autism, Larysa is passionate about Melwood’s mission of inclusion and has been a fierce advocate for individuals with disabilities throughout her life. She founded Melwood’s Advocacy department, which has significantly increased the organization’s effectiveness at influencing polices and legislation that benefit the communities that Melwood serves, including people with disabilities and injured veterans. Larysa has also been instrumental in advocating for the abolition of Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows employers to pay workers with disabilities below minimum wage.
Larysa serves on the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) State Rehabilitation Council, the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, and the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce Board. She previously served as a consultant to President Obama’s Office of White House Counsel, Virginia Governor Northam’s Transition Team, the Foundation for the National Archives, and Lawyers for Good Government.
Larysa was named one of the 2017 Leading Women in Maryland by The Daily Record, has been honored by the Association of Corporate Counsel with the 2019 In-House Innovator Award, and is an alumna of the Arlington Leadership Center for Excellence.
Outside of work, Ms. Kautz enjoys sailing and ballroom dancing. She lives in Alexandria, VA, with her husband, Ryan; their son, Symon; and their dogs, Lucky and Ziggy.
Melwood is one of the largest nonprofit employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.