Harbor House of Central Florida Names New COO

Millie Irizarry has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Harbor House of Central Florida by its Board of Directors, effective March 6. Irizarry joins Michelle Sperzel, CEO, who started on January 17, as part of the new leadership team of Harbor House of Central Florida – the only state-certified domestic violence center and safe shelter open 24/7 in Orange County.  Irizarry will focus on operational leadership and strategy of the nonprofit organization.

“We are excited to have Millie as part of our Harbor House team,” said CEO Michelle Sperzel. “Her knowledge of Orange County and its community partners, along with her passion for working on behalf of women and children make her an asset to our organization. We know her expertise in these areas will help us enhance the lifesaving services we offer to domestic violence survivors.”

Irizarry recently served as Special Assistant in the Office of Public Engagement and Hispanic Affairs to Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, where she was responsible for building awareness regarding county services. Irizarry brings nonprofit and governmental expertise to the local domestic violence center’s leadership team.

“Empowering women and children has always been an important initiative to me, and I am thrilled that I can continue my service to Orange County at Harbor House,” said Irizarry. “I plan to work with Michelle and the board to continue providing the best services possible to domestic violence survivors, while also looking for ways to improve and add programs.”

Prior to that, she was Executive Director of Forsyth County Family Haven in Cumming, Georgia and CEO of the Latin American Association and Director of Donor Development for One Blood, (formerly known as Florida’s Blood Centers). She has also served as the Director of the Women’s Residential and Counseling Center/Victims Services Program in Orlando, where she was responsible for managing the transitional housing program for victims of domestic violence and at-risk homeless women and children. In addition, she was the Housing Director for the Coalition for the Homeless in Central Florida, forging strong relationships with partner agencies and overseeing project management.

Active in the community, Irizarry has served as Chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. She has also served on various boards and projects that focus on social services and women’s programs, including the Orange County Minority/Women Business Enterprise Advisory Board, the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors, the Central Florida Trauma Center Taskforce and the Blue Ribbon Panel for Education formed by Orange County and City of Orlando Mayors.

Additionally, Irizarry was named the 2004 Paoli Award winner for Best of the Year Public Service Private Enterprise. She resides in East Orlando and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida.


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