Sue Eick joined IFF in July as our director of lending for Wisconsin and Iowa, working out of our Milwaukee office. Sue, whose previous position was president at Legacy Redevelopment Corporation in Milwaukee, has spent decades in the banking and community development fields.
How does your work history help you in your new role?
I’ve always been very focused on community. My parents were German Hungarians and taught me that your city is a very important component of your life. I want to help those populations that are struggling, because my parents struggled as immigrants. They came here with nothing, but they were given opportunities. My dad was able to create a small business—a residential brick-laying company. So I’m highly passionate about this kind of mission-driven work. In this position, I combine my upbringing, my financing background, and my CDFI experience. I’m very excited. I love building relationships with people. That’s almost like a hobby of mine.
When did you become involved with the nonprofit world?
In college, I became involved with Germanfest Milwaukee, an ethnic festival going back to 1981, because my dad was involved too. I was very interested in genealogy at the time, which was way before ancestry.com. At IFF, I keep hearing our communities can’t be strong unless nonprofits are strong. The more I think about it, the more I realize this is true. I care a lot about people. I can’t help everyone on my own, but through mission-driven lending, I’m able to strengthen nonprofits, which, in turn, help underserved populations by providing access to quality health care, education, fresh food, and more.
What made you decide to join IFF?
A colleague of mine from another CDFI encouraged me to apply, saying I would be ideal for this job. I already knew about IFF when the Milwaukee office opened in 2009. Having worked with IFF on lending deals, I recognize that it’s a high-quality organization with customer-friendly products—specifically long-term financing. That, to me, is what’s lacking for nonprofits. IFF has exceeded the expectations I had when I accepted the job. I’m very impressed by the leadership in this organization.
How else are you involved with the community?
I’ve been on several boards that have to do with neighborhood businesses and organizations, and I serve on my high school foundation’s board. The latest organization I’ve been chairing is the Wauwatosa Community Development Authority, which has a lot to do with real estate development in my hometown.
What other interests and hobbies do you have?
My latest endeavor is working with my sons, Stephen and Joseph, to publish in the next year a book of memoirs written by my dad. My dad had a lot of interesting stories, and my sons are excellent writers with great ideas. Stephen is a senior at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and my younger son, Joseph, is a senior in high school.