Daniella Mechnikov managed the food delivery process throughout the height of the pandemic.
After a thorough search, Yad Ezra hired Daniella HarPaz Mechnikov as the new executive director for the organization. She started the job June 1.
Bringing more than 20 years of experience, Mechnikov will be responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the Berkley-based kosher food pantry. Other key duties will include fundraising, marketing and community outreach.
She will be replacing Lea Luger, who has worked at Yad Ezra since 1993. Luger will continue to support the organization’s through its annual event Sept. 1.
“Having worked with Daniella for the past year, certainly during stressful times, I’ve seen someone who is very capable, who is passionate about the organization and the work we do, cares tremendously about the clients and volunteers, and has the ability to lead the organization into new and greater heights,” Luger said.
Mechnikov is a former director of education at Congregation B’Nai Moshe in West Bloomfield and Congregation Shir Tikvah in Troy. She then left that world and started her own marketing company, K2M Creative Media, more than 10 years ago.
Prior to being named executive director, Mechnikov served as a marketing consultant for Yad Ezra starting in February 2020. Before she could get her feet wet in the position, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Yad Ezra quickly had to strategize how to get food to its clients, and Mechnikov quickly found herself with an important role.
She helped brainstorm ideas for Yad Ezra’s COVID plans, then led the charge in managing the food delivery process, helping provide approximately 1,100 deliveries a month throughout the height of the pandemic.
Thriving in an important role in the organization in such a tough time, Mechnikov gained a unique appreciation for Yad Ezra.
“I found myself in love with this place and really connected to the staff,” she said. “We all bonded through this pandemic.”
When Luger announced she was retiring, Mechnikov’s efforts made her an obvious candidate for the role.
Now, having to build off what Luger built for so long and coming off the impact and unpredictability of a pandemic, Mechnikov realizes she has important shoes to fill and important work to do.
“I am thrilled to be named Yad Ezra’s new executive director and look forward to collaborating with the board of directors and executive committee that give such staunch and committed support to this special organization,” Mechnikov said. “As we begin a transition to a post-pandemic set of processes and reality, I know that we will continue to provide much-needed food to our clients.”