Working for the family business wasn’t what Elizabeth Glynn thought she would do. But when her father, David Bland, said he needed help, she decided to join him at Travois, the firm he founded in 1995 to promote housing and economic development for Indian Country.

Elizabeth Glynn, CEO, Travois
Courtesy Travois Elizabeth Glynn, CEO, Travois

Glynn joined the mission-driven company based in Kansas City, Mo., in 2005 as a senior project coordinator. Rising through the ranks, she took over as CEO from her father in 2016.

During her time at the company, she’s learned to help clients put together applications and win awards for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), expanded its service area to several new states, and helped grow an economic development arm through the New Markets Tax Credits program.

The firm’s clients include about 100 of the 567 federally recognized American Indian, Alaska native, and Native Hawaiian tribal communities. During Glynn’s tenure, Travois has helped those clients close over 120 LIHTC developments to build or rehab almost 4,000 homes.

Coming to the company with a journalism background, Glynn, 35, also prides herself on telling a good story to boost advocacy efforts for this underserved and underrepresented community.

“I help tell a story that’s frequently unheard across a lot of the country, especially in areas where there’s not a visible American Indian presence,” she says. “It’s really an honor to share that story and help our clients.”

One rewarding story for Glynn is how Travois helped to bring electricity to 400 families who had never had it in their homes on the Navajo reservation. “That’s an extreme example, but the fact that we have over 5,000 units that we’ve helped to build or renovate across the country means that 5,000 families have a stable place to sleep at night,” she adds.

Glynn also strives to ensure her employees enjoy a good work–life balance. The firm has a day-care center on-site for staff, unlimited paid time off, and 10 weeks of fully paid parental leave.

“We’ve been able to make actual strides in making people’s lives easier,” she says.

Travois remains a family affair for Glynn. In addition to various relatives working at the firm, her husband, Phil, serves as president. They have three children.