Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Reviews

Updated Aug 30, 2020

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2.8
30%
Recommend to a Friend
58%
Approve of CEO
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service CEO Krishanti OMara Vignarajah (no image)
Krishanti OMara Vignarajah
5 Ratings
  1. Helpful (1)

    "LIRS has been reborn in new and exciting ways - honored to be a part of the brilliant and amazing new team!"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director for Outreach in Baltimore, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I was told in a previous job that I would have a better chance of promotion if I was “less Kris.” That was defined for me as “fewer big ideas, less challenging of the status quo, and less passionate.” Take your pick: The Migration Avengers, the Land of Misfit Toys – we are an unusual lot. But that diversity in cultures, gifts and thinking is what has kept us resilient in a hostile culture with the odds stacked against us. It is what makes us strong and what will make us even stronger in the future. Sadly, this is a place where everyone is a perfect fit. Try as I might, I have never been able to make myself “less Kris” to fit in other places any more then other people can make themselves “fit” with the uniquely fast-moving and rapidly changing culture that is the hallmark of LIRS. But for me, I have found somewhere that I feel I can contribute all that I bring to the table for the first time in my career. I am able to think as big and as fast and be as bold as I can be. I have found a place for people who understand you can be both a powerfully focused achiever and a dreamer. My first six months have been a gift. My colleagues, are the primary reason for that. I am growing roots and will be here for a long time – and I look forward to knowing and working with each one of them in the years to come. They inspire me. “Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Rob Siltanen

    Cons

    I love "The West Wing" TV show pace at LIRS. The fast paced environment is not for everyone. While the Mission has been consistent, the leadership, staff and implementation plan have had an almost complete transformation, modernization and revitalization in the last two years. So excited to be part of something fresh, open to broad new ideas, and growing rapidly. It's like a startup!

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  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great Mission - Tough Environment"

    2.0
    Former Employee - Manager in Baltimore, MD

    I worked at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Pays well, fantastic benefits, helping people

    Cons

    Though they have gone through some management transitions to hopefully improve, the organization was a difficult place to work. Though there was a lot of talk about what the organization could do, the day to day was basically fulfilling government contracts and so there was little creativity, flexibility, or room to expand programs.

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "none"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Staff Accountant in Baltimore, MD
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time

    Pros

    good work-life balance, colleagues are very nice and helpful.

    Cons

    rigid management leadership style; less promotion opportunities

  4. COVID-19
    Helpful (1)

    "Great people, incredible mission"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Press Secretary in Baltimore, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The mission itself is incredibly satisfying, helping refugees and asylum seekers rebuild after so much. As a press professional, very grateful to meet people with captivating stories that educate the public on a subject that is too often misrepresented by bad-faith actors. Benefits and salary are good, leadership is adaptable to new ideas, people are super nice and mission-driven (btw you definitely don't have to be Lutheran to work here -- super diverse staff).

    Cons

    Writing this from home quarantine so there have been some technological issues as a small IT team adapts to new challenges. In many ways, this 80 year old organization needs to modernize its operations.

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  5. Helpful (6)

    "Avoid"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - External Affairs 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Dedicated staff and critically important mission. True commitment to the reason we're all employed there.

    Cons

    CEO and leadership team; Board disengaged. Chaotic and also micromanaging executive group that seems unable to find clear direction. Poor internal communications because of the execs.

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  6. Helpful (6)

    "Can't Get It Right"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Helping refugees and immigrants is important work, for people who need compassionate, smart, and dedicated service providers.

    Cons

    One might think that the current administration, which is setting up tremendous challenges for the work LIRS was established to do, would be the organization's biggest challenge. Buy it's not - it's the leadership. The board seems unable or disinterested in hiring the right person at the top, and most of the VPs and directors are ill suited for their roles. The CFO has too much power and is too concerned with building the coffers (over serving the mission). The turnover at all levels has been incredible and detrimental.

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  7. Helpful (11)

    "Enter at your own risk"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Mission is important in a troubled world

    Cons

    Highly ineffective and disengaged Board of Directors have permitted havoc to reign and staff to be abused for far too long. The former CEO was thankfully fired. The interim CEO is a narcissistic personality type who knew nothing about resettlement work but was nonetheless hired at an exorbitant salary to hire other consultants to do the work he could not. Many more good people left LIRS, some because the interim forced them out. The Board would hear no criticism of this man despite complaints filed with HR. Now, the Board has hired a new high visibility CEO with no management background but a very flashy political resume. I hope she's great- but Board members know she is unlikely to stay when a Democratic President is elected. For a Board with predominantly faith based people on it-they bury their heads in the sand, are unforgiving, lack good hiring judgment and fail t o follow the path of reconciliation required by their own creed. Values do matter and are reflected top down in an organization. Do not trust leadership in this organization.

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  8. Helpful (2)

    "An Org in Flux"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Baltimore, MD
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Amazing staff and mission. The way the organization can shift to respond to emerging needs is awesome.

    Cons

    The organization is in lots of flux. Leadership can seem reactive rather than making decisions based on long-term goals.

  9. Helpful (4)

    "Program Manager"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time

    Pros

    Good staff. Dedicated and hard working rank and file.

    Cons

    The previous CEO and Executive Leadership Team was horrible and lacked integrity.

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  10. Helpful (6)

    "A non-profit gone bad"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Baltimore, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    You'll meet and work with some dedicated, caring, conscientious colleagues. People are friendly and talkative, like to get lunch or drinks, and are often friends outside the office. There are often fun events for staff to attend. The mission of serving and advocating with migrants and refugees is a powerful motivator and you can see how your work makes an impact on people's lives.

    Cons

    Unfortunately all the fantastic pros of LIRS are heavily outweighed by cons. The president/CEO has seriously damaged the organization, particularly by hiring upper and middle management who contribute to the dysfunction she creates. CEO remains aloof from staff, but goes through management to micromanage even entry level staff at times. The culture leans toward favoritism and new ideas are shot down to the point that staff cease to offer any. The turnover rate alone should be a flaming red flag. Anyone considering this organization should be aware of this article from Breitbart on 11/11/2017, "Source: Claims of Financial Mismanagement, Fraud, and Harassment at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service Spark External Investigation." It is from an extremely anti-immigrant source that often publishes drivel, however, this article is much if not mostly accurate.

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