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Board Highlight: Ivy Walker

Ivy Walker
Founder, AskCODA
Co-Founder Helios Digital Learning
Author, 12 Minute Risk Management

This spring Gateway Foundation chatted with Ivy Walker, one of its 16-member volunteer Board of Directors, to hear more about how her values align with our mission and work, motivating her to give so much of her time, talent and treasure to Gateway over the past 5 years. Comments have been edited for length.

GF: Hello Ivy, we are so grateful to have you on our Board of Directors. When did you agree to join Gateway in this volunteer leadership capacity?

IW: December, 2017.

GF: Can you share a bit about your professional life and what led to your becoming an entrepreneur in the risk management sector?

IW: I was interested in becoming master of my own fate and have launched two companies whose purpose stems from my personal values and interests. One is an ethics and compliance company, and the other is an organization that prepares youth to seek and connect with stable jobs so they may lead more productive, healthy lives.

GF: What motivated you to serve in a governance leadership position in the non-profit sector, Gateway Foundation specifically, having worked as a nonprofit executive leader for another organization?

IW: I lost a family member to overdose many years ago. I see the devastation that addiction and behaviors that reinforce it can cause, so Gateway’s mission and work resonated with me.

GF: What qualities make an effective board member at a nonprofit as large and complex as Gateway Foundation?
IW: The single biggest contributor is intentional engagement, which can be challenging for Board volunteers who often have very demanding jobs. And being on the appropriate committee. Being able to contribute in meaningful ways which draw on a one’s natural skill set is also important. I have served on the Board’s audit committee since I joined due to my background in compliance.

GF: What has motivated you to continue your board service?

IW: The continued commitment of Gateway’s staff in a range of communities, despite competition in the sector. Most rewarding has been witnessing the continued impact Gateway has in the communities it serves.

GF: Gateway has begun more formal JEDI work internally and with the intentional choice of the search firm handling a national search for Gateway’s next CEO. Why do you think Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion should be at the forefront of nonprofit work?
IW: Why are so many in our society beginning to address this more formally only now? A company cannot be effective without focusing on serving the basic needs of everyone working in the organization.

GF: As a member of the search committee of the board, what are your thoughts about the organization’s future?

IW: I’m feeling bullish and excited about the future. Any organization of a certain age goes through major transitions, which can open an opportunity for the Board to consider what an ideal executive leader might bring and what might be in store for Gateway years three, five or ten years from today. Look at the current landscape – we are able to start with a fresh new stroke of planning.

GF: Can you share what you believe are some of the most important aspects of the Board’s strategic plan for the next five years?

IW: Mapping the proper pathway for growth. The way we manage organizational growth amidst political and economic instability is key.

GF: Where do you personally imagine Gateway in that timeframe?

IW: Gateway will solidify its position as a non-profit in the sector, and continue to be a leader, though its pathway forward may look different as we manage progress amidst external instabilities.

GF: Are there any final thoughts you’d like to leave with Gateway’s community of stakeholders?

IW: The board sees this period of transition as an exciting opportunity to ensure Gateway remains a stable and reliable provider of substance use disorder treatment now and in the future.

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