The following is a letter announcing our next Executive Director from our Board President, Ann Umemoto.
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Allison Lake as Executive Director of Westchester Children’s Association (WCA). Her new role is effective on July 1.
As you may know, Allison is well versed in WCA’s priorities and history, joining us as program director in 1998 and then moving up to deputy director in 2008. During her time with the organization, Allison’s achievements have been significant. Early in her tenure she directed a 90-member task force on children’s health policy and led a five-year long CHIP campaign that successfully enrolled 10,000 children. As deputy director, she oversaw all of WCA’s program initiatives, and also managed a number of core, administrative functions. She spearheaded our participation in the Raise the Age statewide coalition and played a major role in gaining policy changes that benefit juvenile offenders.
Now that New York has finally raised the age, we advocates face huge challenges in helping to implement the changes needed to serve 16- and 17-year olds in the juvenile justice system. We must help prepare Westchester County to address the needs of thousands of new adolescents and their families in a system that is already overburdened and underfunded. Under Allison’s experienced hand, WCA is well prepared to pay a lead role in influencing the complex process of implementing the new law.
Allison’s long experience in nonprofit management and leadership will stand us all in good stead. Prior to joining WCA, she held positions with YWCA of White Plains and Central Westchester, Associated Black Charities, and National Civic League. Her volunteer work speaks volumes of her commitment to giving back, starting with her Peace Corps service in West Africa and extending to a wide range of groups, including REACH Prep in Stamford, Greenburgh Public Library, Lois Bronz Children’s Center in White Plains, and Greenwich Academy.
Allison holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Amherst College and an MBA with focus on finance and international business from New York University. In her junior year at Amherst, she studied at The Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France.
“I feel empowered by the unanimous decision of the board to offer me this significant position and am grateful for the chance to lead WCA into its second century,” remarked Allison. “I am also grateful to our retiring ED, Cora Greenberg, for her leadership. She has been an outstanding mentor through the years. I am awed by her vote of confidence and support in my transition.”
Along with the change in staff leadership, WCA’s board of directors has also changed, bringing on two new members and rotating officer positions. All of us are pleased to be partnering with Allison. Over the last several months, as we moved through the executive search process, it became increasingly clear that Allison was the best choice for WCA’s next ED. She deeply understands the interests and needs of WCA’s multiple constituencies and takes care to nurture those relationships. She cares not just about WCA’s success, but about the success of the broader youth development community in Westchester. And she cares about the wellbeing of every child, everywhere in our county, regardless of where they live or where they come from.
There is so much that we have to look forward to, and everyone at WCA is grateful to each of you for being part of the journey. The other day, when we were discussing the road ahead, Allison made a remark that deeply resonated with us. We think it will do the same for you, so we close out this message with Allison’s words: “In these changing and difficult times, a fierce children’s advocacy organization like WCA is needed to be a disruptor of the status quo. I am excited to face these challenges head on with the board, staff and our many partners.”
President, Board of Directors
Westchester Children’s Association