“We are walking boldly into a new future,” announced David Grant, California Walks’ Board President. “Our long-time Executive Director Wendy Alfsen, 67, is retiring, effective June 30, 2017, and Tony Dang takes up the reins as new Executive Director, effective January 1, 2017, continuing his leadership in California’s movement toward a sustainable, just, and equitable transportation system.”

Tony at the PedsCount! 2016 Summit

To prepare for Wendy’s retirement, our Board established a Transition Team to guide and prepare our organization for this leadership transition, and at its November 2016 meeting, our Board unanimously approved Tony’s hire as Executive Director. But Wendy won’t be leaving Cal Walks quite yet! She’ll take on an updated role as Senior Director and will play a pivotal advisor role during the upcoming six-month transition period. In addition to these role changes, Jaime Fearer, our current Planning & Policy Manager, will assume the position of Deputy Director and will be the point person for our communications and local advocacy work going forward, while state advocacy will remain with Tony. And, as you may have seen in our latest newsletter, Caro Jauregui has been promoted to Senior Manager, Policy & Programs in recognition of her hard work and leadership of our Southern California staff.

Wendy at the PedsCount! 2016 Summit

Under Wendy’s leadership, California Walks has emerged as the statewide voice for safe, healthy, and walkable communities for everyone. “We have grown from a handful of local walking advocacy efforts to a strong alliance of organizations working to lift up the critical role walking plays in our transportation system. Our work to establish the state Active Transportation Program as a trailblazing program to advance walking and biking in a fair and equitable manner is just one example of how our influence has grown and has already resulted in millions of transportation dollars invested in communities too often left behind,” explained Wendy Alfsen.

Wendy walking alongside Greenfield Walking Group youth and residents to raise pedestrian safety awareness in Bakersfield, Summer 2013

“I am proud of my legacy and grateful to have been able to begin bridging communities’ local priorities with state level advocacy. Even more, I am grateful that Tony, our staff, and Board are continuing to grow our movement to reach its full potential. Walking is a deceptively simple solution for so many of our challenges—from community health to climate change to building vibrant, inclusive neighborhoods—and yet the simple act of walking and crossing the street remains a dangerous endeavor. So as California Walks and all our partners continue to elevate walking as the most—instead of the least—valuable form of transportation, we can save lives and create a California where every resident can lead a healthy, joyful, and prosperous life,” concluded Wendy Alfsen.

“I’m looking forward to shepherding California Walks in the next stages of its journey. Especially as we enter potentially challenging and uncertain times ahead, I refuse to allow our state to settle when it comes to active transportation. Over the years the status quo has created a transportation system that has scarred and divided communities for decades, where walking receives no investment and places our residents in danger. With your support, we will push California to be a leader in advancing a sustainable and just transportation system for all,” said Tony Dang.

P.S. Your support helps us advocate for healthy, safe, and walkable communities across the state! Please donate today!

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