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Chief Executive Officer

Q & A with New Chief Executive Officer, Kay Knox

We are proud to announce Kay Knox as the new Chief Executive Officer of WithinReach. She has been a staff leader since joining the organization as assistant director in 1999. She has since been deputy director, chief operating officer and acting executive director. Kay loves WithinReach, is passionate about our mission and has clearly demonstrated effective executive leadership.

We recently talked with Kay about her long-time commitment to WithinReach, her vision for the organization and food! Here is what Kay had to say:

What are you proud of most about working at WithinReach?

Staff have heard me say this a million times, but it’s true.  I am as proud of how we operate as an organization, as I am of the services we provide.  We are a learning organization that is driven by quality and innovation in all things.  Our staff’s commitment and devotion are unparalleled.

What kind of leader do you consider yourself?

Well, I know what kind of leader I hope I am.  For me, leading is about listening, building trust and relationship, removing barriers, creating opportunities, being accountable  – all so staff can use their skills to the highest and best use, on behalf of the organization.  In this way, I see myself in service to staff, donors, and partners.  I strive to be a leader who is accessible, self-aware, and committed to thoughtful action.

What is your aha moment?

Whoa… I am following in the footsteps of my former leaders and mentors.  I am filled with awe to follow the path of the amazing women who have come before me at WithinReach  – Cynthia Shurtleff, the visionary leader who launched our work, Ginny English, the founding leader who built the organization from the ground up,  (and who hired me!), Patty Hayes, the public health superstar who helped us find our place as a strong, independent non-profit, and Alison Carl White, the community change agent who helped position us to make a real impact in family health over the next 25 years. I am filled with gratitude for their leadership, teaching and support.

What is the last book you read?

The last book I read was the new book by Jamie Ford, Songs of Willow Frost, which is set in Seattle’s International district during the Depression. Our daughter Mari was born in China, so the story held special interest for us.  We read it aloud as a family, which is something we often do.   

Cabin or Hotel?

Cabin most definitely, and even better, our tent trailer.   Favorite place to camp is on the Twisp River – no cell reception, no services, just the sound of the water, deer walking through camp every evening, and pie irons in the fire.

Strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Probably, donkey and eel.  Surprisingly, I could recommend the eel, probably not the donkey.

Note to self: Do not serve donkey at next year’s luncheon!


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