Trails for everyone, forever

Home News Blog WTA Leadership Transition: Jill Simmons Looks Back at Five Years

WTA Leadership Transition: Jill Simmons Looks Back at Five Years

Posted by Jill Simmons at Apr 19, 2022 12:00 PM |

Jill Simmons announces she will be stepping down as CEO after five years of service and she shares her appreciation with the WTA community.

by Jill Simmons

As cliche as it is, there are times when the quote “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey” fits the moment perfectly, and this is one of those times for me. In early May, after more than five years, I will be stepping down as WTA’s chief executive officer. I am immensely proud of where my tenure is ending in terms of WTA’s organizational strength and mission impact. But it’s the journey—the incredible people I’ve worked with, the experiences we’ve shared and what we accomplished together—that will stick with me the longest. 

WTA's CEO Jill Simmons (on right) and several WTA board members hiking up to Dirty Harry's Balcony to check out the amazing trail work done by our volunteers. WTA's CEO Jill Simmons (on right) and several WTA board members hiking up to Dirty Harry's Balcony to check out the amazing trail work done by our volunteers in 2019. 

It will be very hard to step away from the wonderful people and important work of protecting trails and supporting hikers, but I know it’s the right time for the next strong leader to bring energy and excitement to our collective work of creating trails for everyone, forever.

Together, over the last five years, we have doubled WTA’s size and mission impact, stepped up our commitment to equity and worked at all levels to advance lasting solutions for a sustainable trail system. We’ve achieved big funding wins for trails both nationally and in Olympia, made it easier for kids to get outside, piloted new ways of keeping backcountry trails accessible, and so much more. And over the last two years, during unprecedented times, we have come together to ensure that trails were available when we needed them most.

WTA's CEO Jill Simmons and WTA volunteers greeting hikers on Washington Trails Day at the Snow Lake trailhead.WTA's CEO Jill Simmons and WTA volunteers greeting hikers on Washington Trails Day at the Snow Lake trailhead in 2018.

In short, WTA’s strategic plan, commitment to equity, and new ways of delivering our mission have more momentum than ever—momentum that will continue even with leadership transition.

WTA’s Board of Directors has asked Jaime Loucky, our chief impact officer, to serve as interim CEO. As you may remember, Jaime joined WTA in early 2020. He has been my right-hand in navigating the many challenges and opportunities of the last two years. I'm thrilled that he will be stepping up to continue all of the exciting work WTA is tackling in 2022.

WTA's leadership team including Jill (aka Big Cheeto thanks to her love of a crunchy trail snack) work togehter to move a huge rock on the Poo Poo Point trail.WTA's leadership team including Jill (aka Big Cheeto thanks to her love of a crunchy trail snack) work together to move a huge rock on the Poo Poo Point trail.

WTA is a special place, and I will deeply miss my day-to-day work with our incredible team and volunteers. But, I am absolutely not leaving the broader WTA community. I was a WTA member long before I joined the team, and I look forward to staying engaged in the work as a strong supporter, volunteer and champion. 

I look forward to seeing you on the trail. 

Comments