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Walz to leave Boys & Girls Club of Janesville

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
July 28, 2011
— Heather Walz said resigning as executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Janesville was one of the toughest decisions she’s ever made.

“It definitely was not easy, but I’m excited for new opportunities,’’ she said Wednesday.


Walz resigned July 11 to become the senior director of development at the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay. The move not only allows the Appleton native to return to the Fox Valley but also reunites her with her mentor—former Boys & Girls Club of Janesville Executive Director John Benberg.


Benberg is now the executive director at the nonprofit’s Green Bay branch.


“When this opportunity came up, it was something I had an interest in because I’m already familiar with John and many of the staff there,” Walz said. “John is an incredible and passionate, mission-focused leader I learned a lot from. It’ll be exciting to work with him and help him carry out some of his vision.”


A search committee has been formed to find Walz’s replacement. Boys & Girls Club of Janesville President Sarah Gehrig, a member of the committee, said the goal is to have a new executive director on board in 30 to 90 days.


The board is considering an interim director while it conducts its search, Gehrig said.


“We’re addressing this as an opportunity rather than misfortune,” Gehrig said. “We’re not saying we can get someone better (than Walz) but it’s an opportunity to reallocate resources in the club and maybe make some changes that are healthy for the club.’’


Walz, who joined the local club in 2001, said her biggest accomplishment was the development of more than 30 programs.


“We have gotten to where we have an impact on kids and offer programs that change their lives,’’ she said.


Walz credits much of the club’s success on its talented staff and diverse board of directors.


“They’re the ones who change lives everyday,” she said. “They are incredible people who care about what we do. There’s a lot of compassion and dedication on their part in making sure we can really change lives.”


Walz also takes pride knowing she helped the club gain visibility and a positive image.


“My mission has been to make people know we’re not just a daycare or serve naughty or poor kids,” she said. “My goal was to make sure people know we are our own organization that plays an important role in the community that champions youth development.


“We’re not just a hangout or recreational center. We really make a difference.”



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