Effective Aug. 31, Megan Walker will no longer be executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre.
“I feel like what I’ve done here is the best I can do. And it’s time to pass the torch,” Walker told Global News.
On Thursday, the board of directors announced her upcoming departure, saying that her decision to retire comes after 24 years of service to the agency.
“Under her leadership, LAWC has grown from a handful of staff to a team of 13, which assists over 8,000 women and girls each year,” the board says.
Walker told Global News the decision has “probably been in the making for a few years.”
“And in fact, in 2018, I had expressed an interest to the board in leaving and was asked to consider some succession planning before I left, which I did and I took that on and I had a few projects that I had to finish up.”
Walker says she will “always contribute to this great community that I live in” but in a different way now, perhaps through joining a board or volunteering.
She says LAWC is well-positioned for sustainable growth and enhanced and expanded programs.
Jennifer Dunn has been promoted to associate executive director effective immediately and will take over as executive director when Walker retires.
“Jennifer Dunn has been here for 10 years now and has done a number of different roles and is working side by side with me,” Walker says.
“This agency is about its team, not any single employee and we have a great, great team and they’ll continue to thrive as I move on.”
Dunn tells Global News she’s not going to focus on filling Walker’s shoes.
“Megan is probably the strongest and the most fearless leader that the London Abused Women’s Centre has ever had,” Dunn said.
“Her shoes are way too big. I think I’m lucky that I’m going to be able to walk on the path that she’s already started paving over the past 24 years that she’s been the executive director.”
Walker says she was inspired every single day by the courage of women walking through LAWC’s doors.
She also reflected on how much LAWC has grown, especially in the last decade.
“Ten years ago, we didn’t have a specific anti-trafficking program, which we have now. Ten years ago, women would have to sometimes wait for service. Now we have a policy that it’s mandated by our board that this team of ours provide immediate access to service to women and girls who reach out. We’ve made that possible by reaching out to the community.”
LAWC has also grown in national and international recognition under Walker’s leadership.
The Shine the Light on Women Abuse campaign, which runs every November, spread to communities in Sweden and Australia in 2017.
In her retirement, Walker says she plans to spend more time with her family and more time reading.
“I wouldn’t mind spending — I say this now, but I don’t know if it’ll work — a few days on the couch in my pyjamas, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to actually sit still that long,” she joked.