Meet Gary Stokes, January's Featured Board Member

We are excited to continue our monthly series highlighting our Board of Directors!  This month we are delighted to feature our Vice Chair of the Board Gary Stokes.  Take a look at the interview below!

And in case you missed it, you can check out our first three Board Member interviews with Sue Lani MadsenMatt Layton, Todd Koyama, and Mary Selecky on our blog.


Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Gary Stokes, currently President and General Manager of KSPS Public Television in Spokane. My wife Mariesa and I, moved to Spokane in 2011 from Birmingham, Alabama. We have four sons - two human, two canine.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background. 

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (my mother still lives in the house where my sister and I grew up,) and after high school, attained my Bachelor of Science degree in criminal Justice from the University of Dayton in  Dayton, Ohio. After a brief stint as a probation officer for the juvenile court system, I made a career switch, working as a reporter for the CBS station in Dayton. Many jobs, station and locations later (Dallas TX and Washington DC – Reporter, Norfolk VA – Executive Producer & News Director, Birmingham AL – General Manager,) it was time for a change, so I went to work for Alabama Public Television in several fund-raising manager roles. I was hired by the Friends of KSPS to oversee fundraising in 2011, and after the transfer of the broadcast license from the Spokane Public Schools to the Friends of KSPS, I was named General Manager in 2013.

I enjoy television, exercise, word games and spending quiet time with my family.

What is your favorite book?

The Stand by Stephen King, The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, and anything by Harlan Ellison

How long have you been a member of the EHF Board? 

I joined the Board in 2013 and am currently vice-Chair of the EHF Board and Chair of the Governance Committee.

What attracted you to the Empire Health Foundation Board of Directors?

Initially, it was the chance to find out more about EHF’s role in shaping the health and wellness of our region. Now, it’s watching how the organization has grown in mission, message and impact.

What most excites you about our work and mission?

This is a critical time to be involved in health policy in Eastern Washington, between the WSU Medical School, the work that’s already been done on childhood obesity and scratch cooking, and all of the new and growing initiatives on treating the whole family. In addition, the Foundation staff continues to find ways to be that critical connector between those in need and those with the capacity to help. I’m just happy to play a part in that important work. 

Has anything surprised you about Empire Health Foundation?  If so, what?

Coming from the broadcasting field, I’m used to a business where you’re always on the air, and you never stop looking for the next opportunity. The Empire Health Foundation staff and initiatives continue to grow at a breakneck pace. It’s exciting to see what’s next! 

Finally, when you have an out-of-town guest visit, what is your “must do” in your community?

That depends on the guest – for the outdoors people - Riverfront Park and Mount Spokane, for the foodies – Sante,  Italia Trattoria.