interview

Meet Mike Nowling, May's Featured Board Member

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

And in case you missed it, you can check out our Board Member interviews with Sue Lani MadsenMatt LaytonTodd KoyamaMary SeleckyGary StokesJeff Bell, Latisha Hill, and Samuel Selinger on our blog.

Who are you and what do you do?

Since retiring after a career in healthcare leadership, I am continuing to try to be the best husband and father I can be.  My wife Carol and I enjoy traveling to visit our four children spread out all over the country, literally coast to coast.  We also enjoy traveling to new destinations around the world when opportunities present themselves.  One of my most important daily responsibilities at home is to pick up after the dog. (As you can guess, I am still working through the whole retirement thing....)

Tell us about yourself and your background.

After 33 years or so as a healthcare executive, I retired several years ago.  Carol and I have lived in Spokane for 25 years and raised our four children here – we still love it.  I was born and raised in California, attended college in Idaho, and received a graduate degree from Arizona State in Tempe.  Our first home after getting married was in Saudi Arabia, for two years.  One aspect of my career of which I am quite proud is my experience in both the not-for-profit the for-profit world.

What is your favorite book?

It’s a tie between A Wrinkle In Time and To Kill A Mockingbird.  Both of these merit reading every year.  I am also currently reading The Great Upheaval by Jaw Wink – and find it fascinating.

How long have you been a member of the Empire Health Foundation Board?

I have no idea...three years?  It's gone so fast!

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

I was actually very interested in serving with the EHF board at its outset. The idea of working with a new foundation to seek new ways to influence the health of our region was very compelling.  At the time, I was envious of those founding board members, but in the end, I think it worked out very well for me.  The founding board had to work so hard just establishing EHF as an entity and dealing with the very difficult issues that existed at its creation.  They did all the heavy lifting! Now we are having fun leveraging all their hard work, and we are now able to be innovative and seek ways to really make a difference.  So much of what we are doing today has its roots in the values and decisions of those original board members….we owe them a great debt of gratitude.

What most excites you about our work and mission?

The whole concept of philanthropy 3.0 and how it is being realized through our work – very exciting!

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

I can’t say anything has really surprised me about EHF.  I continue to be impressed by the sophistication and organizational effectiveness of EHF given its relative youth as an entity.  It is amazing to see how EHF has grown from its creation — it is mature beyond its years.

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

In the summer, a day on our boat on the lake.  In the winter, a drive through the Palouse. Come to think of it, a drive through the Palouse is a “must-do” any time of year…every season is spectacular!  Aren’t we all so blessed to live in such a magnificent region?  

Meet Latisha Hill, March's Featured Board Member

We are excited to continue our monthly series highlighting our Board of Directors!  This month we are delighted to feature Latisha.  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 KoyamaMary Selecky, Gary Stokes, and Jeff Bell on our blog.

Who are you and what do you do?

I work for Avista Corporation where I manage our Consulting and Analytics team for the Human Resources Department.  I have had the pleasure of working for Avista for 11 years in a variety of roles.  Much of my experience has been in business, public affairs and economic development. 

Tell us about yourself and your background.

I am a Spokane native married to my high school sweetheart.  I am the proud parent of one son.  I come from a very a diverse family (we have dubbed ourselves the “United Nations” at reunions). We love to travel so we can expose our son to different cultures and we also love to find and refurbish old homes with character.

What is your favorite book?

This is a tough question. I love to read.  Depending on the day, or my mood, I may be reading poetry, Franz Kafka, a Harvard Business review recommendation or the Psalms of the Bible.  Words are too powerful to be limited.  

How long have you been a member of the Empire Health Foundation Board?

I am entering my second year.

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

Health care is a key component of our regional infrastructure. I was attracted by the caliber of EHF’s work and their demonstrated results.  Health-- access, cost, equity, care, touches so many people’s lives. EHF’s track record speaks to the vision of the Board and the quality of staff.  I was excited to play a role in an environment that’s committed to making a significant difference.

What most excites you about our work and mission?

Empire Health Foundation has high expectations. They expect that investments and work will lead to measurable results.  We expect progress.  The fact that we’re willing to dive in and help reach those expectations collectively, is a powerful statement that brings great accountability.

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

I have been surprised by the depth and breadth of work (the portfolio is much larger than I thought) as well as the compassion of the staff.

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

We have an incredible river that runs right through the heart of our city. It cost nothing to stand on the bridge and stand in awe at one of the most unique and spectacular parts of not just Spokane, but the country.  It is an asset that I respect and appreciate.

Meet Jeff Bell, February's Featured Board Member

We are excited to continue our monthly series highlighting our Board of Directors!  This month we are delighted to feature Jeff Bell.  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 LaytonTodd Koyama, Mary Selecky, and Gary Stokes on our blog.

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Who are you and what do you do?

I am a Partner with Gallatin Public Affairs and counsel clients in the areas of politics, public policy and crisis communication

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I grew up near Portland Oregon and convinced my parents that I needed to attend college in southern California.  Besides enjoying the sun, I went to film school at USC and worked in the film business primarily as a film editor in TV and later on feature films.  I loved the business, but wanted to get back to the NW when Kristi and I started our family. So we moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 1989 and shortly got involved in politics which eventually led me to Gallatin where I started in 1997.  Kristi and I have two grown daughters, a dog named Sammi and live on Diamond Lake.  We could not be happier with our choice to life and work in this great area. 

What is your favorite book?

I had the great fortune to work on Out of Africa and was introduced to literature from that era in Africa.  Besides the wonderful works of Isak Dinesen, I particularly like a book called “West with the Night” written by a women aviator of the time Beryl Markham.  Once you read the book, you won’t forget it. 

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

I am beginning my second year as a board member

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

I had the good fortune of working with the Foundation as a consultant on several projects and was immediately impressed with the mission, ambition, and skill of the leadership and staff in making real change in our region.

What most excites you about our work and mission?

Most everything.  I am particularly excited about the foundation’s work on childhood obesity, foster care, and rural health care.  In just a short period of time working in partnership with other great organizations, real positive changes are happening.

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

I had some familiarity of the Foundation before joining the board, but I was surprised and a bit overwhelmed with the number of initiatives and activities the Foundation has initiated and continues to invest in to better the health of every resident of this region.  It is truly impressive.

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

It depends on the season, but kayaking on one of our lakes or down a river is a great way for a guest to experience the beauty of our area.

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.

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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.

Meet Mary Selecky, December's Featured Board Member

We are excited to continue our monthly series highlighting our Board of Directors!  This month we are delighted to feature former Washington State Secretary of Health Mary Selecky.  Take a look at her interview below!

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

Featured Board Member: Mary Selecky

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Who are you and what do you do?

After growing up in Pennsylvania in a large family in a small town, attending the University of Pennsylvania and serving as Assistant Dean of Students at Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Pennsylvania, I ventured west for friends in 1974 never expecting to fall in love with the mountains and making my home here. After 41 years, I still live on the property I bought in 1974 and have wonderful views of mountains everywhere.  Colville is a small town of 5,000 and jobs for folks with college degrees were not in high demand.  I was lucky to get employment in local government first in economic development for four years and then in public health.  I enjoyed working for local government and the elected officials but I fell in love with public health.  I was a local public health administrator for 20 years and was named Secretary of Health by Governor Gary Locke in 1999 taking my passion for rural health and public health to the state and national level.  I retired after serving under three Governors – Locke, Gregoire, and Inslee – in 2013 and returned to my rural home.

 Tell us a little about yourself and your background.  

See some of that above.  I grew up in a family of 7 kids – four boys and three girls – with ages ranging twenty years.  Our family was very involved in community and church.  We grew up with a philosophy of “if not you, then who?” when we asked about something that needed to be done in the community.  My dad was a lawyer and eventually a judge and died very young at age 49.  At that time my older siblings were in college and I was the oldest at home.  My mom had 7 of us including a two year old so we all pitched in to keep the family rhythm including serving the community. 

What is your favorite book?  

Currently, “The Road to Character” by David Brooks; for public health, “House on Fire” by William H. Foege, MD; for historical fiction “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.

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

I joined the board in 2014 after retiring from state service.

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

I have to say that [current EHF board member] Sam Selinger and [former EHF board member] Garman Lutz were quite persuasive in talking about the work of the Foundation as it reached its 5th year of maturity.  I was aware of the foundation and its mission and service area.  I am particularly interested in making sure that it isn’t “Spokane centric” and knows about the issues in the surrounding rural counties.  After two years on the board I know that is not the case.  For example, this summer we reached out to our rural partners during the fires and were able to provide air cleaners for health settings.

What most excites you about our work and mission?

We don’t jump from project to project.  The goal of changing health of our communities that can be sustained takes longer than an episodic intervention – both are important but it is the long term sustainability that we want to invest in.  We also take a collaborative and comprehensive view of the issues that face our communities.  We also realize that what works in the more urban/metro community may not work in our small rural communities; tactics would have to be customized but the mission and goal need to be common to all.

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

The Board of Directors is very engaged in the direction of the Foundation.  We are willing to take stock and change course if necessary.  That kind of engagement is not common to all boards but is also characteristic to this region. 

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

Have a great dinner with friends at my house, a drive about with stories about the history of the area, and if time permits, Grand Coulee Dam….and getting there by driving along the Columbia River and then the waters of Lake Roosevelt.  Perhaps taking the free ferry from Keller to Wilbur – the only free ferry in Washington State.  And of course include stories about the history of this area.