Ruth Pollard, new VOACC Board Chair

Contact: Nicholle Granger

August 25, 2021 Lanham, MD

Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas is proud to announce the appointment of Ruth Pollard as our new Board of Directors Chair until the end of her term in 2023.

“We are thrilled to have such an accomplished leader willing to serve our faith based nonprofit.” Said Russ Snyder, President and CEO of Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas. “Ruth is becoming the Chair at the ideal time for our non-profit to lead and work with the Board of Directors and our management team on our VISION 2025 Strategic Plan initiatives which will strengthen our organization for years to come.”

Ms. Pollard is an executive strategy and advocacy leader in Washington D.C., within the field of healthcare. Currently sharing her leadership as a consultant, Ruth most recently served as Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer with Providence Hospital and as Executive Director of Advocacy and Community Affairs for Children’s National Hospital, both in Washington D.C.

“I am most looking forward to the people and the work,” said Ms. Pollard. “I’m rooting for every person that we have the opportunity to serve, every staff member that has the spirit to serve, every leader who has the courage to lead, every partner who has the faith to invest, and every Board member who voluntarily serves to advance the mission of VOACC.”

Ruth acknowledges the leadership of the immediate past Board Chair, Dr. Sharon Jones-Eversley, who helped to reposition VOACC during an important transitional period and prepared her to take the helm and accelerate growth. The pandemic has only exacerbated the growing need for more integrated and innovative solutions to address gaps in behavioral health, primary care and affordable housing for underserved communities. Over the next two years, Ruth will collaborate with VOACC staff to implement structures, processes and systems that strengthen our overall service delivery, support scaling, and foster community partnerships for new and expanding opportunities.

“I see my role as the steward of the talent, resources and strategy of the organization,” Ruth explains. “So, rest assure that I will be that person who asks lots of questions, purposely disrupts the norm, and at the same time, champion our organization to the end.

We asked Ruth a few questions...

What first inspired you to join the VOACC Board of Directors?

When I think back about agreeing to join the board, there were three factors that aligned for me: Relationship, Purpose and Impact.

A good friend introduced me to the organization, and she was also introduced to VOACC by another mutual friend (Relationship).

When I did my research on the organization, I immediately connected with the ministry around Veteran Services because my paternal grandfather, father, bonus father (aka my stepfather), and husband are Veterans of the U.S. Army. My father and husband also served and defended our country in war. Anyone of them could have needed VOACC’s services (Purpose).

My network of professional mentors and champions modeled service to non-profit organizations through advisory councils, governing Boards, and fundraising committees. Almost a decade ago when I joined the Board, it was essential that I have impact in my service. It wasn’t about building my professional resume or network. The opportunity had to allow me to experience or see the difference, then I could give my time, talent and treasure. With VOACC, I jumped in to be part of the work from talking with legislators, creating connections for partnerships to witnessing the resilience in those we serve and those who serve and financially sowing seeds of hope. It was and continues to be transformational for me. (Impact).

In your role as VOACC’s new Board Chair, what are your goals?

We are a people organization and so my #1 goal is co-creating and advancing an inclusive ministry that serves our communities. Secondary to that is my passion of supporting wellness through integration of existing health and human services and entry into new community-based health services. The strategy behind it is multifactorial and requires a harmony of Faith + Intellect.

It is an honor and a responsibility to Chair the Board. The leadership of the immediate past Board Chair repositioned VOACC during a turnaround period and graciously set me to take the helm to accelerate growth. That means lots of structures, processes and systems to support scaling, build relationships for new and expanding opportunities, and creating unity of the “old and new”. It isn’t always comfortable, it takes difficult decisions, and there is a risk to balance what we do well now and what we want to do well in the future. The good thing is that it isn’t a lonely journey.

What does being "Called To Care" mean to you personally?

To me, Called To Care means that I accept that I am created by God to serve. I willingly surrender the gift of my life for the gift of God’s Spirit to do the good that otherwise, I would not. I joke that is a spiritual supply and demand. The word demands care and God supplies willing vessels. I choose to say yes!

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