Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Voices for Illinois Children Announces New President, as Kathy Ryg Steps Down

CHICAGO – Voices for Illinois Children announced today that Gaylord Gieseke has been named the organization’s new president, effective June 1. Ms. Gieseke is currently Voices’ vice president. Kathy Ryg, Voices’ president for the last three years, is stepping down after more than 20 years in public service to spend more time with her family, including new grandchildren.

“Everyone at Voices is grateful for Kathy’s enthusiastic and effective leadership,” said Sue Irion, Voices board chair. “Kathy and Voices share a deeply held conviction to make Illinois a better state for kids. We wish her well as she embarks on new, personal adventures that allow her to continue to promote the values of Voices for Illinois Children.”

“Gaylord has played a key leadership role as vice president and is extremely well-positioned to step in as president,” Irion said. “She will seamlessly continue Voices’ important work of ensuring that all Illinois children are healthy, happy, loved, and well-educated.”

Gieseke has been with Voices for 23 years and has long served as vice president and chief operating and financial officer, in addition to previously serving as interim president. She has a state and nationwide reputation for her work on early care, education, and home visiting services for at-risk infants and toddlers. Gieseke is also known for her work on strengthening mental health supports for children.

During Gieseke’s tenure at Voices, the organization has achieved a number of important policy victories including: ensuring children access to quality health insurance and care; dramatically increasing funding for quality early childhood programs; establishing Preschool for All; and enacting the state Earned Income Tax Credit.

“I am honored that the Board has expressed its confidence in me,” said Gieseke. “I am committed to continuing Voices’ tradition of promoting sound public policies that make a difference in the lives of children and their families, and I look forward to working more closely with Voices’ committed Board and talented staff to make us an even stronger voice for children.”

“I would like to thank Kathy for her leadership. Throughout her career in public service, she has been a tireless advocate for children,” Gieseke said.

Under Ryg’s leadership, Voices successfully navigated the devastating economic downturn and remained a forceful advocate for investing in our children. She forged strategic partnerships that have strengthened and empowered the child advocacy network throughout Illinois. Ryg leaves the organization well-prepared to continue its advocacy on behalf of children and families.

“I am proud of Voices’ accomplishments during the last three years. It has been exciting and rewarding to work with such an experienced team of experts in policy, advocacy, communications, and community engagement,” Ryg said. “With Gaylord’s unmatched commitment to the well-being of children, I know Voices is in good hands.”

“While this has been a very difficult decision for me to make, I felt it was the right time both for me and Voices. I am looking forward to meeting the needs of my own family but will continue to be an advocate for Illinois children and families,” Ryg said.

As Voices celebrates its 25th anniversary, Gieseke and Ryg have worked closely with the Board and staff to ensure a smooth transition. From its strong foundation, Voices looks forward to another 25 years of accomplishments for children and families in Illinois.

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