Saying Goodbye: A Letter from WalkDenver Executive Director Gosia Kung

by Jessica Vargas on December 8, 2017

Dear Friends of WalkDenver,

I’m writing to let you know that after much thought and consideration, I have decided to step down from the position of Executive Director at WalkDenver. As a founder, I have a very personal relationship with the organization and saying good-bye is probably one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. It feels like sending my baby off to college. But after leading the organization for six years, I feel like the time is right for both WalkDenver and me.

When I formally signed WalkDenver into existence by becoming a project of Colorado Nonprofit Development Center on December 13, 2011, I had little more to start with beyond the idea that “people are pedestrians by design” and my passion to design Denver’s buildings and streets for people instead of cars. When WalkDenver was featured in the New York Times on Feb. 13, 2012 under the title “Denver is Urged to Hit the Sidewalks,” I didn’t imagine that just a few years later our organization would lead the effort to change Denver’s sidewalk policy and bring over $50 million in funding this critical piece of infrastructure. When our group of volunteers decided to demonstrate the concept of complete streets by organizing Better Block Jefferson Park, we didn’t think that tactical urbanism was going to become an important strategy for bringing walkability investments to Denver’s streets and neighborhoods. In six short years, WalkDenver has grown from an idea into a strong advocacy organization with a solid track record of success.

With all the great success in recent years, I feel like there is a new chapter opening in the life of WalkDenver. Our policy work is becoming more robust with new collaborative efforts such as the Denver Streets Partnership. The City’s plans that WalkDenver helped create and promote (Denver Vision Zero and Denver Moves Pedestrians and Trails) are moving into implementation. Our internal programs such as Project Shift and WALKscope are continuing to evolve. As WalkDenver steps into a new phase, the timing seemed right for me to step aside and make space for new leadership that will take our organization to the next level. I have great confidence in our staff and board members and look forward to their future accomplishments.

As I reflect on the last six years I feel extremely thankful to so many people who helped along the way to make WalkDenver the successful organization it is today. There have been thousands of volunteer hours from board and community members. From those who helped to paint the street, to those who offered free meeting space, those who lent their professional expertise, and those who collected sidewalk data. The list is too long and I’m sure I would forget somebody but it definitely “took a village.” I want to express a sincere THANK YOU to every one of you who helped along the way.

What’s next for me? I don’t know yet. I’m hoping to find a position that combines my professional experience in architecture with the lessons in leadership, policy, and community engagement that WalkDenver has taught me. I’m hoping to continue working toward making Denver a people-centered, healthy and happy place to live. And I hope our paths will cross again soon!

Sincerely Yours,
Gosia Kung

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