I Look Forward to Taking This Journey With You

As she moves into her new role as our president and CEO, Katie McGovern wanted to share some personal thoughts with all of you in our ALS community:

Well, here it is. The first week on the job!

To say this week, and the weeks leading up to this, have come with a mix of emotions is an understatement. While there is great excitement and energy for what is to come, there certainly isn’t a lack of nerves. I have big shoes to fill upon Maureen Barber Hill’s retirement, and there are significant goals to achieve.

While this transition has personal elements, I am acutely aware that this opportunity really isn’t about me. We, the ALS community, are at a pivotal point in our journey, embarking on our next chapter together. Throughout this chapter, I believe we will see many things unfold, resulting in transformative progress for people affected by ALS and their families.

My vision of the future encompasses continued positive change on a number of fronts:

  • Ensuring all people affected by ALS and their caregivers, regardless of where they live, have equal access to high quality services including clinical care, guidance from an ALS Association professional, and access to all available treatments.
  • All people affected by ALS will maintain a level of independence, allowing them the joys of life, and the ability to engage in the world in the way they want.
  • As a community, we will do whatever it takes to reduce the physical, emotional, and financial burden of living with the disease.

To accomplish this, we will take a fresh look at technology and virtual health and what our new normal has taught us; we will employ out of the box thinking to find the most relevant and unique tools that allow people with ALS to engage with nature, stay active, and continue fulfilling familial roles; and we will prepare appropriately for viable treatments, because yes, they will be a part of our future.

Over the next 100 days, the focus will be tight, while also remaining nimble. We will continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic, offering innovative solutions and services that speak to this moment—virtual clinic and home visits, on-line support groups, touchless equipment drop off or shipping, and playing our part to ensure that every person with ALS who wants the COVID-19 vaccination has access.

A robust fundraising plan is well underway. The Walk to Defeat ALS committees are in full swing, with additional plans developing for Give STL Day,  the Swing for a Cure Golf Tournament, Kimmswick 5K, and a fall dinner event. What will those events look like? We’re not 100 percent sure. But, we are certain they will take place, and as such, we are proactively planning for multiple formats, while ensuring clear communication along the way.

Seem daunting? Perhaps—there is significant work to still be done. But, if my time with The Association has taught me anything, it is that the ALS community is strong and vibrant—the commitment, support and determination runs deep. We have to go further, but we will ultimately win this fight.

I look forward to taking this journey with you—as precarious as it might be—while listening to your stories and having important, energizing, and sometimes difficult conversations that will ultimately propel us forward. Together, change will be made, and I look forward to embracing the challenges and celebrating the successes along the way. The door is always open—please contact me at any time.

Katie McGovern

Katie can be reached at kmcgovern@alsastl.org.

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