Building upon an incredible legacy of growth and success since the opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson in 2009, the board of directors of the Friends of the Walkway has selected Lori Robertson to serve as the nonprofit’s Executive Director and Diane Haight to remain with the organization as Deputy Director.
With more than 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Robertson’s career has been dedicated to supporting the work of land use and parks-focused organizations by building the resources and public support needed to execute and grow their missions. She and Diane start their new roles on January 3, 2023.
“Following a six-month search and review of more than 90 qualified candidates, we could not be more pleased to welcome a leader of Lori’s caliber to the Walkway team,” said Maureen Solero, Chair, Friends of the Walkway Board of Directors. “Lori’s combination of professional experience and passion for the Walkway’s mission make her an ideal fit as the organization begins a new, exciting chapter. We are also delighted that Diane Haight will remain with us in her new role as Deputy Director, focusing on strengthening our relationships with fellow community benefit organizations, building strategic partnerships, and expanding communication and outreach to key stakeholders.”
Robertson joins the Friends of the Walkway from the Urban Land Institute, where she served as Vice President of Corporate Sponsorship. Her career also includes experience as Director of Conservation Programming and Fundraising for the National Recreation and Park Association and as Corporate Engagement Manager for the Student Conservation Association.
“The transformative impact of parks is something I have been fortunate to witness firsthand throughout my career,” Robertson said. “I look forward to joining Walkway Over the Hudson during its next phase of growth to ensure the bridge continues to be a resource that improves the quality of life for all people within our region.”
Robertson is an alum of the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Outdoor Leadership Program and Center for Creative Nonprofit Leadership Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Montclair State University. A native of New Jersey, Robertson currently resides in Ulster County where she and her son have enjoyed many walks and bike rides on The World’s Longest Elevated Pedestrian Bridge.
“I look forward to working with Lori in an expanded leadership role that will allow the Friends of the Walkway to do even more to benefit the Hudson Valley region,” Haight said. “Together, we will continue to operate the essential programs and events that make The Walkway Experience special while raising vital new funds to support key future projects.”
Chaired by Solero, the Walkway’s Executive Search Committee was led by Carol Gordon of Carol Gordon Consulting. The committee included board members Chris Cunningham, Ron Lane, and Emily Saland as well as Andrea Reynolds, President and CEO of The Dyson Foundation.
For more information about the mission of the Friends of the Walkway and how to be part of the coalition dedicated to lighting the path forward for Walkway Over the Hudson, visit walkway.org/forward.
About Friends of the Walkway Over the Hudson
Supported by a diverse coalition of members, donors, and corporate sponsors, the Friends of the Walkway nonprofit organization is responsible for raising funds to enhance The Walkway Experience, support capital improvements, and host innovative events that engage Hudson Valley residents and visitors while contributing to the vitality of the region. Working in close partnership with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the New York State Bridge Authority, activities supported by the Friends of the Walkway include the volunteer Ambassador program, electric tram, tours of the bridge, interpretative signage in the park, providing accurate and important information to visitors via the Walkway’s website and social media channels, the Walkway’s membership and merchandise offerings, and much more. To learn more about how your support can improve the Walkway Over the Hudson and the communities of Poughkeepsie and Highland, visit walkway.org.
About Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park
Connecting the City of Poughkeepsie and the Hamlet of Highland in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park is a renowned tourism and recreation destination visited by more than 620,000 people each year. Standing 212 feet above the river’s surface and more than 6,700 feet (1.28 miles) long, the Walkway is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. The park provides unique access to the Hudson River’s breathtaking landscape for pedestrians, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and people with disabilities. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. until sunset, weather permitting. For more information, visit walkway.org.