Spotlight: Nancy Yuill

Nancy Yuill is our new Executive Director. We have had the pleasure of getting to know her throughout her first month at Innovative Changes, and wanted to give you the chance to get to know her too!

Nancy spent the past three years managing Peace Corps’ programming and training departments in Zambia. Before that, she was the Executive Director of Clackamas Community Land Trust, the founding Director of Trillium Artisans, and the advisor to a women’s savings and credit program in Uganda.  She has a Masters in Business Administration from Clarkson University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from St. Michael’s College.  We are excited to have someone with such vast and pertinent international and local experience to add to our staff skill set and bring IC$ into the New Year! Keep reading for our interview with Nancy!

What drew you to IC$?

I’ve always loved working with women to help them become more economically empowered. I’ve seen first-hand how impactful it can be for the women, and their families, when someone is given a chance to move ahead and take control of their finances. When I was thinking about what I wanted to do after my time in Zambia I knew my dream job would be working in the area of financial education and family economic empowerment.  I also knew not many organizations focused specifically on those programs.   I began searching for organizations in Portland doing this kind of work and was thrilled to find Innovative Changes. I signed up to receive IC$ newsletters and read them every month. When I saw that IC$ was hiring for a new Executive Director I jumped at the chance. This position very much matches my values and interests.

What has your first couple weeks been like?

Wonderful! I’m learning a lot. The staff and board have been very welcoming and it feels great to be here. Every day I am excited to learn something new, observe the great work we are currently doing, and to think about where we’re heading in the future.  I love reaching out to old friends in the non profit, public and private sector and reconnecting with them in my new role.

What do you see using from your past work at IC$?

We’re in an exciting growth mode right now so I am looking forward to using my experience building and growing organizations to our efforts here. I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers, and in my early career I spent some years working for a bank holding company.  That helped me develop a solid understanding of financial products.  My time in Uganda provided me with great experience working on microfinance programs for people of very low income.  Now I get to apply that knowledge and experience to our work here providing loan and savings products that fit our clients’ needs.  Also, I love to train, and I am eager to apply what I have learned from Peace Corps to enhance the quality of our curriculum and training delivery.

What are you most excited about in your work at IC$?

Wow, there’s so many things!  I’m a huge advocate of savings, so I am very excited that we are about to start doing Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). I believe that saving should have a leadership role in people’s engagement in the financial sector, but it is not always possible for people to save before using credit. Innovative Changes exists because many members of our community are struggling to achieve household stability, and sometimes they need a responsible consumer loan to help them move forward. I love that we now have a three-legged stool for our clients; financial education, responsible small dollar credit and matched savings.

I’m also eager to form more partnerships with community organizations so that we can offer our financial education packages on a contract basis.  A more formal relationship enables us to tailor our training to specific partner’s needs, and to provide consistently high quality training to their clients.

There is so much going on! Where will you be focusing your efforts over the next couple months?

In the beginning of 2012, we will undertake a strategic planning process to map out our next 5 years, so I will spend time preparing for that, seeking expert advice on the best way to make that process happen, and getting the board and staff geared up so we have a highly productive planning experience.  Meanwhile, I will continue to absorb what’s going on at IC$- learning more about current initiatives and projects. I’m reaching out to our funders, partners and key stakeholders to form relationships and finding ways to create new linkages in the community.

When you are not soaking in everything IC$, what do you like to do in your free time?

At this time of year you can find me playing in the mountains- I like to go snow shoeing and cross country skiing with my husband and two dogs.


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