Walnut Way hires new executive director from United Way

LaShawndra Vernon to assume role on June 13

A new executive director has been hired by Walnut Way conservation Corporation.

LaShawndra Vernon, program director of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, will assume the role on June 13.

“LaShawndra brings knowledge of the mission of our organization and has led programs in her current role with United Way and has served as a spokesperson and champion for the mission,” said Tracy Meeks, chair of Walnut Way’s search committee. “We are excited about the future of Walnut Way and look forward to working with her as we enter the next phase of strategic planning.”

Vernon will replace Walnut Way founder Sharon Adams, who stepped down as executive director in December.

Sharon Adams
Sharon Adams

Adams founded Walnut Way 16 years ago with her husband, Larry, and several neighbors to tackle what they saw as a growing problem in their neighborhood — vacant lots and abandoned homes. They began by renovating one house, a former drug house on the corner of their neighborhood at 2240 N 17th Street, and transformed it into their organization’s headquarters. In addition to home renovations and repair projects, the organization also helps connect homebuyers and those in the neighborhood planning home improvement projects on their own with the resources they need to complete them.

Walnut Way hired Spano Pratt Executive Search firm this winter to help find Adams’ successor and began conducting interviews in April.

Vernon has worked with Walnut Way in the past as a representative of the United Way and has experience with grant writing and project development.

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Ben Stanley
Ben Stanley, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.