The LDS Board of Directors is excited to announce that after an extensive search process with very many qualified applicants Rachel Forbes has been appointed LDS permanent Executive Director. From the moment she stepped in as Interim Executive Director, Rachel’s impressive dedication and decisive, insightful leadership impressed both Board members and staff.
Rachel brings over 20 years of experience working with non-profits, charities, and companies in various capacities including as executive director, program lead, staff lawyer, and volunteer board member. With experience in governance, fundraising, strategy, project management, and communications, Rachel is well-poised to lead LDS through our next phase of strategic growth and beyond.
Tell us a little bit about your background. What first drew you to work in the non-profit sector?
Fundamentally, I’m driven by my values and by what I consider to be positive impact on the world we share. While there are increasing numbers of for-profit companies who have a core commitment to values, I find the greatest alignment in the non-profit and charitable sector.
I believe the non-profit sector has taken on an increasingly heavy and often unrecognized responsibility for delivering the services, supports and products that allow our society to operate at a level we consider fair, just, and healthy. That responsibility is significant and serious. I find it an honour to work with and lead non-profits that are finding creative, innovative and systemic ways to make our communities and our world a better place.
Do you feel personally connected to the LDS mission? In what way?
Of course, in many ways. I think the primary way I feel personally connected with LDS, especially now as a parent, is a feeling in my gut and in my heart—a passion—that every child has the opportunity to “learn how they best learn” and to be able to apply that in school and throughout their lives in whatever path they end up pursuing. I love that we work on an individual basis with each child who comes through our door to equip them with the skills and tools they need to navigate their world and to pursue whatever challenges and adventures they are most passionate about.
How does an interim ED’s role differ from a permanent ED’s role, and what made you decide to apply for the permanent position?
It’s different because now I don’t have to think about how to stay connected with LDS after my interim role ends! I now get to focus on working with and building our amazing team. I decided to apply for the permanent position because I couldn’t imagine not working with the LDS team to advance our mission. It grabbed me right away.
In the short time you’ve been at LDS, what has inspired you the most?
Every student of LDS is an inspiration. Every time I meet one of them, hear about their progress and see their smiling faces, my inspiration reignites and grows.
What most excites you about working at LDS?
I think the most exciting thing is the potential that exists at every turn—the potential to work more deeply with some students, the potential to work with many more students (including in new and creative ways like our 2020 summer programming), and the potential to positively influence the lives of the children, youth and families that we work with on a daily basis.
What was your favourite subject when you were in school?
That’s a tough one. I really loved math when it was taught by a specific teacher—he had an amazing way of making math a really gratifying problem solving endeavour. However, geography ended up being my favourite in the end. My dad was my teacher for geography in high school and I feel like he really made the Earth come alive for me. I am mesmerized by our planet’s powerful natural systems, the history that they carry, and the influence that they have over all living creatures.
Pencils, or pens, and why?
Pens—blue ink, smooth medium point tips only. I especially love it when the ink is warm so I often put a pen into my pony tail to warm it up!