After 13 years of service as President & CEO of United Way of Northwest Louisiana, Dr. Bruce Willson Jr., announces his retirement, effective the first quarter of 2022.
Dr. Willson assumed his position as President & CEO in April 2008. With more than a decade of service to Northwest Louisiana, he has assembled a dedicated staff and helped the agency refine its mission and strategy. The net effect of his work has resulted in major outcomes for the agency and the region in the areas of health, education, financial stability, and essential needs. Under his leadership, United Way of Northwest Louisiana opened enrollment for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, introduced the ALICE Report, re-established the 211 health and human service hotline, and opened the Shreveport Financial Empowerment Center in partnership with the City of Shreveport.
“It has been an honor and a blessing to serve Northwest Louisiana over the years,” said Dr. Willson. “I am so proud to not only have continued the mission of United Way, but also to see more than a decade of new initiatives come to fruition thanks to our staff, board of directors, and community partners. I will forever preach the impact this organization has on our community and continue to encourage others to LIVE UNITED.”
Dr. Willson was born in Paris, France, while his father was stationed nearby as a pilot in the United States Air Force. In the years that have followed, he has lived in Brazil, Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. He met his wife KK when they were in the seventh grade. They have been married for 44 years and have three adult children, two grandsons, and two granddaughters. Dr. Willson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Louisiana Tech University, a Master of Theology degree in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.
Prior to joining United Way of Northwest Louisiana, Dr. Willson worked as the Assistant Dean for Development in the College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University. He has been a Rotarian since 1993 and has served as President of the Rotary Club of Nacogdoches, Texas and the Rotary Club of Ruston, Louisiana. He is a Past District Governor of Rotary District 6190 and currently a member of the Rotary Club of Shreveport, Louisiana.
“In the time I’ve worked with Bruce, it’s easy to see how his influence has shaped not only the enthusiasm within the organization but also the community at large,” said United Way board of directors’ chair, John Adams. “Bruce lives the daily mantra of ‘if not me, then who? And if not now, then when?’ as a true leader. He developed and emboldened a strong, proficient team into a considerably challenging landscape during the recent pandemic and into its recovery period. It has been my pleasure to work and serve aside him in my role as board chair for United Way.”
A selection committee made up of members from the board of directors will manage the search for his successor. The link for applications will open on August 1 and close October 1. Dr. Willson plans to work with his successor to ensure a smooth transition.