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Heather Willden Named Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives


After five years with AARC, Heather Willden is moving into a new role as our Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives. She will work directly with the House of Delegates and state societies, serving as the primary AARC headquarters contact to provide tools, resources, and guidance. Furthermore, in this role, Willden will serve as the lead for AARC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and coordinate and support strategic plan efforts.

“I am excited for this new opportunity and direction for my career,” Willden said. “I thoroughly enjoy working with my AARC colleagues and our members, which will only grow in this new role.”

Willden began her AARC career in the Communications department, moving up to become Director of Communications and Media. Prior to AARC, Willden spent 10 years in the school public relations field, highlighting the great work of students and staff and leading staff and community ambassador programs. Before school public relations, Willden worked for the Alamo Area Council of Governments, where she—as she puts it—marketed air quality.

“I was the one telling you to carpool and not idle your engine,” Willden said.

This experience and her dedicated work with the AARC membership offer a great foundation for this new role.

“Heather brings unique skills and experience to this role, and I know she will mold and shape it into exactly what our team and members need,” said AARC Executive Director Dan Garrett, CAE. “This role directly supports our strategic plan, and I look forward to working with Heather in this new capacity as we head into the new era of AARC.”

Willden received her Bachelor of Science degree from Trinity University in San Antonio where she majored in Business Administration (Marketing) and minored in both Sociology and Communication Management. When she is not working, you can find her exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

This position opportunity comes as Pam Russell, our current director of governance and strategic initiatives, is leaving the AARC. We thank Pam for her time in this role and her dedication to the AARC.


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