For the first time in its 107-year history, the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC) will be led by a woman and Native-American.
After an intensive national search, the human service nonprofit stayed close to home, naming Noya Woodrich, the GMCC senior vice president and executive director of the Division of Indian Work, as president and CEO to succeed Gary Reierson.
“I am very excited and honored to be selected to continue to grow with the organization that I have spent my career at; one with a strong foundation and history of accomplishments,” Woodrich said. “I am looking forward to the challenge of continuing to build on our legacy of service to this community.”
Woodrich came to the Division of Indian Work (DIW) in 1991 as a volunteer and youth worker. Ten years later, she took the helm and during her 12 years of leadership, the DIW budget grew from $1 million to almost $4 million, programs have expanded from six to 19 and partnerships and relationships with more than 25 governmental, nonprofit and community organizations have been strengthened.
Woodrich, an Athabascan Native-American, said she has worked closely with outgoing GMCC president Gary Reierson to dispel initial misconceptions in the Native-American community about the DIW/GMCC partnership and enhance that relationship.
“I am thrilled that Noya Woodrich has been named as my successor,” Reierson said. “I have had the pleasure of watching her grow into a first-rate leader, and I am confident that she will do an outstanding job moving the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches to the next level of impact in our region.”
Simon Foster, chair-elect of the GMCC board, said the search committee and KeyStone Search conducted an intensive national and local search, screening more than 300 candidates. According to Foster, after interviewing a broad range of qualified business and nonprofit leaders, the search committee realized the best candidate was already on staff.
“I am very excited about Noya Woodrich becoming the next president of GMCC,” Foster said. “Her qualities of leadership and authenticity as well as her strong track record and reputation in the community ended up making it a unanimous choice for the search committee.”
Art Coulson, DIW board chair, said that while DIW will miss Woodrich’s guiding hand, he expects she will build upon the strong foundation laid by Reierson over the past 23 years.
“I have had the pleasure of working alongside Noya at the Division of Indian Work for the past six years and have found her to be a deep strategic thinker as well as a compassionate leader,” Coulson said. “She has led DIW with distinction and we are comforted by the knowledge that we will enjoy an excellent working relationship with the new leader of GMCC right out of the chute.”
Woodrich, who has a 7-year-old son, Tuari, grew up in Wisconsin. She has a Master of Social Work from Augsburg College. Woodrich is on the adjunct and community faculties of Augsburg and Metro State University and serves on a number of community committees and boards, including vice chairperson for the Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors and on the executive committee for Youth Violence Prevention for Minneapolis.
Woodrich will assume her new position on July 3. GMCC has 30 programs focusing on helping seniors, empowering urban Native-Americans, nurturing families, fighting hunger and reducing crime impacting 350,000 people statewide. With a $7.5 million budget, 700 member congregations and 25,000 volunteers, GMCC is the largest council of churches in North America.
To learn more about Woodrich, visit www.gmcc.org.