JOB: President/Founder of Long View Group LLC, President of Board of Trustees, Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science
HOMETOWN: Flint, Mich.
HER RESUME: Walker has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA, both from the University of Michigan. She spent 35 years in the corporate world, working in finance; strategy; and mergers and acquisitions. In 1996, she moved from Chicago to Evansville to join Bristol Myers Squibb-Mead Johnson, where she was Vice President of Strategy & Development and previously Controller. She retired from Mead Johnson in 2008. In addition to being president of the museum board, she is a board member of the University of Evansville Theatre Society and Deaconess Health System Inc.
HER STORY: Walker knew after retiring she didn’t “want to sit on the bench.” She worked for a year developing Long View Group LLC, a finance and strategy group for individuals and corporations. And she made the decision to stay in Evansville. Walker cites having wonderful friends, a good professional base, strong ties to Memorial Baptist Church, and moving her mother to Evansville four years ago as to why Evansville is home. “For all those reasons, I decided to recommit to the area.” Walker also wanted to make a meaningful contribution to the community and got involved lecturing at the University of Southern Indiana and became president of the museum board in June.
HER PERSPECTIVE: “I love learning. I think the ability to learn is one of the distinguishing gifts humans have. What I have tried to do is have as many experiences as possible in life. At the end of the day, I want my time here to have mattered and to have made a difference.
On new projects at the museum:
Probably the most visible thing everyone is anticipating is the Koch Immersive Theatre, which is replacing the current planetarium and is being built early next year. The immersive theater uses five separate digital video projectors to project over the new 40-foot dome. The curvature of the dome provides the “immersive” experience. In addition, the Toyota Interactive Museum Experience will provide wireless Internet that will enable smart phone access to videos in which the museum’s docents, curators, and visiting artists discuss an exhibit being viewed. The $30,000 grant will fund the purchase of 15 hand-held devices for school children and visitors to borrow.
On her interest in art:
My corporate experience and core disciplines have been quantitative, but I also have shared a love for the arts since I was at least in elementary school. I love music. I played the violin as a kid.
On increasing children’s participation:
Part of the focus for me for several years has been how to make art attractive to young people today. How do we bridge that gap? It is important for children to be exposed to the arts. I think technology is the enabler for whatever we’re trying to do today.
On increasing interest in the arts:
A lot of times, people view the arts as an upper class phenomena, so they don’t always feel comfortable participating. We have to get people through the doors to show them that we can deliver on something that is appealing so they want to return and bring their friends. It’s basic marketing. I do have a passion for the arts, but that can’t be the only thing. That’s not enough, especially today.
On why she likes Evansville:
I like the people. People have been very nice and open and I would dare say, for me, Evansville is easy.
On what music she listens to in the car:
I have to say I like love songs. And they’re usually all male artists singing them to me.
For more information about Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science, call 812-425-2406 or visit emuseum.org.