(2nd Vice President, 2021-2024; 1st Vice President, 2024–)
Professional title at time of election: Senior Director, Innovation at the Financial Health Network
I have served on the AAVSO’s Investment Committee for the past two years and am an experienced financial professional. Before my current role as Senior Director at the nonprofit Financial Health Network, I spent half my career in finance/treasury for two major industrial companies and the other half at top tier Wall Street firms advising financial institutions as clients. (For more on my background, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-austrin-willis/.) My interests include volunteering, training my rescue dog, singing in my congregation’s choir, and participating in the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC).
The AAVSO’s mission to enable anyone, anywhere to participate in scientific discovery resonates deeply with me. Our highly engaged, global membership base and our committed volunteers are our greatest strengths. As a new member of the Board, I recognize that I represent the broader base of AAVSO members, and I seek to understand the perspectives of those who have been part of the organization for a long time. Our members and volunteers are essential to the success of the AAVSO’s new strategy, particularly in support of the goals of increasing the operation’s effectiveness and advancing science.
As a member of the Board, I will also draw upon my professional experience in financial management, general management, and strategic change. My professional experience in finance and my prior work with the AAVSO and other nonprofit organizations enable me to contribute meaningfully to the implementation of the AAVSO’s new strategic plan, particularly the goal of focusing on financial stability. This will require diversifying the AAVSO’s sources of revenue to include more major grants and contracts, as well as growing its membership, in order to be able to further our strategic goal of advancing science and to execute on the ambitious strategic plan more broadly.
It has been an honor to serve on the Investment Committee for the past two years, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to this incredible organization in an even more meaningful way.