I’m thrilled to announce the appointment of a new Director to the Path Forward Board: Gayatri Agnew. Gayatri serves on the leadership team of Walmart’s Global Responsibility division where she leads strategy and partnerships for Walmart’s efforts on economic mobility. Her work is focused on key issues such as employer practices change, improving work-based learning, and strengthening inclusion in communities. Her personal mission is for more people to find purpose through the way they earn a living.
Gayatri’s passion for philanthropy and inclusion has its roots in having been raised by a strong, resilient single mom and having followed a less than traditional path to her place of influence at Walmart. Gayatri’s first job was serving pizza where she learned critical skills such as problem solving, operating in a fast-paced environment and deescalating conflict. She is a community college alum who worked many jobs throughout her studies. She believes in the power of learning and the value of work, and has dedicated herself to ensuring more people have access to meaningful employment and to effective ways to learn and grow.
These formative experiences showed Gayatri the depth of disparity between talent and opportunity and as a result, she dedicated herself to changing employment practices, improving education, and expanding opportunities for economic mobility. These experiences also made her an advocate for women both in civic and corporate life. She founded and co-leads the Walmart Career Moms group, an informal affinity group creating more community for mothers in corporate America. She also founded our new favorite holiday, Mother’s Monday, to celebrate all working mothers. She joined the wave of women who ran for office in 2018, throwing her hat in the ring for the Arkansas State House. While she did not win the race, she did achieve a major victory for working moms on both sides of the political aisle when she successfully petitioned the Arkansas State ethics commission to allow candidates to use campaign funds to cover campaign-related childcare. This victory has helped pave the way for future mothers (and fathers!) running for office, furthering Gayatri’s efforts to build strong and healthy communities and ensuring all voices are heard in centers of power. On the political front she currently holds a seat on the board of the Vote Mama Foundation and is a former Board member of the Center for Women and Democracy.
“I am delighted to be joining the Path Forward Board because it intersects with so many of my interests — the development of a diverse workforce, including employers participation in that development, the needs of women and, especially, mothers, in the workforce and the overall need to raise women’s voices in both the public and private sectors,” Gayatri told me. “Path Forward is also at a pivotal phase of its life as a nonprofit, coming up on its fifth anniversary in 2021. I am excited to be part of its next stage of growth and impact.”
“We feel fortunate to have Gayatri join our Board at this very important time in the evolution of our organization,” said Matt Blumberg, Board Chair. “Her background is tailor-made for us in that it includes experience in and dedication to so much of what Path Forward is about — workforce development and women’s advancement in corporate life. I’ve already learned a lot from my interactions with Gayatri and am looking forward to the impact she will have.”
For my part I feel personally lucky to have Gayatri offering me her expertise and guidance. I’m also looking forward to meeting up with her the next time I swing through Bentonville, Arkansas where she lives with her husband and their two young children. A native Californian, she has a deep appreciation for nature and enjoys spending time with her family on the hiking trails in Northwest Arkansas and sharing her love of creative arts with her kids.
Welcome to Path Forward, Gayatri!