Colin Wallis

Colin Wallis
  • Name
  • Colin Wallis
  • Title
  • CEO
  • Organization
  • Austin Parks Foundation
  • Years as Executive Director
  • July will mark my 5 year anniversary at APF.

  • What does your organization do?
  • The easy way to tell people what we do is to say that we improve parks in Austin, TX. We leverage volunteers, funding, and partners to improve our 300+ parks and open spaces that are woefully underfunded.
  • How did you become interested in this work?
  • I was an early board member of the Trail Foundation and was the board chair when we raised over $5M to build the boardwalk. I'm a runner and an outdoor enthusiast. It was a natural fit.
  • What drives your passion?
  • Perspective about how lucky we all are to live in Austin, TX, USA. My wife and daughter. NYT Crossword puzzles.
  • Did you have a mentor or role model?
  • I was fortunate to have many. Bill McLellan and Mary Herman took great interest in me as a human being early in my career. Chip Gist, Brent Buckman, and Greg Smith taught me more than I could ever remember.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?
  • Probably myself. I try to do too much. I get too focused on what I'm not doing well and things that didn't work.
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?
  • Quit trying to shove 10 pounds of sh!$ into a 5 pound sack!
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?
  • Laugh a lot.
    Focus on people and the rest will take care of itself.
    Always remember you are not the smartest person in the room.

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