News: Wyman CEO Dave Hilliard to Retire at the Close of 2016

Wyman Honors Five Decades of Leadership to Serving Teens Locally and Nationally

St. Louis, MO [March 15, 2016] – After more than 50 years with Wyman, Dave Hilliard, President and CEO, is announcing his retirement at the end of 2016. Hilliard has served in this role for 41 years. Under his leadership, Wyman has grown from a St. Louis-based youth summer camp, into an organization that is recognized nationally for its expertise in positive youth development.

The announcement will kick-off an orderly leadership transition culminating with the induction of a new CEO. Wyman’s board has retained a national search firm, and is working to identify Hilliard’s successor, to build on his legacy of improving the lives of teens and their communities.

“During his time with the organization, Dave has never wavered in his belief that all young people, regardless of their circumstance, can succeed,” said Keat Wilkins, Chairman of the Board. “Dave has established Wyman as a learning organization that continuously measures and improves its work to most effectively serve youth from under-resourced environments. As a result, Wyman teens achieve educational success and develop important life and leadership skills. Ultimately, they become thriving leaders today and in the future.”

“Dave’s leadership and commitment has had a profound impact on teens in the St. Louis community, and around the world,” added Wilkins. “I look forward to working with the Board, Executive Leadership Team and staff to ensure a seamless transition, and continue this great tradition.”

“It’s a privilege to lead an organization whose board and investors support the mission in a strategic and generous way, which allows our employees to excel in delivering on our mission,” said Hilliard. “Our employees are committed to doing what’s right for our youth. They arrive every day with compassion, a willingness to learn and grow their practice, and a willingness to adjust to meet the needs of each and every teen. I am proud and humbled by what the Wyman team and all of our partners do on behalf of our teens.”

“I will retire confident in Wyman’s future,” added Hilliard. “Wyman has a strong, active and wise board in place, an unrivaled executive leadership team, and a deep and talented staff. Together, they are poised and committed to continuing this important work until every young person in our great region and country has the opportunity and support they need and deserve to succeed in life. Although my leadership journey with Wyman will close, I will remain active in the community as an advocate for equity of educational and developmental opportunities for teens.”

During Hilliard’s tenure, Wyman has been recognized as one of the “100 Top Non-Profits in America Creating Social Impact” by the Social Impact Exchange, and by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice. Wyman has consistently earned the highest quality ratings from Charity Navigator, the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the Council on Accreditation.

In 2015, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., State Celebration Commission and the St Louis County NAACP recognized Wyman’s long-standing work to support African-American and minority youth.

In the late 1990’s, Hilliard began transitioning Wyman from a direct program provider, serving a few thousand teens, into a national thought leader in positive youth development. Since 2010, through a network of certified partners, Wyman has improved the lives of more than 35,000 teens annually in more than 190 communities nationwide. Through Hilliard’s leadership, more than 500,000 youth have benefited from Wyman’s services, and upwards of 3,500 staff and professionals have amplified its impact. Most recently, Hilliard oversaw Wyman’s merger with inspireSTL, a St. Louis-based nonprofit that helps youth living in St. Louis city gain access to quality educational opportunities to enhance their potential and propel them to college.

Hilliard began working with Wyman as a summer camp counselor in 1965, joined the professional staff in 1972 and took the role of president in 1975. Just one year later, he launched “Leaders in Training” to help teens build leadership skills, and simultaneously launched a fee-driven social enterprise on Wyman’s 250-acre campus to serve the broader region with environmental education and leadership experiences. Since its inception, “Kiwanis Camp Wyman,” and more recently, the Lions’ Den Outdoor Learning Center, have supported Wyman’s ongoing youth development work.

In addition, Hilliard guided Wyman’s first foray into the national sphere by working with The Camp Coca-Cola Foundation to design, launch and operate a long-term leadership program for teens in five states. Less than a decade later, Wyman launched a replication model to equip adults across the nation to serve more teens using the Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®). The model includes the development of a national network of partners, who exponentially increase the number teens they serve and the outcomes those teens achieve, by training their own facilitators to deploy evidence-based programming across the U.S.

Wyman Solutions At-A-Glance:

  • On a national scale, TOP empowers teens from sixth through twelfth grade with the tools and opportunities needed to build a foundation of healthy behaviors, life skills and a sense of purpose, and avoid risky behaviors that derail success. Caring and highly trained adult facilitators guide students through a unique combination of engaging curriculum and experiential community service learning opportunities that help teens build strengths and hone social emotional skills proven to bolster success later in life. TOP has helped teens lower their risk of academic failure, dropout, teen pregnancy and suspension by more than 50 percent.
  • Wyman’s St. Louis-based Teen Leadership Program (TLP) boosts teens’ college tenacity through a six-year course of leadership experiences, college access and persistence programming that begins the summer after eighth grade and lasts through the second year of post-secondary education. Annually, 100 percent of TLP teens graduate from high school. More than 90 percent of TLP participants have entered, are persisting in, or have graduated from post-secondary institutions.
  • inspireSTL provides high-potential scholars with rigorous academic preparation to help them emerge as next-generation leaders. inspireSTL places these scholars into competitive college prep high schools. The program begins the summer after seventh grade, lasts through college, and includes securing financial aid, tutoring, coaching, ACT prep, and providing financial resources when necessary. In 2015, the first cohort of inspireSTL scholars graduated from the region’s top college prep schools and successfully entered high-caliber, four-year universities across the country. At least 90 percent of these teens are first-generation college students.
  • In addition, Wyman’s Research and Learning Department increases youth development effectiveness and impact by capturing and analyzing data, then disseminating best practices to launch innovation across the field.

Hilliard serves in leadership advisory roles at Saint Louis University’s John Cook School of Business, Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work and the University of Missouri St Louis’ College of Education, as well UMSL’s Non-profit Management and Leadership Program within the Department of Public Policy Administration. He also supports Mayor Francis Slay’s Commission on Children, Youth and Families in St. Louis, Nine Network’s American Graduate Steering Committee, the region’s Ready by 21 Leadership Council and St Louis Graduates’ steering committee. The most recent of many career awards and recognitions include a 2013 induction into the Stone-Smurfit Entrepreneurial Alumni Hall of Fame at Saint Louis University and an Honorary Doctorate by the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri in 2014.

About Wyman
Wyman, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit and proud member of the United Way, empowers teens from disadvantaged circumstances to live successful lives and build strong communities. Originally founded in 1898, Wyman envisions a day when all young people in America will succeed in learning, work and life.

Media Contact:
Kristin Gumper
Director, Communication & External Affairs