Riford’s newest director puts business degree to work

By Joceyln Maggard

With the Riford Center in need of a new director, Nancy Walters transitioned from acting as the interim director to the permanent director on Oct., and she couldn't be happier to be where she is.

"I really love being here, everything from putting on events, to scheduling classes, to writing the newsletter, to getting to know the members are all excellent. It's really a blessing," said Walters.

The Riford Center is a non-profit active adult center, serving the La Jolla community, offering a variety of classes, programs and events.

Walters became the first assistant director at the center a year and a half ago, and had already been responsible for many of the administrative tasks that are expected in her new position.

Having studied business at San Diego State University, she said she used to picture herself in the corporate world. She added it was only recently that she realized her calling was in the non-profit sector.

"(The Riford Center) is a business, and I'm applying what I learned in school and in my previous work experience."

Before coming to the Riford, Walters worked for almost four years as the programs coordinator for the after school programs at Border View YMCA; Walters is from South Bay. At the YMCA, she garnered valuable experience in creating enticing programs to retain enrollment, something very much needed at a center like The Riford that is funded by memberships.

When Walters first started, there were 160 members and now, there are 400 members. The goal she says is to keep increasing that.

In the past two years, The Riford has seen three different directors, but Walters said that this job is for her.

"I'm planning to make a life here and I have plans to move to the La Jolla area soon. As long as they will have me here, I want to be here. It's really fulfilling to work in a place like this because we have a really talented board and members, but also because the Riford is an attribute to the La Jolla community," she said.

Walters' noted in an e-mail that her goal for the center is "to make it a household name by elevating the program and special events. The Riford is really important to a lot of people."

She says she is also trying to make it a staple in La Jolla by partnering with the community.

According to Glen Rasmussen, who chairs the center’s board, Walters brings youth, vitality, intelligence and experience to the Riford Center. ... With the exceptional assistance of Jamie Saenz, Nancy is doing a fantastic job and has helped make the transition much easier. Our members love and respect her.“

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