Hi, I'm Selma Walker
I’ve worked at JPA for over 30 years. The transitions have been many, from receptionist, when JPA opened our Parent-Infant Development Center, to Business Manager, Project Director of School Programs and finally to Senior Director of HR & Operations.
It may seem like a stretch to go from studying art to working at JPA, but I once considered getting a degree in Art Therapy and actually wrote an article on child abuse for a local magazine, interviewing Richard Calica, former Executive Director of JPA, a few years before working here.
As Senior Director of School Partnerships, I serve at a peer-to-peer level with school administration (principals, assistant principals, etc.); meet with administrators to discuss school culture and deepening JPA services for a holistic approach to a healthy school environment for all, and help resolve issues or concerns between JPA staff and school administrators to help strengthen partner relationships.
As Senior Director of Operations, I deal with internal and external parties. Including orienting new hires; developing and maintaining relationships with brokers and employee benefit liaisons; processing payroll; administering our employee retirement plan; assisting with the audit process, and mediating between supervisors and supervisees as needed. I develop and maintain relationships with vendors related to equipment and building operations; review vendor contracts and recommend changes as warranted; process insurance renewals and audits, and oversee preparation of project budgets, financial reporting, and narratives for program grants.
I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (BFA) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. My specialties include HR mediation, observation, assessment, and summation, and having a direct approach to sometimes multi-layered complicated matters.