“I’m inspired by people making big differences in their communities,” says Lola Simpson, one of ILA’s newest board members, elected in December 2016.
That was the biggest appeal about joining a nonprofit board, which is why she jumped at the opportunity to volunteer her services on ILA’s Board of Directors. Ms. Simpson brings valuable insight and expertise to the table, including two decades of experience working with city government and nonprofits (both on-staff and as a consultant) in the following areas: data management and reporting, program research and evaluation, technical assistance planning and implementation, business process analysis, technology management, contracting, and budgeting.
Her distinguished career in city government began when she was accepted into the LaGuardia Management Fellowship Program after leaving graduate school. As a fellow, Simpson worked as an analyst, rotating at several oversight and line agencies learning the challenges of policy and program implementation.
During her later career at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), Simpson worked for several reform initiatives in the mid-90s and early 2000s focused on decreasing foster, increasing preventive services, and improving data collection and internal systems to monitor contracted provider agencies’ accountability and performance. Ms. Simpson was instrumental in initiating and managing a web-based application to automate preventive services data to effectively monitored contracted agencies’ prevention services to families and children across the city. She served as Director of Management Analysis, Research and Planning at the agency for nine years.
Currently, she works as Senior Director at OneCity Health, which is currently reforming the state’s Medicaid waiver program, and is responsible for operations, administration, contracting, and payment for the NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest Performing Provider System (PPS) in New York City. Prior to OneCity Health, Simpson held a similar role for a year at NYC Health + Hospitals, streamlining large contracts and fiscal procedures with several community-based social justice organizations and stakeholders including the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and Office of Mental Health and Mental Hygiene. She assisted Central Office Finance in the External Appeal Pilot implementation to develop a centralized appeal process across the 11 hospitals, and helped recoup lost revenue from insurance denials for medically necessary procedures. Ms. Simpson was part of a HHC Options Steering Committee looking at strategies to improve and increase access to health care for uninsured populations. She also held an eight-year position at Metis Associates, a national research and consulting firm, where she advised federal, state and local governments, and foundations across the country on policy, program research, evaluation and implementation, and data collection and reporting improvements in areas of child welfare, social justice reform, and community development.
Ms. Simpson credits years of analyzing data and evaluating programs as an ideal fit for ILA. “Understanding the importance of data in the workplace, particularly in human services, is critical to understanding the populations you’re serving to successfully meet their needs,” she explains. “It’s a powerful way to justify why a program is needed. If donors see ILA is meeting its performance measures and outcomes, the more likely programs can continue to receive proper funding and support.”
Ms. Simpson is committed to helping ILA enhance outcomes for Individuals so they continue to meet their goals and live full, productive lives. “As a board member, my goal is to help the agency grow and function at the highest level possible, while serving as a model for best practices.” She believes it’s important to tour ILA’s residences so she can meet the staff and Individuals behind each program.
When she’s not working, or serving on the ILA Board, Simpson volunteers for New York Cares, a nonprofit dedicated to improving education, revitalizing public spaces and fulfilling community needs. Every August, she participates in a beautification project at a city school and helps to prepare classrooms for the new academic year.
Education is a cause close to Simpson’s heart. She’s the mother of two children who are currently pursuing degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University. Guiding them along new and exciting paths is one of life’s highlights for Simpson. She never hesitates to discuss their futures to prepare them for success.
The same could be said about her work with ILA. “Impacting lives has always been one of my biggest goals. As a board member, it’s rewarding to know that our efforts have the capability of improving Individuals’ lives.”