Congratulations to Paula Green Johnson – she has been selected as one of the 2017 Outstanding Directors Awards honorees! She is being honored for her work as the following:
- Executive Committee & Board Member at United Way of Salt Lake
- Chair, Community Advisory Board at YWCA Utah
- Chair at YWCA USA
- Executive Committee & Board Member at Ronald McDonald House of the Intermountain Area
The annual Outstanding Directors Awards celebrates our state’s most engaged and effective board members—individuals who exemplify excellence in corporate governance while guiding companies to develop long-term strategies, enhance their performance and mitigate risk.
Read more about Paula and the other 2017 Outstanding Directors Awards honorees in the digital magazine.
Paula Green Johnson says she is drawn to organizations that work to empower women, eliminate racism and fight for social justice. “That’s what draws me first and foremost, is those ideas,” she says. “They’re very important in my life; they have been since I was a young girl.”
Johnson learned those values at the side of her parents while she worked with them in the family grocery store. “In addition to learning a very strong work ethic and business principles, they also taught me that all people deserve respect and sometimes people need help, and I was in a position where I could begin to help others,” she says.
Johnson has been on the board of United Way of Salt Lake since 2008. She first became involved with the organization through its Women United initiative, which brings together female philanthropists to strategize and advocate around specific causes. From there, she was drawn into board service for the organization, where she is currently a member of the executive committee and chairs the governance and ethics committee. Johnson has also played a role at the national level, serving on United Way Worldwide’s National Women’s Leadership Council from 2010 through 2016.
Johnson is also deeply involved in the YWCA at both the local and national level, and is currently chair of YWCA USA. “The YWCA USA is responsible to ensure that the 222 associations that we have in the United States are successful in their communities,” she explains.
As a board member, Johnson is notable for her courage, compassion and authenticity, says Bill Crim, president and CEO of United Way of Salt Lake. “United Way of Salt Lake has been through this 10-year transformation of our organization, where we’ve really had to make some difficult, I think, and visionary choices to position ourselves to really work with the rest of the community to solve problems. And all along the way, Paula was a clear voice of direction, a clear voice of courage; she keeps the end goal in mind always and then helps our board and our staff stay on that path.”
He adds, “Around public policy issues, Paula’s courage in saying and doing the right thing has been unwavering, but always with an air of respect for people with differing points of view, and Paula sets an example for everyone on our board about how to be passionate and effective and a leader of real, true substance and compassion.”
Johnson chairs the governance and ethics committee for United Way of Salt Lake and also chairs the governance committee for Ronald McDonald House. She says governance is what she enjoys most in board service. “I like it because it allows the organization to live their mission; it allows them to become very responsive to the people they serve, to become fiscally strong and to be good stewards of public and private resources.”
But in the end, the thing she finds most rewarding about serving on the boards of nonprofit organizations is the opportunity to make the world better. “The most exciting thing for me is you really can change a person’s life and you actually can make a difference in the world,” she says.