Sometimes in life, you end up right where you belong.
As a student, Gail Milligan was inspired by a relative who spent his entire career in law enforcement. She had stopped chasing her dream of putting her formidable talents to work for a police department when one day, that dream showed up on her doorstep in the form of her new job as Executive Director of the Charlottesville Police Foundation.
Just out of college and with the country in the midst of an economic downturn, Gail searched in vain for a law enforcement job in her native Long Island. When she heard about an “out-of-state” day in Arizona, she hopped on the first plane and quickly found herself packed into a van with her fellow non-Arizona job seekers, heading to a military obstacle course in the desert. The temperature was over 100 degrees. As it turned out, she was a single wall-scale away from earning the badge she so coveted, and she ended up working as a probation officer, staying close to the system and working closely with officers and the criminal justice system.
Since arriving in Charlottesville two decades ago, Gail has fashioned a successful career path that includes several high-profile not-for-profit leadership positions. She served as Virginia State Director and East Coast Board Relations with Learning Ally (formerly known as RFB&D). While there Gail was responsible for the fund development strategy and operations for the Virginia organization. She was promoted in 2010 to Director of East Coast Board Relations, where she advised and supported the work of six boards of directors. Gail also served as Executive Director of the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council, a business membership organization that provided educational programming, connections and collaboration for its 200 members. A highlight of her time there was the founding of the Tech Tour, the organization's technology workforce program which provides high school students hands-on experience with technology and research professionals. The program continues today.
“We are delighted to welcome Gail as our next Executive Director of the Charlottesville Police Foundation,” CPF Board Chair Laurie Casteen said. “We have been incredibly fortunate to have had Mindy Goodall leading us for the past 10 years, and her remarkable talent, dedication and hard work has put us in a strong position for growth and success moving forward. Gail’s success in the not-for-profit world in Charlottesville and her long standing connections in the community make her the perfect candidate to help us continue our efforts to support the department in a way that best serves not only its members, but all members of our community.”
When she heard about the Executive Director opening at the Charlottesville Police Foundation, Gail thought it was too good to be true. “For this unfulfilled career dream to come full circle with this extraordinary opportunity to work with this organization, the remarkable people who give their time, resources, and energy to it, and most of all, to the men and women who sacrifice so much every day to serve and protect the citizens of Charlottesville, means everything to me.
It is also an honor to continue the exceptional work of outgoing Executive Director Mindy Goodall, whose talents, energy and dedication have done so much to set this organization up for success.”
Now a week into her official duties, Gail is diving in headfirst, meeting with key stakeholders on the board, on the force, and in the community she has grown to love in her two decades here. “In many ways, our community is a microcosm, but we also have been in the spotlight for obvious reasons. I have great confidence in and hope for Charlottesville. I am excited to insert myself in all corners of this community to find more ways that the Charlottesville Police Foundation can make a difference and strengthen those already strong bridges that have been created by Mindy, the board and by this organization since its founding in 2004.”