Kathy Whitaker, the director of the First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging & Disability (FTAAAD), a department of the First Tennessee Development District (FTDD), is one of nine 2022 YWCA Tribute to Women Awardees.
Nominated by her peers at the FTDD, Whitaker was selected for this distinction for her transformative role within Northeast Tennessee. During her 46 years of service, Whitaker has transformed the programs she leads; the lives of the consumers that the FTAAAD serves; and the role service providers play in meeting the needs of our region’s senior and adult disabled populations.
In addition to her administrative functions, Whitaker often serves as a mentor to her staff drawing on the depth of her experience in senior care and services. Angie Gwaltney, homecare manager for FTAAAD, has recounted the number of times she has learned from Kathy as a leader. Her “ability to form partnerships, build consensus, and expand services are amazing to see.”
Susan Reid, the interim executive director of the FTDD and a 2017 YWCA Tribute to Women Awardee, has often found herself “awed by Kathy’s servant heart. She, even as director of FTAAAD, delivers meals to seniors, visits homes, meets seniors face-to-face.” Susan went on to say that Kathy has pursued every resource and every opportunity to expand services and meet the growing needs of the area’s senior population. Said Reid added that, “she has protected, fed, and fought for the most at-risk and frail in our region. She had done so every day for more than four decades.”
Whitaker was presented her YWCA Tribute to Women Award at the FTDD, surrounded by her family and coworkers. “I am honored, and humbled,” said Whitaker, “I didn’t do what I’ve done for recognition, I did it because my heart is in this work.”
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