Emily van Agtmael, IWPR Board Member
By Jocelyn Fischer
IWPR Board member Emily van Agtmael is an interior designer and the owner of Van Agtmael Interiors, located in Bethesda, Maryland. Her volunteer work reaches across the worlds of education and the arts. She serves on the board of New Futures, an organization that provides financial support and mentoring to low-income youth pursuing postsecondary education. She is also on the President’s Advisory Council of Smith College, and she formerly served on the national board of Free the Children trust.
Ms. Van Agtmael joined the IWPR Board of Directors in 2003 after learning about IWPR’s research on issues that interested her, and a former board member, the late Brooke Shearer told her of IWPR’s critical role. As a board member, Ms. van Agtmael has primarily worked on IWPR’s communications efforts. Her interest in effective communication stems from her experience as an interior designer. She learned that an essential skill for working well as an interior designer is clear and truthful communication. Working with IWPR and other non-profits, she realized that this asset is just as important for organizations as individuals: communicating IWPR’s findings to others is critical to influencing the policy debate.
Ms. van Agtmael’s most rewarding experience as an IWPR board member has been working on the redesign of IWPR’s website, for which she has provided IWPR staff members endless feedback. She says, “It’s most exciting to see an important project like this come to fruition.” We agree and we couldn’t have done it without her!