Q&A with WestSide Baby’s New Executive Director

We are thrilled to welcome WestSide Baby’s next Executive Director, Allie Lindsay Johnson. We asked her a few questions, in hopes that you can start to get to know Allie. Keep your eyes peeled for other ways to connect with Allie.

What is it about WestSide Baby’s mission that resonates with you?

So many parents have come to depend on the incredible support system that is WestSide Baby. I know just how important a parent’s support system can be. I have a 3 year old daughter and we both experienced a lot of complications surrounding her birth. She was born 8 weeks early and my husband and I stayed in the NICU with her for 9 weeks. During that time I was hospitalized for postpartum psychosis and later I experienced postpartum depression. Those experiences made me so passionate about 0-5 services.

My time working in perinatal mental health taught me how challenging it is for a new parent to take care of their child or themselves under the best of circumstances. When, on top of that, a parent has the stress of figuring out how to pay for their kiddo’s next box of diapers or size up in clothes… it can feel insurmountable. I have always admired WestSide Baby for helping to remove that worry – and I am thrilled I get to continue to support new families and to bring my passion for parents’ health to the basic needs space.

In which area do you think you’ll be able to make the biggest impact at WestSide Baby?

My greatest priority as an Executive Director is to take care of my staff so they can take care of the community we serve. That includes involving staff (and stakeholders) in key decisions, prioritizing their health and wellness, and raising the revenue to give them competitive compensation and reasonable budgets. The nonprofit world tends to undervalue and under-resource the team that carries out the mission, leading to serious burnout and, sometimes, compromised services. I strongly believe that if an ED focuses their efforts on helping their team thrive, the organization and the community it serves are best set up to thrive as well.

What brings you joy outside of work?

My family! My husband and I have a daughter who brings both joy and chaos into our lives. Before joining WestSide Baby, I was lucky enough to take a sabbatical to spend time with them – and I’m so glad I did. I needed that time to further process and heal from my postpartum experiences and find joy in all the small moments with my kiddo. We parents have tons of responsibilities and it can be hard sometimes to do anything but put one foot in front of the other. I hadn’t realized how much of that I was doing until I forced myself to slow down.

When I slow down, some of my hobbies are reading, boating and camping around Puget Sound, browsing antique shops, and exploring the local businesses in my neighborhood.

What are some of your favorite children’s books?

Lately I’ve been loving Uni the Unicorn (about a unicorn who desperately believes little girls are real), Bodies Are Cool (a celebration of all types of bodies), and Corduroy (one of my favorite books when I was my daughter’s age).

What’s something you never expected to learn as a parent?

All of the lyrics to Frozen! I certainly didn’t think my 3 year old would be obsessed with it 11 years after it came out… I also didn’t expect the level of storytelling my daughter expects at random. I’ve recently had to find the creativity to regularly document the adventures of her imaginary unicorn friends Uni, Sparkles, and BlubBlub.