40 Under Forty: Bonnie J. Walker, 39


Executive director of diversity & inclusion strategy
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Lives: Millbury

Birthplace: Hanover, N.H.

College: Clark University

Walker's committed her entire career to helping and supporting young people. Walker worked to increase enrollment of underrepresented minority students at WPI and has restructured the college's Connections Program, a pre-orientation program for minorities and first-generation college students. She works to educate community members on diversity, inclusion and equality efforts, and oversees initiatives at WPI to improve on those ideals on campus. Walker received the emerging leader award from the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce's Diverse Professionals Roundtable last year. Walker began her career in admissions at WPI and returned to Worcester after a stint at Boston College to take be WPI's associate director and coordinator of multicultural recruitment, before transitioning into be director of multicultural affairs and then assuming her current role in 2016. Walker's work keeps her involved in industry organizations, including the New England Association for College Admissions Counseling, American College Personnel Association and Northeast Consortium Bridging Access to College, where she served as vice president from 2007-2009. Walker serves on the board of the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.

From 40 Under Forty judge Kate Sharry: “Already recognized for leadership roles and celebrated for success, Bonnie continues to keep her focus on her commitment to diversity and inclusion in our community.”

If you could go back in time, when would you go back to? To college in '00; I would do a whole variety of new things, navigating the opportunity all over again!

Who is responsible for your success? My mom and dad. They are outstanding role models, great supporters and provided me great privileges.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Bonnie J. Walker took over the position of Worcester Polytechnic Institute executive director of diversity & inclusion strategy immediately after rejoining WPI from Boston College. She rejoined WPI as associate director and coordinator of multicultural recruitment and was eventually promoted to executive director of diversity & inclusion strategy in 2016.
Read about the entire 2018 Class of 40 Under Forty
Michael Alden - Ascentria Care Alliance
Che Anderson - City of Worcester
Victor M. Archila - VMA Electric Inc.
Allison Beckler, DO - YOU, Inc.
Sam Bitar - Webster Five
Mark A. Borenstein - Seder & Chandler LLP
Kate D. Campanale - Massachusetts House of Representatives
Derek Canton - paerpay
Ryan Canuel - Petricore, Inc.
Jennifer Caron - Body Therapeutics
Danielle J. Clark - Clark Career Coaching
Heidi Cooper - Cooper’s Hilltop Farm
Matthew M. Copeland, P.E. - Copeland Building Envelope Consulting
Pat Davis - The DAVIS Cos.
Efua T. Dufu, MSW, LCSW - Ellite Event Planning
Grace Elton - Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Ursula Furi-Perry, J.D. - Becker College
Jared E. Gentilucci - Nitsch Engineering
David Gilchrist, MD, MBA - UMass Memorial Health Care
Alvara Gjylapi - Santander Bank
Erica Grinkis - The GazBar Sports Grill
Meredith Harris - Marlborough Economic Development Corp.
Erin Jansky - Worcester Housing Authority
Ben Jones - Boston Scientific Corp
Alexis Kelleher - Crust Bakeshop; North Main Provisions
Bert LaValley - Sustainable Comfort, Inc.; deadhorse hill & simjang restaurants
Jennifer Leger - Fidelity Bank
Brian Lemerise - Quiet Logistics, Inc.
Tom Lubelczyk - The Worcester Jazz Collective
Laura Marotta - Creative Hub Worcester
Ryan Matson - Small Business Insurance Agency
Michael P. McDonough, CPA - McDonough, McDonough & Corsini, LLP
Madeline Mendoza - NewVue Communities
Jessica Morris - MCPHS University
Nathan Oriol - Oakdale Rehabilitation & Skilled Nursing Center (Oriol Health Care)
Nicholas Pelletier - Pelletier Properties at Keller Williams North Central
Courtney E. Pelley - Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Lilian Radke - Unic Pro Inc.
Blaine Schnare - Harrington HealthCare System
Bonnie J. Walker - Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Learn how the winners were picked on our judges' page.