Sarah Strunk is Strategic Advisor at Active Living By Design. She has been with the organization since its inception, first serving as Deputy Director from 2002-2005 and as Director/Executive Director from 2005-2015. As Strategic Advisor, Sarah focuses on business development, partnership development and providing institutional history and strategic guidance to organizational leadership. Sarah also has served on a variety of national advisory committees, including the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Communities Creating Healthy Environments (CCHE), and Voices for Healthy Kids, and as a proposal reviewer and advisor for many state and national grant programs. Locally, she is active in Girls on the Run of the Triangle where she has served as a board member since 2009 and as an officer from 2010-2015. In addition, she was recently appointed to the Duke University Alumni Association Board of Directors and volunteers with the Sanford School of Public Policy.
She has professional experience in leadership, strategic planning, business development, operational planning, fundraising and constituent relations in provider, payer, public health, university and nonprofit organizations. Previously, she was Director of External Affairs at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Sarah also served as Director of Corporate Planning at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, and in strategic and business planning roles at Duke University Medical Center and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
Sarah earned a Masters of Healthcare Administration from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991, and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Duke University in 1987. Outside of the office, she enjoys training for and running marathons, cooking, Duke basketball and spending time with Daisy, her crazy but loveable hound/lab/pit mix.
I come from a family of great cooks. Few weeks passed without a visit to my great aunt Nome for dinner. At her elbow, I learned to cook anything and everything from scratch. And at my dad’s muddy feet, I came to appreciate the origin of food – how small seedlings nurtured under hot lights during the cold, damp Midwest spring months grew into thriving tomato plants during the summer. As someone who struggled with weight and body image issues for many years, I was grateful to have been raised with the knowledge of, tools for and access to opportunities for healthy eating to which I could return as an adult. Unfortunately, life is very different for my niece and nephew, and millions of youth like them, whose exposure to food is often limited to what comes out of a box or a drive-through window. By working at Active Living By Design, I hope to help deepen people’s appreciation for and commitment to healthy eating – and to put healthy foods well within the reach of all families.
As a kid, my bike was my ticket to freedom. One of my earliest memories was sitting on my tricycle at the edge of our driveway, eagerly awaiting the freedom that my first two-wheeler would surely bring. By first grade, although I was allowed to ride to school by myself, I rarely rode alone because of all of the neighborhood kids who also made their trips by bike. By second grade and for many summers thereafter, I was out and about all day – riding from sports programs at the local park, meeting up at friends’ houses, and pedaling on to the community pool – checking in at home every so often for a cold drink and a snack. I was fortunate to live in a community with safe streets and neighborhoods arranged in a traditional block pattern, which made it hard for even me to get lost. Although times have changed, by working at Active Living By Design, I hope to help leave a legacy that helps all children experience the joy and satisfaction of safely exploring their communities by foot and bike.