Dear BK Foundation Community,
Berrett-Koehler Foundation is in the midst of a transition. I am writing this message to invite you into our process, and most of all, to express my gratitude. After three formative years with BKF – including two years as its Executive Director – I will be leaving my role at the end of the summer. I wish I could take your hands and bow to you, but for now this message will have to suffice. Serving this community has been my deepest honor.
I joined BKF in 2014 for a three month contract to cover for Marielle Amrhein, our former ED who was going on maternity leave after the birth of her first baby. At the time I thought I was “just passing through” California, but I quickly fell in love with this organization. As a young person setting out to apply all my systems-changing ideas to the “real” world, I found tremendous hope in BK – I realized I wasn’t alone. Over the years all of you – BK authors, staff, board members, colleagues in the field, program participants and volunteers – have helped me grow into my own leadership. Every cup of coffee we’ve shared, every survey you’ve filled out, every Leadership Exchange you’ve attended, have all been essential in co-creating the Berrett-Koehler Foundation. During this time I also experienced the heartbreaking loss of two Berrett-Koehler Foundation Board Members: Jamie Showkeir passed away several months after I joined BKF, and we lost Mila Baker only one month ago. Even as I type this letter, I can hear Mila chuckling and reminding me to trust my instincts.
The Foundation has been using this transition as an opportunity to reflect on our past four years of existence and to create a fresh vision of where we want to go next. In true BK fashion, we are exploring a non-traditional approach to filling my role. Tuquynh Tran, our Operations Coordinator, will also be leaving her role to pursue her work as a coach and facilitator (see Tuquynh’s note below). The Board of Directors will be sharing the outcome of our strategic planning process in the weeks ahead. One sneak peek: We are exploring a new low-staff model and will be seeking two part-time positions — an administrative coordinator and a community outreach coordinator. Stay tuned for those job postings – perhaps BKF is looking for you!
The Foundation is in excellent hands. Our nine-person Board includes BK authors, nonprofit and social innovation leaders, and BKF program alumni. We have built a diverse, committed community of emerging changemakers through our programs—the intergenerational Leadership Exchanges, the Experiential Exchange mentorship program, and a wide variety of community events. Our partnerships with mission-aligned organizations are strong, both in Oakland and around the country. I plan to stay deeply connected to BKF. Though the form of my connection is changing, the connection itself remains strong.
As for where I am headed next — that is still unwritten. For now I am focused on tending to the healthy transitioning of my role at BKF. I will continue supporting work that heals organizations, institutional systems, and interpersonal relationships. I plan to build my practice as a group facilitator and social justice advocate focusing on community, spiritual activism, and creative expression. I also plan on spending a lot of time giving back to the communities that have supported me over the past three years. Finally, I hope to maintain the dear relationships I’ve built throughout my time at BK Foundation. Let’s continue to connect please!
Two years ago I wrote a blog post that described parts of my journey leading up to BKF. The words I wrote then still ring true to me: “At times I think of BKF as a beloved sister—we are growing up together, sharing ideas and looking out at the world from our different but connected eyes. Usually I think of BKF as a promise—a love letter to our Earth’s people to stay in the game and keep our eyes on the prize – a world that works for all.”
Here’s to that vision of a world that works for all, and our many paths towards reaching it.