Happy New Year. These three simple words have so much meaning on the heels of such a challenging year for the country and the world. They embody the wisdom gained in a year’s time and the hope for a better path forward. With these three words, we are given the ability to literally turn the page on our calendars to a blank slate filled with promise. As I begin my role as the new CEO for Tides, the simple phrase symbolizes all of this and so much more: a restart, a reimagining, a rebuilding of what was into what can be, not just for myself and Tides, but for communities that are directly impacted by our work and that of our partners. If there is one thing 2020 taught us, it is that we cannot predict what is ahead. Yet, with a clear vision, a strong infrastructure, and committed partners and staff, we can navigate the future—together. That said, here are my top three resolutions as I join Tides with gratitude, humility, and hope over what lies ahead:
1 | Implement a Clear Vision. My vision for Tides and for its staff, partners, and grantees, is to reimagine what “impact” means and looks like as we continue to innovate, build, and scale solutions that systemically address social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. These critical challenges require us to inspire and collaborate within and beyond Tides’ ecosystem because we cannot do this work alone. However, we can lead by example. We can innovate. We can fully lean into our role in this space and affect change as a social impact accelerator, as only Tides can.
2 | Rebuild and Recover. As stated above, this new year follows a very challenging one. We must remain clear-eyed, hopeful, compassionate, and vigilant because change will not occur overnight. Nevertheless, we can rebuild and recover while we continue to double down on some of the great work Tides accomplished in 2020—including the launch of Tides’ innovative impact model. We have 45 years of momentum behind us—and there is still so much we want to do—so it is my hope that we will learn from one another regarding what is working and what’s not. We will have an opportunity to revisit our strategic plan, check our assumptions, assess current processes—all while rebuilding and recovering. Above all, I want to emphasize the importance of each of us pausing, recognizing, and celebrating important moments throughout the year. These moments remind us why we do what we do.
3 | Bring the Best of Me. This is not about me. This is about bringing all of my experiences and skills to the table so that I can be of service to the organization and the communities we serve. I am bringing years of experience leading cross-sector projects, programs, and strategies that have demonstrated strong evidence of systemic change. That said, I am not locked into a particular “corporate” or “foundation” or “philanthropy” or “social entrepreneurship” way of doing things. We can reach across silos to leverage the best and new practices across all these organizational models to become the best impact organization that we can be. I am also a leader who believes in the BEST of people—so I will ensure that I remain compassionate, thoughtful, inclusive, intentional, and transparent in all that I do. I believe in the power of “we.” This is the only way to ensure that we bring others along on our journey to create change.
Ten years from now, I imagine what the headlines about Tides will—and can—be. The impacts we’ve made, life-improving programs we’ve launched and supported, dangerous trends in marginalized communities that we’ve reversed—or better yet, eliminated. How do we begin to tell that story in 2021? We all play a part, by bringing our own perspectives, our own personal stories, and our own expertise.
So to all of you who do the work, who look to Tides as a trusted partner, who depend on us to provide the infrastructure you need so you can focus on your mission, I say this: Happy and Impactful New Year!
Let’s make it so.