By Larry Litvak, Tides Board Chair
Being an effective and successful CEO of Tides requires being quite multi-dimensional, possessing knowledge, experience and skills that are often not found in combination. As I have gotten to know Melissa Bradley, I continually have been struck by the range of her experience, knowledge and abilities. She has worked in business, for the federal government and in a range of nonprofit organizations. Melissa has worked on creative solutions to challenges from how to improve social capital in low income communities, to how to provide better opportunities for the 15 million citizens who have at one time been incarcerated, to how to make energy efficiency and renewable energy a job generator for previously low-skilled workers. She understands how to use the tools and concepts of finance and management, of policy analysis, development and advocacy, of education, and of organizing. She has shown an ability to motivate, through persuasion and example, a host of different partners and constituencies. In deciding among several strong candidates for the position of Tides CEO, it was this unique combination of abilities, in my judgment, more than anything else, that made Melissa Bradley clearly stand out.
While Tides mission is to support progressive social change, it operates as a self-supporting social enterprise. It provides services to, and sustains itself by revenue from, a variety of other change makers: asset management, grants administration and philanthropic advice to its donor clients; financial management, HR services, grants reporting, risk management and governance to its non-profit project clients; and real estate development and financing advice to its nonprofit office center clients. Tides must provide services which these donors, projects, activists and entrepreneurs value, and do so in a cost and quality competitive environment. So the person who is going to run Tides has to have very strong managerial, financial and business skills and deep knowledge in these areas. At the same time, Tides provides leadership and direction in substantive areas such as how to nonprofits can advocates for changes in public policy, how to get citizens more involved in voting and civic participation, and how make community health clinics more effective. So leading Tides means getting involved in and understanding a range of issues that impact the work of the social sector. Furthermore, Tides understands that big changes normally are produced by broad-based social movements consisting of many individuals and organization working at a grass roots level, sometimes domestically and sometimes globally. So the leader of Tides needs to know how to work with and support social movements. It is with pleasure that I welcome Melissa Bradley into this multi-dimensional role as leader of Tides.