Dear Friends of Rising Sun,
How do you leave a job you love? How do you let go of an organization that you have poured your heart into and have grown from infancy to adulthood? I suppose it is a lot like saying goodbye to a child ready to leave the nest. You know it’s the right thing; you are excited about your child stepping into their independence. You are excited about the journey, opportunities and experiences that they are about to have, but you can’t help but feel a tremendous loss. That day will come for me when my children leave the nest, but with Rising Sun it has arrived.
After 12 years at the helm, I will be stepping down from my position as Executive Director at Rising Sun to pursue a lifelong dream. My family is moving to San Miguel De Allende, Mexico for a year so that our two young boys can experience living in another country, be close to their aging grandparents and improve their Spanish.
I have a deep love and commitment to Rising Sun and therefore this decision is bitter-sweet, but I am excited to make space for new leadership. While it will be difficult to move on from Rising Sun this change provides an exciting opportunity for innovation, positive change and growth for the Organization. Rising Sun is on exceptionally solid ground and it is an ideal time for me to take this time to focus on my family. I could not be prouder of where the organization is today: our programs continue to expand and deepen, we are serving new counties and continue to run a year round office in Stockton, we are influencing climate policy in California advocating that equity is front and center to climate investments, and we have a new, beautiful home in the SPARC corridor and a formidable staff, leadership team and board of directors.
So how do I leave a job I love? After talking with a wise friend and mentor, he sent me an article called, “How to Leave a Job You Love.” What struck me about the article was that a job cannot love you back, you can pour your heart and soul into it, but it does not do that back, because what loves you back are people. The article resonated deeply and, it aligned perfectly with how we see our work at Rising Sun; economic and environmental sustainability will only be achieved if people are at the center!
So this is my love letter to all of the people that have touched and shaped Rising Sun. To everyone who contributed in their own way, making Rising Sun the exceptional organization it is today.
I remember back in 2007 when I serendipitously stumbled across Rising Sun. Two youth came to my home and performed a Green House Call. In that moment I fell in love with the youth who were so empowered to come into a stranger’s home as experts in energy efficiency. I was struck by their confidence and Rising Sun’s workforce development model. The best classroom is the field, the best learning comes by doing and there is no confidence builder like trust and belief in someone’s ability.
Shortly after, I became the Program Director and joined the organization. Initially it was just the Executive Director and me, and six months later he left and I assumed the role. There were so many people who helped build the foundation of Rising Sun that we are all indebted to. We were a small, scrappy, but mighty team that started to grow our programs, create intentional pathways for our youth and building the walls to our figurative home (we are a construction focused organization after all!) There were youth in those early days that I still hold dear to my heart, youth who despite their challenging early childhood experiences were destined for greatness, many who fully arrived and a few we sadly lost along the way. There was one 14-year-old foster youth who I am convinced will become president one day. She is now a powerhouse force and a true inspiration to me. She recently graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education!
Our growth continued as we saw a need to support adults who needed access to good careers that would provide a pathway out of poverty and into the middle class. We now run a leading construction pre-apprenticeship that focuses on women and people coming home from prison. There are so many program graduates who inspired me and, showed me what it meant to truly be resilient and have hope despite tremendous adversity in their lives. They are people I strive to be more like today.
Rising Sun is built on the dedication of our talented staff. Each one has contributed to building our extraordinary organization. Their creativity, hard work, collaborative nature and commitment to our mission is palpable. They have taught me so much over the years, especially how to lead, and I will deeply miss working with them.
I am in deep gratitude to the Board for all of their years of service and for their belief in my ability to lead. They exhibited unwavering trust and support. Many provided critical mentorship along the way!
Rising Sun’s strength is built on partnerships with funders, industry groups, unions, local City Governments, Community Based Organizations, Environmental Justice advocates, State Agencies and more. The relationships we built along the way have been critical to Rising Sun’s ability to fulfill its mission. I am forever grateful to the support and partnerships developed!
This is a moment to rejoice as Rising Sun moves into this new chapter that will allow the next generation of leaders, staff, participants, and community partners to continue to fulfill our mission and thrive.
I have full confidence in the Rising Sun Board to find the next leader of the organization. Their commitment to a broad, equitable, and comprehensive process gives me confidence in the best outcome for the organization. I am also extremely confident in the interim leadership team that has been appointed to lead the day-to-day operations of the organization before the new leader arrives. I have worked side by side with Phil, Julia and Travers for the past seven years and watched them grow into strong leaders. Alongside the interim team the other two members of our leadership team, Wells and Revé, are also rising to the occasion to support the organization in this transition. I recognize that transitions require a significant amount of additional work and I am proud to see my leadership team stepping up in a significant way.
I am looking forward to seeing the new leadership bring new opportunities, energy, and growth to the organization.
We could not be where we are today without you, so thank you for helping me leave this organization in such a strong and exciting place! I know I can count on your continued support, just like Rising Sun can always count on me as its number one champion.
This love letter is to you! Thank you for loving me back and enriching my life in so many ways!