Why I’m Leaving the Institute

On June 1st 2017, I am stepping down as Director of the Institute—five years to the day since I first took on the role. I’ve loved every minute of my time here.

So why am I leaving?

Well, it’s not because of our mission. The opportunity to help make parks and public lands a catalyst for lasting, large-scale societal change has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I love how our work has evolved and relish the focus of our current programs on parks as a tool for preventive healthcare, a classroom for climate education, and a resource for critical urban issues like homelessness and income and racial inequity. 

It’s not because of our impact, either. During the past five years, we have turned “park prescriptions” from an idea into reality. We have helped change national policy to bring healthy, nutritious food across our national parks, reaching millions of visitors each year. And we have welcomed more than 10,000 environmental leaders to the Bay Area through our Convene program and launched a Fellowship for Emerging Leaders to support and train the environmental leaders of tomorrow.

And let’s be clear—I’m definitely not leaving because of the staff. The team here at the Institute is absolutely phenomenal and it’s been an honor to serve with them.

So if it wasn’t for any of these reasons, why am I leaving?

For the only thing that trumps a job I really enjoy: my family. With three young kids under 8 and my wife also working (and excelling) in a very busy job, the truth is, it was getting hard to juggle everything professionally while also being attentive to our kids’ needs. After some careful thought, we decided I should be the one to make the change.

What made a hard decision easier is the strong place the Institute is in right now. With an incredible team of staff, a marvelous advisory Council, some terrific organizational partners and some strong programs, we really are on a very positive trajectory. 

We’ll have more news on our next steps and the Institute’s incoming leadership very soon. In the meantime, though, I want to thank all of you for your active support over these past five years. I feel honored to have been a part of the story of this amazing organization.

Finally, I hope you'll wish me luck as I make my transition from the first photo... to the second!

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