Dear Friends, Members and Supporters,
I am writing to announce my departure from Sonoma County Conservation Action. We are looking for someone great to take my place! The Executive Director job posting is found on our website
I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in the leadership of Conservation Action the past 13 years. When I discovered Sonoma County, I was awestruck with the biological diversity, the coast, the redwood forests, and the amazing community of people. The working agricultural landscape, vineyards, parks and open spaces coexisting with urban areas and little towns, all within an hour or so of the great City of San Francisco, almost seemed too good to be true.
Conservation Action offered me the job as a canvasser that turned into a career as not only a non-profit program manager and eventually executive director, but as a full-time environmental activist. I was given the chance to use my education, my skills and my passion, putting it into action on a local level where we were able to realize results. I learned about electoral politics, relationship building, coalition building with like minded organizations and people, and the nurturing of ideas in the political sphere of local and regional government.
I feel so fortunate to have worked with some of the greatest Staff and Board Members on earth. I think one of the overlooked benefits that Conservation Action provides to the community is a training model for molding future activists. We’ve had amazingly talented people come through as canvassers, managers, campaign support, coordinators, office helpers, interns, board members, advisory board members, and more. Nearly all these people had a certain fire in their bellies and an inspiration in their eye to protect and preserve our beloved Sonoma County, and it has been an honor to be their ED.
Conservation Action is in a great place right now. The current Board of Directors is one of the most dedicated that I’ve seen since coming to the organization. They are smart, energetic, savvy in non profit decision making, and are politically astute. I feel confident that this Board, along with our current staff, will find ways to take the organization to new heights and successes.
I would continue our work at Conservation Action forever if I could; but duties of family and a growing desire to explore new dimensions in my career have led me to explore new opportunities. I am so blessed for the support of my wife Kellie over these past 13 years, enduring many nights and weekends without me as I knocked on doors or advocated environmental positions and policies at public and community meetings. I certainly wouldn’t have been as effective without her support behind me.
Everything must evolve and change, and now seems like the right time for me, and for Conservation Action, for me to step aside and make way for new leadership. I’ve accepted a position as Public Affairs Director for Peace in Medicine/SPARC, a family of medical cannabis dispensaries, and I’ve been working half time at that job and at Conservation Action the past couple months as this transition to new leadership unfolds. I do intend to stay involved in the local environmental movement, just in a different role. I am honored to have gained your confidence these past years, and I feel a strong sense of obligation to continue to give back in ways that I can in the years to come. I promised my mentor and friend Bill Kortum, just before he passed, that I would keep up the fight to save this place, and I do not have any wavering of that resolve in my spirit or being.
Thank you all for your support, kind words, and for your participation over the years. Your continued involvement in this most special of organizations, Sonoma County Conservation Action, will ensure that my promise to Bill comes to fruition. We will keep our coastal access; we’ll preserve our redwood forests; we’ll continue a city centered growth pattern with open space and farmlands in between the cities as the SMART train goes buzzing by; and our path will eventually lead up to the top of Lafferty Ranch on Sonoma Mountain, that we’ll certainly rename in the Kortum family’s honor.
Yours forever for Sonoma County,
Again, we have posted our job announcement on our website, and are encouraging you to share it with prospective applicants. Our first deadline for submittals is March 1st, but the position will remain open until filled. Thank you!