Changes At Ag Innovations

I remember clearly the day I stepped into the role of president at Ag Innovations almost 13 years ago. My good friend and mentor, Michael Dimock, had handed me the reins so he could move to create great things at Roots of Change. I knew one thing then that is still true today. The work of Ag Innovations mattered and was worth fighting for. In the more than a decade since, Ag Innovations has worked at the heart of food and agricultural issues from pesticides to land use, from farm bill to farm stands–always with same promise, we help unstick stuck problems. Today I have the honor of passing the reins to the next generation at Ag Innovations.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Genevieve Taylor as co-executive director of Ag Innovations. Genevieve will be focused on leading our facilitation and program team and continuing our legacy of creating transformative processes that serve the needs of agricultural viability and natural resource stewardship. Genevieve is uniquely suited to the role, both as gifted facilitator, but also as a Californian who has lived in the Central Valley and in coastal California. This gives her a special ability to see California in its full diversity and complexity.

We are also hiring a co-executive director, administration to work closely with Genevieve and to lead our back office support team in creating the effective systems that make entrepreneurial nonprofits sing. If you know someone who might be a good fit for us, do point them to our job announcement (update: we’ve hired a new co-director and you can meet our current team here).

As for me, I am stepping into a new part-time  position as senior fellow and principal facilitator. In this new role I will be supporting the Ag Innovations team with training and coaching, working on selected projects, and contributing to the ongoing development of collaborative change approaches in agriculture and natural resources.

Lest you wonder if this is a retirement announcement, far from it. I am also happy to announce the formation of a new social enterprise I will be leading, 10 Circles. At 10 Circles I hope to take some of the tools and approaches we have developed over the past decade at Ag Innovations and apply them to broader social challenges like economic development, health, equity, and cultivating the next generation of systems leaders. We expect lots of partnerships between Ag Innovations and 10 Circles as things move forward.

I want to stop here and extend my deepest gratitude to the many, many people who have helped me and Ag Innovations over the past decade. Our dedicated Board of Directors, headed up by Nicole Mason. Our incredible staff over the years who are now spread out across the food system doing important work and particularly Katy Mamen who helped shape so many of our programs, Dan Schurman who helped us build a strong organization, Serena Coltrane-Briscoe who quietly led from behind the scenes, and of course the gifted facilitators who have shared their talents here including Miriam Volat, Tim Griffin, Gisela Wendling, and Brooking Gatewood. And finally to those of you who trusted us enough to participate in our programs–thank you for your leadership and wisdom.

Life, both personal and organizational, is a continual flow from beginning to end. When we reach the bends in the river where the current slows and we can take stock, we can make the course corrections we need to better align ourselves with what we feel is deeply needed from us. This is one of those moments for Ag Innovations and me. We have set a bold and clear new course and are looking forward to sharing the next stretch of water with you.