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Kristen Joiner to Step Down

Posted: 3:00PM June 18th, 2013 | Comments

Dear Friends of Sustain Dane,

Big changes are brewing here at 211 South Paterson Street. Over the past six months, we’ve gone through an intense assessment of our work and role in the community. We have looked back on our legacy, analyzed our successes and failures, evaluated our current work, and are now laying the groundwork for the future path of the organization.

Since I started at Sustain Dane in March 2009, we’ve co-founded Badger Rock Middle School, the GROW Coalition – a group dedicated to school gardens and outdoor classrooms – and the MPower Schools Champions for sustainable schools, all while facilitating the launch of the Madison Metropolitan School District’s Sustainability Committee and Sustainability Plan.

In the business community, we have worked with 70 leading area businesses through MPower Business Champions to save more than 21,500 tons of carbon emissions and $916,000 dollars annually. These champions have come together to create our Sustainable Business Network - an unparalleled hub of community-oriented business leaders who are dedicated to driving forward sustainability and resilience in our region. Furthermore, November will mark our 5th year of hosting the Badger Bioneers Conference, an annual event that highlights the inspiring work of sustainability pioneers and champions across the region and the nation. In between, we organize community events, collaborate on and support our partners’ work, and connect individuals with resources that help them to live and work more sustainably.

It’s an incredible undertaking for such a small organization – one that has grown from a staff of 2 to 6 in 4½ short years. I have enormous respect and appreciation for our staff and board of directors, for the creativity, intelligence and commitment they put into our mission. Our board leaders, Dave Boyer, Jac Garner, and now Rebecca Ryan, have dedicated tremendous time and energy to growing our impact and reach.

As we approach our fifth year of piloting these initiatives, we have thought at length about what we have discovered, what we have accomplished, and what role we should fill to best serve our community. It’s been a rich and thoughtful period of assessment, and we will deliver more announcements in the fall about our growth and transformation. I’m excited about the next five years for Sustain Dane.

At the same time, I have decided to take this time of transition to take a step in another direction. After starting and running non-profit organizations for 14 years, I am going to take some time off from being an executive director and explore other areas of interest. I want to let you know that I will be leaving my position at Sustain Dane this month, and that Jessie Lerner, our current Director of Sustain Dane’s Sustainable Business Initiative, will take over as Interim Executive Director.

I look forward to being witness to Sustain Dane’s further evolution under Jessie’s leadership, and you should too. Jessie is an outstanding builder of ideas, projects and relationships. I predict great growth and impact over the next five years.

Thank you for your continued support and friendship.

Warmest of wishes,


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