For nearly a decade, PACA has contributed to the co-op movement locally in the Philadelphia area as well as nationally. I’ve been involved since just about PACA’s founding, having joined the steering committee in November 2012, serving on the inaugural board, and ultimately becoming the executive director in January 2017.
These roles have represented some of my proudest areas of service and most profound opportunities for personal and professional growth. So it is with deep appreciation for the cooperators and partners I’ve come to work with, pride in what we’ve accomplished together, and some sadness that transitions bring alongside deep joy, trust, and excitement for what’s to come for PACA that I announce I will be leaving my role as PACA’s executive director at the end of May 2021.
While remaining a close friend to PACA, I look forward to focusing my time and energy in areas that continue to support cooperative economy-building, localism, transforming philanthropy, and growing Black and Brown leadership in solidarity economy building efforts. Most notably, these efforts will continue through my consulting work and board service to several organizations close to my heart.
Since its founding, PACA has engaged thousands of people in cooperative economy-building. Importantly, our co-op development strategies have evolved over time to center and prioritize the needs of those who will benefit the most from these efforts—working-class and poor BIPOC and immigrant communities.
Today, we can all celebrate that PACA is well positioned to continue leading our region’s cooperative development ecosystem and our local economy towards economic and racial justice. Our membership, programming, and community of practice have grown, and our relationships with movement-building organizations have deepened.
As I reflect on this transition, I stand proudly on the shoulders of many who have come before me, and think about the legacy of cooperation and mutual aid Black women have carved out for their communities and so many others in the US and throughout the African diaspora. I rise shoulder to shoulder and lean on the people who surround me now—PACA’s co-op members, our local and national partners, mentors, and cooperators who have become friends—who lift me up to keep going in service of the cooperative movement. Together, we walk ahead of the generations growing into cooperative practice and those to come for whom we all work so tirelessly to build a better future.
I have so much gratitude for my coworkers at PACA – Jeanette Cuevas, Dominique Pearson, and Emily Wyner – and for their constant demonstration of what it means to lead while centering cooperative values. I thank PACA’s board of directors for their active leadership and support with imagining and implementing what is possible for our cooperative community. And I am so grateful to PACA’s co-op member community, who is at the core of our praxis, for trusting us to represent, advocate, and serve.
Practices of shared leadership are iterated upon time and again within PACA’s cooperative community. Right now, PACA’s incredible staff and board are using this time to practice a model of leadership aligned to our cooperative values, and I could not be more proud of them and excited for what’s to come.
To end this message, I welcome the opportunity to engage with you, PACA’s beloved community, to share key learnings from these years and what’s to come. I hope you’ll join me, PACA’s staff, and representatives from our board of directors for a one-hour conversation about PACA’s past, present, and future — and how you can be a part of it.
Please register for this conversation, taking place on Monday, April 19 from 5-6pm. Can’t make it? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.
You’ll hear more from our staff and board next week, and I look forward to being in conversation with you throughout this transition.
In gratitude and cooperation,