CalSAC's Executive Transition

CalSAC's Executive Transition

Our board and staff have designed a transition process that aligns with CalSAC’s values and culture and we intend to make this a collaborative and thoughtful process that will stand out as a model for the field. In the spirit of transparency, we invite you to review our executive transition plan below and encourage you to connect with us throughout the process. Gathering input from our community is an important component of our process and we hope that you will participate in our stakeholder survey to inform the future of the organization and this important hire.

A Message from Aleah

Dear friends and colleagues,

I’m writing to let you know that I will be transitioning out of my role at CalSAC on March 15.

Reflecting on my years of memories, I am humbled by the supreme love, commitment, talent, and passion of the people that make up the out-of-school time field.

As many of you know, my connection to CalSAC started a few years before I joined the staff team. I can’t help but relate the feeling of stepping into a new transition as I am now with the feeling that seems to come up when you are about to facilitate your 5 Minutes of Fame at the Training of Trainers Institute, or walk in to a room full of strangers at the LDI Opening Retreat, or open your mouth to speak with your legislator at the CA Afterschool and Summer Challenge.

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I think of the words of Maggie Kuhn: “Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind - even if your voice shakes.” I’m positive my voice shook during each of these moments. Yet, it is the feeling of being encouraged, seen, and heard by the community surrounding me that I remember most, and what drove me to find my role with the CalSAC team. It is with this same sense of support and empowerment – and slowly breaking down the walls of fear – that I make the leap into a new opportunity and make way for others to create these experiences for the field.

During my five and half years at CalSAC, I have been most proud of:

  • growing the Leadership Development Institute fellowship to a network of over 100 alum across California, and developing partnerships to fill in gaps of equity-centered leadership development in the OST field and beyond;

  • empowering CalSAC Trainers to hone their skills as facilitators, mentors, and technical assistance providers with a network that is unmatched across the state and country;

  • expanding the advocacy and organizing capabilities of youth workers to drive change in their communities;

  • and helping amplify the courageous and bold vision that CalSAC dreams is possible for young people, families, and the OST workforce.

I am inspired by the CalSAC team, and am confident that the talent, commitment, and love that they bring to the work everyday will usher in new possibilities for the organization, while maintaining the strengths and uniqueness of our programs. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at our plans together to care for the heart of our work - all of you.

It has been a long and fulfilling journey, and now I am ready to bring my voice and advocacy for the people of the OST field in a new way. In my role with the Foundation for California Community Colleges, I will help address the needs of the expanded learning workforce by bridging partnerships, strategies, and initiatives that work, and advancing the workforce development goals of the Expanded Learning Division’s Strategic Plan 2.0.

Just last week at the Site Coordinator Symposium, I heard a site lead say, “I live and breathe afterschool, I want to retire in afterschool!” I felt alive in that moment, knowing that I will be helping to move that statement closer to a reality.

I have never felt this connected, challenged, or aligned. I look forward to standing with you and voicing what matters, even if our voice shakes. Together, I believe we can ensure a more just and equitable California for young people, and for the thousands of adults that grow with them.

I hope you will join me, Ruth, and the rest of the CalSAC team at the CA Afterschool and Summer Challenge on March 11th & 12th in Sacramento - the event that exposed me to CalSAC and inspired me to raise my voice nearly 10 years ago.

In community and gratitude,

Aleah

A Message from Ruth

Dear CalSAC Community,

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I am deeply honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to build upon the legacy of the many leaders that came before me at CalSAC and incredibly proud to have paved the way for those who will follow – continuing the deep history of this great organization. I have many reflections and learnings to share from my tenure with CalSAC. However, since my journey is not yet over, I will save my storytelling for a future message before I leave at the end of 2019. Until then, I want to share with you why I decided to transition at this time and what excites me about the journey ahead.

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My wife and I both hold deep relationships with our families and planned, at some point, to spend more time in San Antonio, TX with her parents. As they approach their 80s and safety becomes a greater need, we decided that it was time to make our aging family a priority. While my family, which is all in Central California, are less excited about the possibility of me moving, they too value elder care from within the family. We began exploring the possibility of a change last spring and I took several months to reflect on whether it was the best timing for CalSAC to embark upon an executive transition.

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My process included a week-long retreat with the Rockwood Institute and numerous sessions with my long-time executive coach, Ernest Mark (both highly recommended resources). From a place of deep reflection, it became clear to me that the organization was ready for a pivot and that I was fulfilled by the contributions I had made to get us there - such an empowering space to be in when approaching change! I initiated conversations with the current president and recent past president in July to begin the planning process. I am 100% confident in the strength of the organization and the courage of the leaders that will guide CalSAC through a thoughtful, intentional, and values-aligned process. You can view our Executive Transition Plan here. I believe this transition will be a model for the field and I am immensely proud and elated to be a part of the experience ahead alongside our board of directors and staff team!

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As I prepare to leave the organization, I can confidently say that we are on the cusp of a new level of greatness. We have a healthy and robust board of directors that raise nearly half of our individual giving funds; our network of trainers, fellows, and advocates are thriving and continue to be the heart of our organization; our programs have powerfully impacted the lives of out-of-school time professionals and the organizations they lead; our partnerships are deeply rooted and expanding; our staff team continues to uphold the integrity of our work while remaining responsive to the evolving needs of the field; and we have a beautifully bold new brand. While fundraising can be the white whale for all nonprofits, we are well positioned to draw in new believers and influence investments for the field through our dynamic strategic direction and collaborative partnerships. I’m proud to be leaving the next executive director with a solid foundation to catapult the organization and field to new heights!  

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So, what’s next for me after CalSAC? I’m still sorting it out and glad I have the year ahead to explore possibilities. What I do know is that I’m going to embrace the gift of spaciousness in the first 6-12 months after my time with CalSAC concludes – taking time for reflection, restoration and family while Monica and I travel the country in our RV with our two pups. During that time, I also know I want to continue to be in service to the youth development field – in California, Texas and nationally – and welcome the opportunity to serve on leadership teams and work on a project or two or three. I have grown tremendously while at CalSAC and have every intention of continuing to pay it forward. I’ve already reinforced my commitment to my roles with the California AfterSchool Network Leadership Team and the CDE Expanded Learning Division’s Workforce Strategy Committee.

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I’m also excited to spend time fundraising for Maven Youth, a national nonprofit serving LGBTQ+ youth that my wife and I started a few years ago. In July, I’ll also be joining a panel at the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion International Conference in the Netherlands and hope to continue to advance equity-driven leadership and management practices in the nonprofit sector as I move forward in my career. Elevating the story and learnings from this executive transition process is also something I look forward to embarking upon in collaboration with CalSAC. Lastly, I am budgeting to continue to be a CalSAC donor and member of the Giving Alliance in 2020 and encourage you to join me!

I’m fully committed to the future of this organization and will continue to lead CalSAC forward as our transition team conducts the search process for our next executive director. I thank you for your love and support over the years and look forward to continuing to make meaningful impact together in the year ahead!  

With the deepest love and gratitude,

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Ruth Obel-Jorgensen
CalSAC Executive Director