With December under way, it is a natural time to reflect on the fast-diminishing year. That reflection can follow many threads. Inside Resource Media, a central strand around which many of our opportunities and challenges have spun is growth. In talking about that growth, I want to introduce you to the newest members of our team and also provide some context about what these welcome additions indicate about Resource Media’s direction.
I’ll start in Philadelphia. This summer we opened our first office in Philly by hiring Adam Hymans as a Senior Program Director. Adam comes to us from SPIN, Philadelphia’s leading advocacy group for children and adults with autism and intellectual disabilities. He’s spent more than ten years “using communications to support the nonprofit ecosystem” in his own words, including time at the Philadelphia Foundation, and Congreso de Latinos Unidos, a nonprofit focused on providing education, workforce-development, economic-empowerment, and wellness programs for Latino individuals and neighborhoods. Adam’s will help support a growing body of work on the East Coast. It includes a multi-year involvement in the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, clean energy advocacy work in New England and the Mid-Atlantic, and support for groups fighting huge factory farms in North Carolina and around Chesapeake Bay.
The work in North Carolina also involves a new approach to growing communications capacity for groups working in traditionally disadvantaged communities. With funding from Grace Communications Foundation, we are co-managing two communications fellowship positions. Just this week we helped Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) bring on Janie Hynson. In late October, we helped the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network hire Acacia Cadogan. Going forward we will begin mentoring, training and hands on assistance for this cohort. The fellows are on staff at their host organizations, but have access to a full range of support from Resource Media. Our goal is both to help these young professionals launch their careers and make these positions permanent additions at RAFI and NCEJN. These two new fellowships join an existing partnership between Resource Media and Communities for a Better Environment, a California-based environmental justice organization. Gissela Chavez has been on board as a fellow there for nearly a year, again working as a CBE staff member while we provide mentorship and co-management assistance.
Also on the East Coast, we’ve hired Jessica Lubetsky as Northeast Communications Director for our Energy Media project. Energy Media is a joint project of Resource Media and Energy Foundation. Jessica, along with recent hires Andrew Doughman in Las Vegas and Omer Farooque in Chicago will work out of Energy Foundation regional offices to help shift the narrative around clean energy to one of abundance, certainty and multiple benefits. Jessica comes to us from the E2e project, which promoted energy efficiency and Pew Charitable Trusts where she managed the Clean Energy Initiative. We’ll have more to say about the exciting launch of Energy Media in the weeks ahead.
Finally, on the West Coast, we’ve hired Frances Lee as a Program Coordinator in our Seattle office. Frances brings awesome design, web/tech and writing skills, as well as experience with consulting, facilitation and public speaking. Among Frances’ past projects was leading the development, design, production, and distribution of the 2017 King County Trans Resource and Referral Guide (web and print).
We’re thrilled to have such an infusion of talent and diverse perspectives at Resource Media. At the same time, we are saying goodbye to one of our pivotal staff members who has been a huge part of our evolution over the past 8 years. Former Executive Vice President John Lamson is leaving at the beginning of January to join the team at Sher Edling LLP as Director of Media Relations, helping guide communications strategy as they prosecute climate liability lawsuits across the country, including this one filed recently in San Francisco. We are of course sorry to see John go, but recognize he’ll be doing important work on the leading edge of the battle against climate change. John will remain a close friend of the family.
Whew! That’s a lot. But if it feels a bit head spinning at times, it is important to note that these changes are all rooted in an updated strategic framework adopted by the Board at the end of last year. We are owning our values, our commitment to seeing sustainability and social justice as two parts of an indivisible whole and our belief that short term policy skirmishes, while necessary, are not sufficient to build the long term power needed to produce paradigm-shifting change. We can’t wait to dig in with all of you in 2019.