Dear NMCAN Friends and Family,
After taking wellness leave from February through April 2022, I have been transitioning back into my role as Executive Director, and I have several pieces of exciting news to share. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to take time away to heal and reflect. It was foundationally important for me as a person, a parent, a partner, a friend, and an executive. I have endless gratitude for the support and guidance of NMCAN’s Board of Directors and for the NMCAN team who all stepped up and continued our important work. It has been a pleasure to return to the mission I love and reconnect with our community. In July, I will be celebrating my 10 year anniversary as Executive Director—a decade of leadership. In that decade, I am both proud and fortunate to have been part of so many young people’s lives. Each and every one of them has left an impression on me and the organization, making the growth and refined mission of NMCAN possible.
At NMCAN’s core, we are community builders. NMCAN focuses on strong connections with young people to build healthy relationships, and in turn, this allows us to jointly advocate for systems responding to the needs of young people. We are at our best when we engage young people exactly where they are and stand by them on whatever path to success they choose. Our close partnerships with young people are what allow us to root their voices at the center of efforts to disrupt the systems that disconnected them from their families and traditional pathways to success, and advocate for systems designed to support them. NMCAN aims to pursue aligned collaborations that drive positive systems change, letting go of activities that maintain the status quo and conventional power structures.
In reflection, I recognized that prevailing organizational structures do not necessarily align with our organizational values and inhibit our ability to root true power closer to young people. And while I believe NMCAN has done a good job of informally sharing power and working collaboratively, there is more we can do internally to align organizational leadership with NMCAN’s values. In my absence, I am sure all of you have seen and benefited from Lorilynn Violanta’s leadership. As the Director of Advancement since 2015, she has all the skills to be a successful executive, offering a perspective that is different from mine and an attention to detail that the organization benefits from. I feel fortunate to have worked with her over the years, and I have immensely enjoyed collaborating more closely with her in my transition back. I am happy to announce that I shared these insights with NMCAN’s Board of Directors, and effective July 1, 2022, Lorilynn and I will be serving as NMCAN Co-Executive Directors. In preparation for this change, we explored many co-director models across the country, and firmly believe this is the right next step to live our values and challenge ourselves to continue to find ways to share and disperse power, building an internal structure that will set the frame for shared leadership with young people. I cannot express how excited I am to embark on this journey. Please join me in congratulating Lorilynn on her new role!
Our first joint decision is to close NMCAN’s office for the month of July. This will become an annual closure and a time when we ask staff to rejuvenate and reflect on the work of the organization as well as their role within it. Our work to disrupt and dismantle systems that separate and destroy families and communities takes great endurance, passion, and dedication. We know that we are most successful when our team is strong and balanced.
Thank you for all of your support over the years and in this new journey. We could not do this work without you!