Work this month focused on participation in a leadership team meeting, developing a position description for a new SSP Director, finalizing a 3 year report to the MAC Foundation, coordinating the launching of a project to identify and monitor indicators of community sustainability, further development of the agendas for the SSP Retreat and Annual meeting, edits to the SSP website, a presentation to a prospective funder who visited Sitka at the end of the month and developing a program summary for the work I will be doing as the Regional Catalyst for Natural Resources starting in October.
Leadership Team Meeting
The leadership team met in Juneau on August 13. The leadership team includes Norman Cohen from TNC, Russell Dick from Haa Aani’, Andrew Thoms from the Sitka Conservation Society, Adam Davis from the Organized Village of Kake and me. The leadership team is responsible for maintaining the overall strategy for the SSP, promoting good working relations between partner organizations and the SSP Director, fundraising and granting decisions. The agenda for this meeting included:
- Update on the SSP Budget: The MAC grant has been renewed for 3 years which secures funding at a bit higher than current levels. Additional funding is being sought to take advantage of another foundation offer to match additional funding that can be secured for the SSP.
- Discussion of hiring a new SSP Director: The group agreed on elements of a position description and a process for recruitment and hiring.
- Potential changes to the SSP structure: The group discussed the possibility of creating a position to assist the new SSP Director with special emphasis on providing more support to community catalysts. The group decided to leave that up to the new Director with a near-term option of assigning leadership responsibility to me for the regional catalyst team as a way to free up some of the Director’s time to focus more on the community catalysts. The group discussed an approach to developing a support team for the natural resource work that would be coordinated by the SSP regional catalyst.
- The group also discussed the need for more direction of communications work (Bethany Goodrich in particular) from the SSP Director and the group agreed to support the necessary changes to see that happen.
SSP Director Job Description
After collecting input from all SSP staff and the leadership team, I worked with Norm, Brian and Andrew on developing a job description for the new Director position. This position description was circulated to all SSP staff (along with a summary of your feedback), partner organizations CEOs and a few job boards for recruitment. We are taking applications until September 1 and are targeting September 8-15 for making a hiring decision. We have received 14 applications thus far.
Final Report to MAC
I worked with Brian on finalizing our report to MAC on the first 3 year grant. We worked together at the Juneau TNC office where TNC has been kind enough to allow us to use an office for SSP activities. Finishing the report was fairly straight forward because we had written most of it back in May as part of the process of preparing for our second grant proposal.
I worked with Sheinberg & Associates in Juneau on developing a proposal for contracting Sheinberg & Associates to assist the SSP with developing a system for monitoring indicators of community sustainability that we hope to impact through our work. Working with Alana and Brian, we came to an agreement on a contract proposal and have hired Sheinberg & Associates to do the work. Catalysts should have already received an email from me with this announcement and the plan for Sarah Bronstein from Sheinberg & Associates to be interviewing to discuss ideas for metrics. We are targeting the beginning of November for having a draft ready for consideration and the beginning of the new year to share with our target communities in public meetings.
Retreat and Annual Meeting
I met with Peter Forbes a couple times this month to develop more details for the upcoming SSP staff retreat to be held in Sitka November 3-6. One of the things we are kicking around is whether to include as part of the retreat some consensus building exercises around the development of the SSP metrics system. One of the other things we are kicking around is whether to invite a representative from B.C. who is participating in TNC’s version of the SSP there (called the Emerald Edge). We are booking the Sheldon Jackson site for the retreat November 3-6.
I have been working with Angie and a small group of other SSPers on developing a plan and agenda for the SSP annual meeting. We have chosen dates (December 8-9), a location (Centennial Hall in Juneau), and are currently working on finding a workshop facilitator for community engagement training and a keynote speaker for the symposium day who can speak to the balance between maintaining healthy ecosystems and supporting prosperous and resilient natural resource-based economies. Contact me or Angie if you have some ideas.
SSP Website edits
I upgraded the WYSIWYG editor, began developing pages for focus areas, created a new home page banner slideshow that links to relevant pages, updated the map of participating communities and removed the projects list in preparation for an upgrade to that section in September.
Funder visit in Sitka
I worked with Andrew, Alana, Adam and Scott to present the work of the SSP to a prospective funder who visited Sitka on 8/25. The group included members of the Lépinard family (Erol Foundation backers), Amplifier Strategies (on contract with the Erol foundation for director services), Trout Unlimited and ACF. The meeting went really well. Andrew, Alana and Adam were particularly eloquent spokespeople for the SSP. The Erol foundation is an especially good fit for our work. Check them out here: http://www.erolfoundation.org/.
Regional Catalyst for Natural Resource Stewardship Game Plan
Once the SSP Director position is filled, I will be transitioning to the role of a Regional Catalyst for Natural Resource Stewardship. I am drafting a game plan for this position and program that will include community forest and coastal plans as primary target outcomes. The theory behind these targets is based on the assumption that regardless of the sector of interest (e.g. food, energy, economic development) it will be helpful to have community engagement, quantitative information, locally derived TBL principles for management and maps of natural resource assets for each community. It is expected that this position will coordinate the participation of an interdisciplinary team (e.g. forestry, fisheries, non-timber forest products, coastal resources, monitoring) for each community forest and coastal plan. We expect to continue working with our current RC for natural resource stewardship (Scott Harris) as an important member of this team. My new position will likely be hosted by TNC.