Dear friends of West Coast LEAF,
I write you today with mixed feelings – but mostly with excitement.
After a decade of leadership roles at West Coast LEAF, I am stepping down as Executive Director.
This afternoon, the Province of BC appointed me as the next Human Rights Commissioner. I strongly believe that an independent and empowered Commission is essential to the protection of human rights in BC, and I am deeply honoured to be moving into this important new role.
Over the last 10 years, I have put my heart into West Coast LEAF, and its mandate, sustainability, and people mean the world to me. I will miss this team and our work so much. However, I will stay on as a donor and a life-long supporter (and an Equality Breakfast guest – who gets to arrive at 7 am instead of 5 am!).
I know that I am leaving the organization in a good place and in good hands, poised for the next Executive Director to bring in their vision about how best to work towards intersectional gender equality. Whatever the future of the organization brings, we have an incredible staff and board team who will steward the organization into its next phase.
I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. Over the decade, the organization has more than tripled in budget, launched the Rise Women’s Legal Centre in partnership with UBC’s Allard School of Law, reached thousands of young people and post-secondary students across the province to engage in important conversations about consent, sued the Province over inadequate legal aid for women leaving violent relationships, became a go-to media resource on gender equality, expanded its mandate to include all people impacted by gender based discrimination, committed itself to the path of decolonization and reconciliation, and so much more.
I am excited to see what comes out of all the new and ongoing project work – how the organization might help to shift the landscape of child protection, legal aid, solitary confinement, the handling of sexual assault cases, and so on. I know all this work is in excellent hands. The team that leads and powers this work is deeply compassionate, exceptionally smart, and driven by a passion for equality and justice.
If you, dear reader, are a donor, a champion of the cause, a volunteer, or otherwise part of our remarkable community of feminist supporters, I want you to know that I have every faith that this transition will only make the organization stronger. I will be here until mid-August, and I expect that the search for the new ED will start soon.
To the staff, board, volunteers and donors who I have had the great privilege of working with over the years, I am so grateful for your wisdom, your vision, and your support.
To all those who experience gender-based discrimination, your voices and experiences are the backbone of this organization and feminist work more generally. From you, and with you, I have learned immeasurably. Thank you.