This new year promises big change!
I am excited to announce that, after eight years of leading and directing the Partnership for Working Families, I will be passing the baton to a wonderful new director this summer. Following a thoughtful and deliberate transition planning process, our board – made up of the Executive Directors and select senior staff of our affiliates – has hired Nikki Fortunato Bas as the Partnership’s next Executive Director.
Nikki has been a fantastic partner and leader in our network both as the Director of EBASE, a founding affiliate of the Partnership, and as chair of our board for the past 3 years. Her leadership has been invaluable in implementing our 5-year plan, integrating race, class and climate justice into our collaborative campaigns, and representing the Partnership on the national stage. I have incredible confidence in her vision, values and skills, and look forward to watching the network thrive under her leadership.
When the Partnership first met in Denver in January 2006, we were building off of a powerful model that was reshaping the economy from the ground up in California. We believed that bold action and innovation were needed to get our country on track. We believed that a network rooted in cities – grounded where people live and work – could strengthen our democracy and help create a fair and just economy. And we believed that we could create a truly transformative movement by building worker and community power together.
Since then we have invested in each other, 17 affiliates supporting each other’s growth, development and success. We have taken what were once new ideas – like Community Benefits Agreements and accountable development – to scale. We have developed new models from construction careers to Community Workforce Agreements, from year-round civic engagement to industry specific living wage campaigns. We have undertaken bold initiatives to maximize local control of global polluters through Transforming Trash and the Campaign for Clean and Safe Ports.
We have also invested in the dream of taking this further – supporting the development of new coalitions and campaigns in more than 30 cities, many of whom are joining us at our 5th National Summit in Los Angeles this February. We have shared our challenges and successes with other networks – as varied as the PICO National Network and America’s Building Trades Unions. We have carried the expertise of our Community Benefits Law Center, In The Public Interest, and Working Partnerships’ 1,000 Leaders Program to networks like Local Progress and the Young Elected Official Network.
I am proud of what we have accomplished together. It has been an incredible privilege to work with such a talented and effective board and staff, and endlessly inspiring to support new leadership among the staff and allies of our affiliates. We are energetic, hopeful and tireless.
Personally, I welcome the next generation of change-makers to our movement. I entered activism as a young mother in 1988, and have been fortunate to raise a family while dedicating my life to social change organizing. As a movement leader, I look forward to supporting progress and those who dedicate their lives to it in a new and sustainable way.
I am working in partnership with my husband, Mitch Ackerman, to breathe new life into an old ranch in New Mexico. Together we are creating a retreat center in the heart of the Southwest, to support established and emerging leaders in an environment where people and their organizations can renew themselves and imagine the possible together. We strive for a place where both important conversations and well-deserved relaxation go hand-in-hand. We are very much looking forward to this next chapter, and are especially excited to share it with friends from our organizing life.
Thank you, as always, for your unwavering support and steadfast commitment to justice. Stay tuned as the Partnership gathers in Los Angeles for our 2014 Summit, and as this exciting new chapter in our movement unfolds this summer.