A letter to the community by Lindsay Mitchell:
It is coming up on five years since I had the honor of joining Canada Bridges as the Executive Director. It has been a challenging, rewarding and growing five year commitment for me. I have pushed boundaries in myself, and in an organizational structure. I have struggled through barriers and constraints trying to do things in a slightly unconventional way. I have made wonderful friendships with so many individuals who care deeply and passionately about youth, Canada’s indigenous people and who are working to build thriving communities for our collective future. I have come face to face with the racism that exists in our country that forced personal reflection on my own limited understanding and ignorance. I have been frustrated by the implications and the injustice towards people in our community as well as found great satisfaction in working towards possible solutions, and seeing small promising shifts towards deeper understanding, respect and reconciliation. Bridges is well positioned to be part of the ongoing story of human development and reconciliation in Canada and I have been privileged to become better by being a part of it.
Recently, my partner and I decided to grow our family and give our daughter a sibling. As such, I am currently 18 weeks pregnant – and we will be welcoming an addition to the family in June of this year. We are both excited, though aware of the life impact this will have on us both.
Specifically for me, in relation to Bridges, I will have to move away from my role as Executive Director and have also decided that it is time for me to permanently transition out of my position. This is not a personal decision I made lightly, though I feel it is best for myself and for Bridges to consider this a more permanent transition versus a temporary leave. My reasoning for this decision is mainly due to personal capacity – I have struggled with the role with one child, and anticipate it to be even more so with two. I also feel that the kind of leader Bridges needs for the next few years is someone full-time, who can be more on the ground as well as representing the organization to the broader community. I don’t have the life flexibility to be doing this in the way I would like, or in the way I feel is needed by Bridges at this point. The organization is now too big for me to return from a maternity leave on a part-time work schedule as an Executive Director, and I am not willing to return full-time with that means for our family. I am also excited to be spending some time with my children as the younger years fly by. Most importantly, I know there is deep strength and capacity in the team, and a significant opportunity in allowing someone else to step into the role moving forward. While we do have some great internal candidates, Bridges Board has decided to open recruitment to external candidates in order to ensure we find the best person for the position. This is the main reason you see the current job posting for Bridges Executive Director as we are looking for the person to lead Bridges into the future.
As a part of Bridges community, please know that while I am making a decision to leave, I remain passionate about the work, and desire to continue to support moving forward. I am grateful for the opportunity and growth it has provided me in my own leadership and will remain supportive in whatever way I can. I am not leaving because I am looking for a new role or workplace – which makes the excitement about a new addition to our a family come with mixed emotions. I am open to joining the Board, and have been asked to consider this possibility by staff and current Board Directors.
I have no doubt we will find someone capable to lead Bridges into the future. We are in a solid place financially, and with a new three year strategic direction to guide the coming years, and future ED.
If you know of a great candidate please pass along the posting.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We are looking to make the final transition in late April/early May and will keep you in the loop as things progress in the transition. I will also make an official announcement once the process is complete.
My gratitude to you and your support of Bridges,
Thumbnail photo courtesy of 7nexx “we go forward we go back” via Flickr.com