Why Co-Executive Directors?
As co-founders of Recreation Northwest, we have been leading this organization as partners from the beginning and see Co-Executive Director titles as the best way to tell that part of our story to partners, funders and community members. It reflects our values of trust, collaboration and a commitment to building a strong organization as part of a team.
The always knowledgeable and insightful Janet Ott pointed out recently the our former “standard” titles of Executive Director and Program Director brought with them many built in assumptions of hierarchy and recommended we consider titles that better reflect our operating model.
Here are two stories we used as inspiration to make an intentional shared leadership model work:
8 Tips for Making a Co-Directorship Work
So, how do we make it work? We each take the lead on certain programs and responsibilities and come together to make joint decisions on organizational strategy and any changes in approach.
Todd takes the lead on our Stewardship Program: the Fairhaven Park trail and Youth Mountain Bike club while April takes the lead on our Education Program: the Recreation Economy Study and Parkscriptions.
For organizational responsibilities we generally follow a “Names & Numbers” division of labor. For example, Todd leads on building our network and sponsorship outreach while April leads on financial management and grant funding.
We bring very different strengths and approaches to Recreation Northwest and make it work with intentional appreciation of our differing strengths and staying true to our shared approach of getting it done while having fun.
April is a co-founder and former co-Executive Director for Recreation Northwest. She has a passion for place and loves exploring, experiencing and sharing the beauty of the pacific northwest. She is currently working with Ocean Conservancy to protect our oceans, specifically the Arctic.