Carleton Weitz Fellows | March 14, 2023
Two women are standing closely to each other, smiling at the camera.
Leadership | December 12, 2023
Continuity of Commitment: New Leadership at Weitz Family Foundation
This blog is estimated to take 3 minutes to read.
It’s what we all want for our organization, but rarely do we get so lucky! I am filled with gratitude that Emily Nguyen will be the next Executive Director of the Weitz Family Foundation. Emily started with us in the summer of 2022, just a few months before a catastrophic family event pulled me away from operations temporarily. Emily stepped up and led with humility, grace, and strength. As things resolved and I was able to return, it was a relief to see that the foundation continued to not only function as designed but become even stronger with Emily’s leadership and influence.
Over the course of this last year, Emily has implemented new processes and systems that have made the organization more efficient and increased our best practices. This means there is more opportunity for us to work in partnership with our grantees because the “inside work” is being done well. I am excited for Emily and our team to continue promoting the Weitz Family Foundation values of transparency, integrity, compassion, dedication, and innovation while fulfilling our mission of supporting systemic change to create a more equitable community. These values remain the same in this transition.
I feel so privileged to have held the role of Executive Director. I have learned so much. Lessons in the cyclical nature of this work could only come from having two decades in this field. I have now been able to see the effects of massive federal dollars infused in education, whether in Race to the Top or Recovery Act, and watched how multiple governors and mayors partner with the private sector on interventions with all the long-term successes and the unintended consequences. On the journey for equity, I continue to work on the ways I default to privilege and strive to miss fewer opportunities to dismantle racism. This position has been a dream. I am proud of the work we have done together, and how we did this work together.
However, I will only be successful in this transition if you embrace and recognize Emily Nguyen as the new leader of the Weitz Family Foundation. Although many of us are friends and we are all longtime partners in change making, I beg your forgiveness as I decline opportunities and step back in service of this change. Also, I want to acknowledge Emily for engaging with me and a coach over the last year and a half to prepare for this transition. We identified pain points (sometimes as they were happening), made tactical decisions, were vulnerable with one another, and shared our fears and hopes. Succession planning is hard and even though I have been wanting and planning this for years, I still cried the night before the board meeting.
It is true that I have the new title of President and my connection to the foundation remains strong. I hope to always be a part of the Weitz Family Foundation, and for that I am eternally grateful. Going forward, my role will be more behind the scenes, working with the board members and supporting Emily. I hope you will give Emily all the grace, friendship, candor, and support you have given me. Thank you!