2013 Election Candidate Forum:
4: What specifically do you plan to accomplish as a Director?
As Director, I plan to continue my work in financial analysis and strategic
planning for the Club. I will work to bring chapter and national relations to
an on-par and even keel. I will be fiscally prudent. I will also help Sierra
Club confront and surmount the most important issues facing the Club and our
I envision the Club as the entity that will lead our nation, and the world,
into a carbon-neutral future. It’s a long shot, but I’m clinging to the
vision. Alone among Directors and Staff, I’ve represented the Club at the last
four UN climate treaty negotiations.
Per my response to question #1, I intend to assure that the Club builds its
financial reserves to a proper level.
Almost alone among sitting Directors (and Staff), I’ve advocated for a
national moratorium on fracking. I hope to attain a majority of seven on this
Almost alone among Directors, I’ve advocated for relaxation of the Club’s
prohibition on the use of civil disobedience. With Bill McKibben I was
arrested at the White House last year.
I intend to get arrested again at the planned February White House action.
The Club needs to take the gloves off; this policy must evolve.
My greatest strengths are in strategic planning, execution and fundraising.
I have learned how to identify the highest priority activities that are
essential in accomplishing a mission, marshaling the commitment, buy in and
resources to succeed including the funds. If we are to stop the climate chaos
train wreck for which we are headed (and that will destroy our beloved wild
lands) we must turn the tide very soon. I have a vast and unique array of
business, personal and government contacts with whom I believe I can continue
to network in a more effective way as a Board Member to help us accomplish our
I would be a part of helping Sierra Club continue to be the most effective
grassroots organizing group on the planet. I know what it is like to be a
chapter or group leader, and will listen to the members. I’ve been a journalist
for 35 years, and would pay particular attention to our media campaigns, and
want to see the Club continue to grow the social media programs. Board
meetings must be efficient because there are so many issues, and knowing when
to remain silent and listen is as important as knowing when to speak. I
advocate the Club reduce its carbon footprint for travel, exploring options
such as virtual chapter and national meetings. I would like to explore
national board meetings being televised on the Internet.
In general, I would expect to bring my perspective and judgment gained as a Sierra Club member, experienced volunteer leader and former Board member to bear in contributing to Board decision-making on the issues coming before the Board. The specific things I would expect to help accomplish are:
- Help guide the achievement of more progress in building chapter-national synergy to strengthen our impact and our capacity;
- Help guide progress in achieving financial sustainability, with a particular emphasis on continuing to strengthen the Club's capacity to raise unrestricted funds; and
- Ensure the meaningful and effective role of volunteer leadership in the direction-setting decision-making of the organization.
A) Chapter Capacity: Joint planning and collaboration among staff and
volunteers should be the norm. Capacity building will be a factor in measuring
effectiveness of campaigns. Chapter performance can be assessed by examining
levels of capacity. Track trends; B) Financial Stability: I will push for more
cost containment and fiscal accountability. I will promote audits as a best
practice for Chapters. I will push for Board involvement in targeted
fundraising efforts; C) Diversity: I will lead to make the Club more inclusive,
diverse, and equitable. E) Conservation: I will advocate for legislative
leadership to prevent any roll back of environmental safeguards to our lands,
water, wildlife; F) Readiness of our Digital Strategies Program: Better tools
and robust technology enable our grassroots activists to effectively engage and
gain the support of communities on environmental issues. I fully support a
modern digital presence that will allow Club to interact and share information.
Most of my work in the Club over the past decade has been focused on organizational effectiveness, leadership development, internal communication, and strengthening the connection between chapters and the national organization. And a significant part of my professional background is in electronic communications, web technology, and social media.
As a director I would play to those strengths. Specifically, I’d:
- Work closely with the digital strategies team to overhaul our internal communication, training, and outreach systems and processes.
- Ensure that the recommendations of the chapter-national relations task force are fully implemented to foster a strong and cohesive relationship between national and grassroots.
- Work to identify lingering communication gaps in the organization and implement changes to address those issues.
In addition to those internal-facing objectives, I would work aggressively to end the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, promote clean/renewable energy, and protect our remaining natural / open spaces.