Shaping the Future of Environmental Initiative

  • February 4, 2020
  • |
  • Ellen Gibson
Environmental Initiative Board members Halston Sleets and Chris Nelson reflect together at an offsite retreat at the Minnesota Zoo in October 2019

Whenever I share my title (Chief Impact Officer), it tends to elicit a reaction. “Impact” just sounds like something big and important. My job at Environmental Initiative, no matter how you label it, is both challenging and fulfilling.

During the past five years while I’ve been in this role, Environmental Initiative has leaned into opportunities for growth and transformation in all kinds of exciting ways. Our staff team has expanded from 14 people in 2014 to 25 in 2020, and the ways we understand what is required for effective collaboration across difference, individual and organizational leadership, and influencing systems change continues to shift and evolve.

Now for the first time in more than a decade, our Board of Directors and staff have begun a comprehensive and long-term strategic planning process that will be ongoing through the summer of 2020. There are several reasons why this process is timely for us as an organization, including:

  • Growing demand for Environmental Initiative’s involvement and leadership invites shifts in how we work, more interconnection, and greater alignment – we want to be sure we are showing up in the right ways and in the right spaces to offer unique value and truly make a difference for the environment and the health of our communities.
  • We know our work needs to address systemic and interconnected environmental, economic, and societal challenges – this invites us to reflect on and get clearer about our role in a larger context, alongside other leaders and change agents from all sectors and across the state and region.
  • As our reach and project work expands, we need to refresh and coalesce around the core components of our organizational identity that thread throughout all of our work and partnerships (our mission, vision, values, theory of action).

We’re working with an incredibly dedicated and talented team of consultants on this effort that includes Maggi Adamek of Terra Soma, Sam Grant and Jennifer Kleskie with Embody Deep Democracy, and Trina Olson and Alfonso Wenker of Team Dynamics.

True to who we are, this process involves a lot of deep listening and engagement with partners. We hope you will share your insights and ideas with us through one of the following avenues in the coming months:

Share your perspective by participating in a facilitated listening session in the Twin Cities metro area on February 17 or March 9. Morning or afternoon sessions are available each date, and you can expect engaging and thought-provoking conversations with a range of Environmental Initiative partners and supporters. Sign up now to secure your spot as each group will be capped at 25 participants.

RSVP for a Listening Session

Complete our online questionnaire by February 21. There are just 6 open-ended questions that we invite you to reflect upon, and you can share as much or as little detail as you like.

Take the Survey

We’ll be keeping you informed and continuing to invite feedback and suggestions as our process unfolds this spring and summer. And you can always reach out to me at 612-749-5455 or with questions or to chat about how Environmental Initiative can enhance and deepen our impact.