Meredith's farwell!

Friends, co-conspirators, and amazing CfA Network extraordinaires:

As many of you know, after 3.5 action packed and wonderful years, I’m transitioning out of my role as Senior Program Director of the Code for America Network. As of tomorrow (!), my partner and I are attempting* to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. It’s been a dream of ours for a long time, and it’s finally now or never.

While this is a lifetime goal of ours, it was still such a tough decision. I adore this Network, our community, and the Network team with my whole heart. I’ve never worked anywhere with such passionate, committed, and talented folks — all of you! — who give their full selves to this work and to making our communities a better place, one step at a time. In this role I have learned more than I ever could have imagined, I’ve grown and changed alongside our Network, and I’ve had my proverbial cup filled up time and time again by the care, intention, and optimism with which this community takes on opportunities big and small. My heart is so full as I enter into this next chapter, thanks to each and every one of you. You show up in ways seen and unseen for your cities, for the civic tech community, for your Brigades, for this Network, for Code for America, and for each other. Thank you so much. I appreciate you.

My transition comes as a time when this Network is ready to soar into its next phase, with the leadership of all of you who have helped shape its direction and with the support of a Network team that is stronger than ever. Here are a few details about what to expect in the coming months:

Staffing & Support structures

  • @Ben Treviño (current Brigade Program Director) will step into an Interim Senior Program Director role for the full Network from now through mid-June. Thank you Ben for consistently rising to the moment and bringing your big heart and empathetic leadership to this work.
  • Code for America will undergo a full hiring process for a Senior Program Director (keep an eye out for the listing!)
  • @Em Burnett will continue supporting our first National Action Team focused on Reimagining 911 as well as their role as lead of Network Operations. Thank you Em for your steadiness and operational magic.
  • @Jess Manapul and @Mari Miranda remain your go-to folks for day-to-day Network support — including administrative needs, finances, how-to guides, thought partnership and more. Jess, thank you for your positive energy and your can-do approach. Mari, thank you for your creativity and rigor.
  • @Billy Lim will continue organizing and supporting our National Action Team volunteers. Billy, thank you for your passion and unfailing belief in what is possible.
  • @Michael Collado will continue to be our Network communications lead and working with all of you to tell the story of your work. Michael, thank you for strategic thinking and good humor.
  • @Melanie Mazanec will be supporting the Network Communities of Practice at 30% time (more below!). Thank you Melanie for your laughter and your uncanny ability to make big, complex issues fun and accessible.
  • The Brigade team will also be hiring for both full-time and temporary roles in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Priorities:

  • Implementing the Revisioning Strategy we collectively designed will continue to be Priority #1 all year. You can expect the team to be making progress toward this vision (with your help!) day after day, on all fronts. As we often say at Code for America, justice is getting the implementation right. Revisioning is our justice-oriented mission for how we show up as the foremost civic technology Network in the next decade.
  • Building Brigade Organizing Branches & supporting partnership-first work. This is one of the primary thrusts of our Revisioning strategy. The goal is to create new support structures for Brigades to make it easier, more fun, and more impactful to organize together, learn together, partner locally, and meaningfully support communities with technology. @Ben and the Brigade team will be working with all of you to create these structures built by the Network, that support the Network.
  • Building and strengthening our first National Action Team, focused this year on 911. Designed as a program for civic technologists to get involved no matter where you live, our first National Action Team is mobilizing together around 911. Get involved by joining #r911-nat-members-all. You can also join the Network at Brigade Congress to help decide the focus for next year’s National Action Team!
  • Piloting Communities of Practice. This is another key priority coming out of Revisioning. This year, we’ll be piloting a solutions engineer community of practice alongside the 911 work. @Melanie Mazanec will be supporting this effort and you can expect more info on how to get involved in the coming weeks!

I’m so excited to see all of this work already coming together. It’s a testament to the power of the vision created by the Network — one that speaks to the best of who we are and who we want to be. Together you’ve created something truly special, powerful, and unstoppable.

As I reflect on the many, many things I’ve learned in my time at Code for America and my time with all of you, there’s a couple themes that really stick with me.

  1. Big changes are made up of a lot of small ones. The work we’re doing to change processes, systems, culture, and experiences – in gov, in community, in CfA, in the Network, in our Brigades, in our teams – bit by bit, is the hard work. And it adds up to big change. The cracks we make one day turn into avalanches for progress.
  2. The power of appreciation. We’re all problem solvers by nature, which is one of the things that makes Code for America and this Network special. And, remember – just as often as we find problems to solve – to celebrate and appreciate what’s working, what’s good, and the people who make those things possible. This Code for America Network comprises the most genuinely talented, caring, kind, and creative people. Let’s keep appreciating one another for all the ways we support each other, push each other, balance one another, and make the world a little better, together.

Finally, please stay in touch! I will always be part of this community so I’m not going anywhere long term (but may be less reachable for the next few months on the trail :)). Find me on LinkedIn, follow my Appalachian Trail adventures on instagram (@nightmerestories), and hit me up for lunch anytime you’re in DC.

With so much gratitude,

Mere

*Only about 20% of people who attempt thru-hikes actually complete them, due to injury, illness, or other unforeseen circumstances. Wish us luck!

6 Likes

Once Upon A Time, I was having my Second Worst Day of 2021 (day that remains infamously in the Top 20 All Time Thus Far.) I was due to show up to a Very Important Meeting for Very Important Work literally minutes after The Incident Occurred – and I was a big ol’ mess for a few key moments in that meeting.

If I could rewind time, I would probably have taken care of my self a little better and bowed out of the meeting, even if it meant some frustration for others and a delay in Getting Important Things Done.

I can’t rewind time, though – and I wouldn’t now if even I could, as the care Meredith showed me both in that meeting and immediately after formed a core memory I carry into the future with me now. I don’t know that I’ve ever thanked you so directly for your empathy and encouragement, Mere, so let me do that now! Thank you!

4 Likes