Executive Director Tracy Bowen: My Year with New Dream
This has sure been a year to remember, but I want to begin at the end.
It’s now nine days since the 2016 presidential election, and, like many around the world, I’m still reeling. During this time, plenty of folks are opining on the how’s and why’s, and plenty more are worried about the future policies of our president-elect.
One thing I know for certain is: New Dream couldn’t be more important and needed than it is right now.
New Dream’s mission is to improve well-being by inspiring and empowering all of us to shift the ways we consume. It was that mission that drew me to New Dream in early 2016 when a board member invited me to apply for the position of executive director.
The charge was clear: help New Dream narrow its focus and leverage its limited resources to increase impact.
And so, as one New Dream board member shared with me, I “became the midwife.” The hard work began in the spring as we entered an accelerated strategic planning process focused on getting to the essence of New Dream and its relevance in our changing world. We went back to conception to re-examine founding principles. We looked out at the world around us through the lens of those principles to understand what was needed. We turned a sharp eye on each program to see if it matched those needs, and we modeled scenario after scenario in our search for an impactful and viable future.
It was... challenging. But then, a labor of love often is.
It was an organic process that involved many conversations and sage advice from our founders, donors, volunteers, and partners. There were dynamic conversations with staff, whose capabilities never ceased to amaze me and who have sacrificed so much to pour their hearts and souls into the vision of New Dream. And there were so many generative conversations, both individually and collectively, with the board, who slogged through every permutation with patience, wisdom, and grace.
Now, after nearly 11 months, New Dream is in the process of being reborn:
- With a laser focus on the disconnect between consumption and well-being—through the Kids & Commercialism, Simplify the Holidays, and SoKind Registry campaigns—our programs set the stage for maximum impact.
- By capitalizing on the emerging trend of collaborative leadership, New Dream will leverage the synergy of its powerful staff as co-leaders and will achieve a new level of operational efficiency.
- And by trading in its status as a standalone nonprofit in favor of operating under the umbrella of a fiscal sponsor, New Dream will mobilize more of its financial resources for its work in the world.
My role as transition leader or “midwife” is winding down. I will be forever grateful for the counsel and steadfast support of New Dream’s founders, board, staff, and collective community. It has been my honor and pleasure to be able to support this organization through this transformative phase.
And the timing couldn’t be better! For I believe that as people wake up to the reality of a world under our new president, they will be looking everywhere for alternatives. New Dream will be ready for them.
Tracy Bowen is the executive director of the Center for a New American Dream
YOU CAN HELP US BUILD A NEW DREAM!
If you donate to New Dream before December 31, 2016 your gift will help New Dream secure $20,000 in matching funds! Your tax-deductible gift supports innovative and inspirational programs that empower Americans to improve their quality of life by taking action to consume responsibly, protect the environment, and build community. Thank you for giving!