A Fond Farewell

Last October I announced plans to retire from my role as executive director for the American Ethical Union effective the end of July 2022. And, though my timeline did not quite hold up, the retirement plan itself is in effect. My final day as executive director will be November 30th and the AEU will have an interim executive director beginning December 1st.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be the ED for the movement I have loved and been a part of for so many years. Ethical Culture is, to my mind, an exceptionally positive and helpful way to engage with life: inspiring in its ideals, flexible in its world view, practical in its application – what is not to love! Although I will be stepping back from the administrative aspects of my connection with the Ethical Movement, I will continue as the Leader for the Westchester Community for Ethical Culture.

It has certainly been a full and interesting ten years. I was appointed Executive Director for the American Ethical Union in June of 2012 at the 97th Assembly in Albany, New York. At the time, the Union was emerging from a difficult financial situation and, though it was felt that having an executive director would be helpful, there were limited resources available to fund the position. A proposal for a part-time executive director was put forward along with a plan to fund the position through individual donations. My predecessor, Howard Radest, and my colleague, Joe Chuman, spearheaded a campaign to raise funds to cover three years of the costs (including travel expenses) for a ten hour per week Executive Director.

As described in the proposal, the executive director would “manage paid and volunteer staff, support the board’s establishment and implementation of a new or revised strategic plan, work to improve relationships between member Societies and the AEU, assist the AEU President in supporting the work of committees and task groups, provide liaison with affiliated organizations and be a voice for the AEU in both internal and external communications.”

After four years the board approved an increase in my time from ten to seventeen hours per week, and in 2019 the time was increased again to twenty-four – which is what it was when I announced that I planned to retire in 2022. After our Director of Administration, L Miller, died in early February, I agreed to delay my retirement and the board approved my becoming full-time while efforts to recruit an interim executive director progressed. Which brings us to this month.

Going forward, the AEU will have a full-time interim executive director who will help the Union prepare for a more permanent arrangement. And there will be many opportunities for you to support the work of the AEU in 2023. Many of you are already involved with AEU committees and working groups and, if you are not, now would be an excellent time to join in. It’s also a great time to be financially supportive. The AEU’s Giving Tuesday campaign is underway and an end of year appeal will go out soon – your donations can make a tremendous difference in what the AEU can offer.

Many thanks to you all for your appreciation and support. I wish you well and look forward to our paths intersecting in the coming years!

Yours truly,

This post originally appeared at aeu.org.