I want to share the news that I will be retiring from Reep Green Solutions in December of this year. What an amazing ride it has been! Over the past 22 years, Reep has grown from a two-year project to a 20-person hub for practical environmental action. Twenty-eight thousand tons of reduced carbon, hundreds of student jobs and one Reep House for Sustainable Living later, we are thriving and surging forward with an ambitious goal for 10,000 meaningful actions by 2030.
It has been a tremendous gift to be part of Reep’s journey. Twenty-four years ago, I left the field of television production because I was becoming more and more concerned about environmental issues. Reep was just beginning at the University of Waterloo when I started my Masters of Environmental Studies. Two years later, I took on the role of leading the small project that provided home energy evaluations. A new life began for me that would forever change the way I lived and saw the world.
We grew together, Reep and I, evolving to meet the needs of this community. I look back and remember learning “by the seat of my pants” how to do things like an annual budget (you mean it just ends on Dec 31 and we start all over?), hiring, community engagement, fundraising, etc. It has been a challenging and rewarding career, made all the richer by the many people that have embraced our programs and shown us what they needed next.
Climate change was not so much on people’s minds when Reep started. Now it is urgent, and it is heartbreaking to hear and experience the human impacts of extreme weather on a scale we’ve never seen before. The only way to deal with such a daunting challenge is to dig in and do something about it. At Reep, we see our community and our municipalities responding to this challenge every day in meaningful actions, big and small such as: home energy retrofits, backyard tree planting, rain garden installations, donations to this work and much more. There has never been as much demand for the knowledge, tools and capacity to take action as there is now. Reep has a very important role to play.
Looking ahead I see Reep being in a strong position, with energy, climate action and healthy yard programs that are in high demand. Some exciting new programs are in development, including our collaborative native tree nursery. We are also delving into the issues of energy poverty and equity in climate adaptation work to better understand who we are not yet serving, and how we can support full participation in healthy, efficient homes, inside and out. Our donors, municipal partners and core funders are making this work possible, and we are deeply grateful for their support.
The leadership transition is one that the Board and I have been preparing for over the past two years. A five-person Hiring Committee of the Board is meeting weekly, following our succession plan, guided by human resource professionals. It is inspiring for me to see how engaged Board members are in finding the right leader to take the helm. Our staff team is part of this process, making sure the Board knows how important it is to keep the supportive, connected culture that makes Reep a place where they want to work.
I could not be more proud of the dedicated group of people on our team, and I am so grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with them: professionals with heart and patience, meeting people where they are, to support them in their sustainability journey.
It has also been an honour to work alongside the community partners and dedicated municipal staffers whose commitment to urgent climate action has spurred me on every day.
I can say with confidence that Reep will be in good hands. I look forward to handing over the reins to the new Executive Director in December, and spending more time communing with nature and family. Then I will be cheering Reep on from the sidelines, and continuing as a donor to support this essential, home-grown work in our community.
With gratitude and best wishes,