Headshot photos of the outgoing PLAN Co-EDs, Faye and Ciara. Text to the side reads “Goodbyes from the Co-Executive Director Team”.

We have been so excited to share PLAN’s recent news with the community! This spring the PLAN team and Board of Directors have made the decision to incorporate PLAN as a Worker Self Directed Non-Profit. To read more about this decision and how it will change our work, see this blog post! While PLAN’s operations have been based in collaboration and cooperation for a long time, this structural shift was brought about by a realization that both of PLAN’s current Co-Executive Directors, Ciara and Faye, had started to develop independent plans to transition out of their roles. For Faye, this transition comes after nine years of working with PLAN and is driven by a desire to explore other forms of changemaking work. And for Ciara, this transition aligns with her admission and enrollment in a History PhD program at Harvard University. When we realized that we would be navigating this leadership turnover the full team began to develop the idea of a more collaborative leadership structure that accurately reflects how PLAN currently functions. This has been an exciting few months of researching co-operative leadership structures for non-profits, analyzing and updating PLAN’s guiding documents, and developing tools and resources that will support this new structure. All on top of growing and expanding our zero waste programming! As we enter into this transition PLAN is stronger than ever, with a solid financial foundation, a freshly published Strategic Plan, and a dedicated and experienced team of staff, and we believe the organization is set up for success over the coming years.

As the outgoing Co-Executive Directors we want to use this space to take a moment to reflect. It is no secret that working in the non-profit sector can be a challenge. The pressure of the world’s problems are felt acutely and the people are often overworked and underpaid. We began working together in the summer of 2020 and in those early days of our collaboration we realized we held shared goals. We wanted PLAN to be an impactful organization where people wanted to work. We wanted to challenge the nonprofit burnout culture which we saw as counterproductive to our mission. PLAN’s work of building a world without waste goes beyond just things like bottles and plastic bags. We want to get at the roots of waste, challenging a culture which endorses people, places, and things as disposable. This goal was wholeheartedly echoed by the rest of the team and over the years we have passed several organizational policies to implement this value. We even incorporated the following goal in our 5 year strategic plan: Cultivate a transformative organizational culture: We intend to maintain a commitment to transparency and opportunities for continued learning in order to foster an organizational culture that will be resilient in the face of a long-lasting fight for a zero-waste future.

This transition to a Worker Self Directed Non-Profit feels like the natural next step for PLAN. We are so grateful to have worked with such a brilliant and dedicated team over these last few years and are so proud of what the organization has and will become. We will be supporting the team in finalizing this transition throughout the rest of the summer and then we will move along to new adventures. We have complete confidence in this team and their ability to see the vision of PLAN’s work through this new chapter. We want to thank the entire PLAN community for believing in this movement and staying committed to this work.

A personal note from Faye: PLAN has been an organizing home for me through some of the most formative years of my life. I first started working with the organization in the summer of 2014, the organization was not even a year old yet and I had no idea how invested I would become! Over the last nine years I have had the opportunity to work with so many incredible people. While I truly believe in PLAN’s mission, when asked about why I do the work that I do my answer has always been, the people. I am consistently impressed and inspired by the students we support, I am so grateful for the camaraderie and friendship of our partner network, and I have found lifelong friends and chosen family in my coworkers. I look forward to when our paths cross again in the future! Forever a trash nerd! <3 Faye

A personal note from Ciara: Upon joining PLAN as the Co-Executive Director in 2020, I knew that I would be supported to think outside of the box. Having come from more hierarchical work spaces, I was excited to continue PLAN’s vision of building more intentional practices of democratic decision-making and collaborative leadership. Because a movement is only as strong as its parts, I entered the work excited to build relationships with PLAN staff, board, and the larger PLAN network and Zero Waste Movement. I’m honored to have held this position within the organization and even more honored to have been able to support PLAN as it enters into this new chapter. I’m departing with a strong confidence in this next phase of leadership and I am looking forward to watching PLAN flourish!