Organizational

Announcement from Executive Director Lizzy Stephan

August 7, 2019

Big news! Our Executive Director, Lizzy Stephan, has decided that it will soon be time for her to move on to new challenges—so we’re initiating a passing of the torch! You can read our board’s announcement of our Executive Director search process here, and read the job description here.

Friends,

In 2010, I hitched a ride on New Era’s bus, Tiny Dancer, to a polling place in downtown Colorado Springs to cast a ballot in the first midterm election of my life. Someone captured the moment, and the picture speaks for itself—look at that grin!

I was 21, and I didn’t know that I loved politics yet. But right away, I fell for New Era—the irreverence, the humor, the peer-to-peer approach…and the free t-shirt. Getting a job at the organization in 2012 made me deliriously happy. What I wrote in my cover letter is still true today: “New Era’s mission, methods, style, and target audience together are, for me, the whole package.” I was an organizer for two years, registering thousands of voters myself and training hundreds of young leaders before stepping into our organizing director role, and later serving as our deputy director.

Moving from organizing work into our Executive Director role was like arriving at the crest of a hill and finding that, on the other side, there were hundreds more supporters and donors powering our work who I hadn’t had the chance to meet in the field. Meeting those individuals, shepherding our organization’s vision and strategic plan, and leading our team has been an incredible honor—and I’ve loved this job with all my heart, even on the most challenging days.

But now, in the spirit of our mission, it is time for me to pass the torch. So here we go: today, we’re announcing a search process for a new Executive Director!

After 7 years at New Era (a lifetime for a millennial, amirite?) and 3+ years as our Executive Director, I’m ready to pursue new challenges—but only after we find a new leader to take our work to the next level. Shameless plug:

It’s been an incredible run. We’ve won at the ballot box and at the legislature. We’ve doubled young voter turnout in midterms since 2010 and changed the way our state sees and responds to our generation’s political power. And there’s so much more where that came from!

It’s truly bittersweet to step away and make space for new leadership, but I’m lucky to be able to do so with incredible confidence in New Era’s future: Our team blows me away with their brilliance, makes me laugh at least ten times a day, and challenges me and each other to be better at every turn. Our board members carefully shepherd our vision and our organizational health with an unwavering commitment to youth leadership and our values.

I’m not going anywhere just yet, but for now I want to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. New Era (and our network, the Alliance for Youth Action) has been my home for seven years; this is the place where I found my people and my place in the movement. To the New Era community—our staff and board, volunteers, interns and alumni, donors and supporters and friends: thank you for helping us grow, for cheering me on, for your volunteer shifts and donations and advice. Most of all, thank you for your love for this organization.

I couldn’t be more excited for my final stretch as our Executive Director: finishing out 2019 strong and planning 2020 with our team, while we search for our next leader. I’m excited to continue engaging deeply in our organization’s equity process—a journey we’ve begun together to embed equity and inclusion in our organization’s day-to-day and DNA. And I can’t wait for our next chapter, in particular as we transform together in pursuit of becoming a truly anti-racist organization that can center the experiences and leadership of young people of color in our state.

I’m more than confident that New Era will continue to soar well beyond my tenure. Let’s keep in touch, and I look forward to sharing updates on our work in the coming months.

Onward,

Lizzy

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