A Special Hitchcock Center Announcement 

From Clay Ballantine, Board President, Hitchcock Center for the Environment

After nearly twenty years of service, our remarkable executive director, Julie Johnson, has announced that she will be departing her leadership role at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment on June 30, 2021.

As she embarks on her life-long goal of starting her own consulting business, Julie is committed to shepherding in the next chapter of the organization and she will remain connected to the Center as one of our strongest community partners. Julie is the longest running director in the organization’s fifty-eight-year history, and her visionary leadership and passion for environmental education and advocacy is woven into the physical, philosophical, and operational DNA of the center.

Hired in 2001, Julie has been singularly focused on building greater capacity to fulfill the Center’s mission through a shared vision.  She has done this with skill and grace while ensuring that staff members feel that their work is meaningful, significant, and purpose-based. Julie has also been an avid supporter of the board of directors, assuring that they feel empowered, focused, and engaged.

Julie’s leadership has resulted in an historic period of growth and transition with highlights that include:

As with any executive transition, there is anxiety.  Change is always unsettling but, for the Center, it is a time of great excitement and opportunity for continued organizational growth and maturity. Julie’s remarkable feats in capacity building leave us in such a strong position that this next chapter begins on a firm foundation.

The Center’s board of directors has begun assembling an Executive Search Committee that will be chaired by our board vice president, Tom Davies. Our goal is to launch the formal search process at the beginning of the 2021 calendar year.

“Chairing the Executive Search Committee is both a huge honor and a really significant responsibility. Fortunately, the Center is in a great place to attract terrific candidates. Initial efforts are underway to plan out the next eight months’ work, not just the search process itself, but also how this interfaces with finance, strategic planning, communications and finance. We are building a committee of individuals that are passionate about HCE, who reflect the values of our organization and community, and who will work to ground the process in the fundamental imperative of diversity, equity and inclusion,” says Tom Davies, Board Chair of the Executive Search Committee.

We cannot thank Julie enough for the dedication, passion, enthusiasm and motivation she has given the Hitchcock Center over these past years. She will be greatly missed by the staff, Board, members and partners alike. We look forward to following the success of her next professional chapter as Julie launches her own consulting business. We are also very excited about the next chapter of the Hitchcock Center as we endeavor to meet the growing demand for environmental literacy in our community.

If you have any questions or concerns during this transition process, please do not hesitate to reach out to Tom or me directly.

From Julie Johnson, Executive Director, Hitchcock Center for the Environment

After nearly twenty amazing and rewarding years as executive director of the Hitchcock Center for the Environment, I feel ready to take on new challenges as an independent consultant effective June 30, 2021.

It is not easy to leave an organization and mission that I feel so deeply committed to and passionate about.

The Hitchcock Center is a special place like no other I have ever experienced and it is largely due to the exceptional staff I have had the honor and privilege to work with. I am so proud of what we have accomplished as a team supported by a dedicated board of directors—an organization that has grown from a small and beloved nature center to a nationally recognized (and still beloved) center known for its environmental education excellence.

Just as I am excited for the next chapter of my professional career, I am very excited for Hitchcock’s next chapter as the board and staff selects and welcomes a new executive director. I will finish out this fiscal year to ensure that the Hitchcock Center remains strong as we navigate the unique challenges of a global pandemic. I have planned by departure to give ample time for our board of directors to complete a successful search for a new executive director and to fully assist with the on-boarding of my successor.

I want to give my deepest gratitude to all who have been so supportive of the organization and of me over the years: staff, board members, volunteers, and, of course, our partners and contributors of the Hitchcock Center. Without you, the organization would not be as strong and vibrant as it is. I am so honored to be the leader of this incredible organization and will watch with much excitement and anticipation as it continues to reach new heights in its development as an environmental education leader!

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