Dr. Morgan Green, Director of The Emerging Leaders Perspective, offers his perspective on the campaign that our board responded to with this letter.
The only way I can open dialogue in this space is by naming a fraction of the pain and hurt present. Tokenization was a real experience during our session and ones lived experiences were invalidated. And we walked away feeling as though our time and energies were not spent utilizing the amazing potential of collective cross-collaborative wisdom and potential friendships such a gathering could have provided.
As a 2018 Emerging Leader Program (ELP) alumni, I was there and spoke with every member of my cohort as we went through so much. And it does sadden me to see that six months out there’s still so much trauma carried.
I followed along as The Center for Jackson Hole’s board sifted through every letter submitted regarding the experiences that went on during our program. More than half of those letters will not be published at the request of the writers.
And as the board was taking in a very nuanced and complicated collective experience, they committed to significant organizational changes while still supporting Christian Beckwith as executive director.
That was communicated to everyone who submitted a letter to the board and email addresses for all of the board members included if further dialogue was desired.
Several months later the opportunity was provided to step forward and lead as the Emerging Leaders Program Director for 2019. I used the resources we had available to email every emerging leader alumni, to the best of my ability. I wanted to inform them of this organizational change, my intentions to provide support to our community and contact information for any alumni to reach out to me if they had further questions.
What I apologize for is not continuing to directly contact 2/3 of those who signed the initial resignation letter afterward. I weighed the harm of potentially re-triggering individuals, since I aligned with the decision of the board. And thought about the risk of perpetuating feelings of alienation with the intention to give people the freedom to reach out to me on their own terms. I thought it best to respect autonomy. That may very well have been the wrong decision. And for that I am sorry.
For those looking on and asking for accountability- I would point you back to the board’s statement released last week. And continue to follow our posts and announcements as each step to better the organization is documented. This does include work that Christian is initiating to fundamentally establish DEI principles into the framework of this non-profit.
For any alumni of this organization, you have my contact information. I am responsible for building the curriculum and structuring the program this year so it is more inclusive, safe and representative of the ideal collaboration that can be found in the conservation and outdoor recreation industries. I’d be happy to talk to you about details of what has been done thus far and what is planned for the future.
And for prospective applicants- who are watching us under these circumstances and still want to know if this experience is something you want to be a part of… you also have means to contact me and let’s have a conversation.
I am hopeful for what we will accomplish this year. Not just as the program director, but as one who sees a board and an executive director expressing ownership in not perpetuating harm done in this space.
Strength upon you,
Emerging Leaders Program Director