[An open letter from Ariel Beery, co-founder and CEO of PresenTense.]
Dear PresenTense Community,
As many of you have known, PresenTense has been in the midst of transition over the past year, one which will ensure the continuation of our movement as a grassroots effort to remake the world through creativity and social entrepreneurship – and ensure our organization is not too closely tied to the personalities of one or two individuals.
PresenTense was born of volunteer energies, crowdsourcing content and project development before the term ‘crowdsourcing’ hit the general consciousness. From our start as a magazine, we made it our mission to help the Jewish People realize its collective potential through collective action, and have made enormous strides over the years through our Global Institute, and then Community Entrepreneur Partnership fellowship programs to transform ideas into action, articles into new ventures.
As we grew, we required a professional staff – one whose purpose is to serve the volunteers, and whose mission has been to provide a framework to support and focus the amazing energies of communities in over a dozen cities around the world. The larger the staff, the clearer it became to us that for PresenTense to grow to the next level, it would have to clearly distance itself from the particular personalities associated with its founding, so that PresenTense would be seen for what it is, a team of wonderfully skilled and deeply committed individuals, as opposed to a founder-led organization.
It was with this commitment in mind that we launched a process for organizational growth, and it is my privilege to tell you that the Board of the PresenTense Group has accepted the recommendation of a search committee we constituted representing PresenTense, its partners, and its community, and confirmed Shelby Zitelman and Naomi Korb Weiss as the next Co-Directors of the PresenTense Group.
These past 9 months have been a very intense, thorough process for the Search Committee, and we believe that the choice of these two women reflects the best of the field – and shows that PresenTense has wonderful talent within its ranks that can lead the organization to a new era of growth.
Shelby and Naomi have done exceptional work for PresenTense, and as you probably know, in this past program year they have fully run the North American operation – its programs, trainings and partner relationships. There can be no better proof than their track record, and we learned from them during this process how ready they are to take the organization to the next level.
As for Aharon and me, Aharon has reduced his professional involvement in PresenTense to a minimum, and is now an active Board Member supporting PresenTense in Financial Resource Development and Strategic Leadership. He’s also directly involved as an advisor on Jerusalem community programs. I will remain the Global CEO until the Board determines a framework for Global oversight – which we hope to happen in the next two months, and by December 31st of this year at the latest.
Both Aharon and I thank all those who volunteered their energies and expertise to help build PresenTense over the years, and now set the organization on the path toward sustainable leadership. We hope to work with you, side by side, to continue the important work of realizing the collective potential of the Jewish People, through our volunteer commitment to PresenTense and beyond.
With gratitude and thanks, and an on-going commitment to the realization of the potential of the Jewish People through common action and broad vision,