The Whidbey Institute is blessed with a generationally diverse, energetic, and committed Board of Directors. As a staff member, I can say with certainty that their commitments make this organization stronger, more positively impactful, and more responsive to the current needs of the world than I once imagined possible. My work alongside each of them has been a source of joy, education, and growth.
I’m here as an employee of the Whidbey Institute because I believe in our mission. I love the people I work with, including my colleagues on the staff and board as well as each of our partners, volunteers, and program participants. I love the Chinook Land, and the shared vision of a better future which we’re holding together here.
As part of a seasonal reflection on the year just finished and the one to come, I asked our board members to share why each of them serves the Institute. Here are a few of their responses. (To learn more about each of these individuals, click their name. To learn about other members of our board, at present and in the recent past, click here.) —Marnie Jones
Being in community with others on the WI board of directors is a joy with deep purpose. Each and every person—whether board member, staff, or volunteer, is committed—with the fullness of their spirit and talents—to finding both humble and profound ways to address the enduring questions of our times in relationship with others. The work is engaging, real, and often exhilarating as we forge new paths. I consider it a honor to serve with this extraordinary group of people.
The Whidbey Institute has an incredible opportunity right now to harness the forward thrust of positive, solution-oriented energy that has taken root in the Salish Bioregion. Working on the Institute’s board is an incredible privilege to operate within an interconnected hub of that energy. Everyone involved in the WI—staff, key program leads, guests, board, etc—share a palpable sense of participating in a web of ideas and action. It’s a continually evolving story of the right people, coming together at the right time, for the right reasons.
It’s easy to fall into despair when I look at the violence that permeates the world, however the work we do at and through the WI energizes me and puts me in the good company of others who are also committed to being the change we want to see! There’s a wonderful quality of collaboration between board and staff and members of the larger WI community. It inspires me. [There is a] plethora of opportunities for deeply meaningful engagement.
Like many of us, [I’ve found] the Whidbey Institute to be an important home—a community and a place where I feel welcomed, challenged, inspired, fulfilled. Being a member of the board is a magnification and deepening of that. I am so grateful for the marvelous community of board members, institute staff and committed supporters. It is so great to work side by side, with creativity and challenge and support and co-mentorship, I have learned so much, and completely opened my heart and been forever changed by all of you who are my co-workers and beloved friends. Being a working part of this community brings me joy.
Working on behalf of the Institute, and on behalf of our important work in the world, is so rewarding. I never feel alone—I feel supported and challenged by the broader team, and inspired by our co-created accomplishments, and the positive ways that peoples lives are affected by their experiences at the Institute.
The closing morning of the Salish Sea Bioneers conference this year was powerful for me. It was my two-year anniversary of serving on the board, and it was representative of how much we have accomplished working together. It was an incredibly successful gathering that was fully intergenerational—led by the younger generations, inspiring us older folk. It had real, non-trivial indigenous participation. It included an inspiring video that described our vision of the role that the Whidbey Institute fills in the world, and a very powerful ask on behalf of the Institute and our work. It was also just a dang inspiring and fun and well attended conference. All of these elements are things that we have been working really hard together over the past several years to achieve. It is so magnificent to be a meaningful part of such great work.