Announcing Co-Executive Directors Heather Johnson and Marnie Jackson

The Whidbey Institute Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Marnie Jackson has accepted a position as Co-Executive Director of the Whidbey Institute. Marnie joins Heather Johnson, current Executive Director, in the role. Marnie has a deep commitment to our mission and has repeatedly demonstrated her capacity for skillful and effective co-leadership as a core member of our team since 2013. 

We perceive this moment, when business as usual has been disrupted, as an opportunity to listen deeply to the soul of this organization and its 48-year story. In her communications roles, Marnie has heard that story told from hundreds of perspectives and is uniquely situated to carry the interwoven threads forward as we define the nature of our next five decades of service. She has also held roles in hiring and recruitment, fundraising, employee onboarding, and self-organization. She has been a co-leader and mentor within our team as we’ve adopted a self-organized structure and has had a key role in evolving our internal culture to integrate our practices with this system. She is pleased to accept the title of Executive Co-Director, seeing this shift as indicative of the board’s trust in the system that we have adopted and refined as well as in her own unique capacities for, and commitment to, stewarding our continued evolution. 

Heather has been with the Whidbey Institute since 2010, first as Program Manager and Associate Director and then, since 2015, as Executive Director. She celebrates Marnie’s acceptance of this position and what it makes possible. As Marnie assumes more responsibility for defining and advancing general operational priorities and strategies, Heather will deepen her engagement with our programmatic development as we evolve our transformational learning model for the emerging needs of a world in transition. 

By enacting this shift, we are acknowledging the collective leadership that is already present throughout the team and more fully embracing self-organization; we are formalizing Marnie’s important and deepening relationship with members of our community as a spokesperson for and strategic steward of the Whidbey Institute; we are acknowledging the promise and potential of Heather’s programmatic expertise as we develop a more robust embodiment of our Transformational Learning Center; and we are acknowledging self-organization as a defining feature not just of our identity but also of our service to the world. In a moment when we are collectively called into radical transformation toward a healthier, more just, and more equitable society, it’s increasingly clear that the world needs organizations modeling agile, collective leadership rooted in trust, transparency, and shared purpose.

September 16, 2020

People & Partners


  1. Joan says:

    Congratulations, Marnie!

    1. Whidbey Institute says:

      Thank you!

  2. Christina says:

    This is a dream team for sure!

  3. Anne Stadler says:

    Hi folks! Congratulations! Good news.
    If I can be helpful in your evolution of self-organizing leadership & organization, please let me know. Spirited Work was entirely self-organizing. It evolved for almost seven years, met face to face & on-line, as well. There are probably nuggets from that experience that would be helpful to you. Love

    1. Whidbey Institute says:

      Thank you Anne! So good to hear from you. Love back to you!

  4. Congratulation to you, Marnie, and to the Whidbey Institute for this awesome decision!!

    1. Whidbey Institute says:

      Thank you Christiane!

  5. Julie Glover says:

    This is great news! Congratulations to both of you. It is wonderful knowing that our beloved Institute is being stewarded by such caring, capable people. You two rock! GRATITUDE! :oD

    1. Whidbey Institute says:

      Thank you Julie!

  6. David Baverman says:

    Congratulations on the new role!

    1. Whidbey Institute says:

      Thank you David!