Cole Hoover, Director of Global Brigades Institutes, joined our board at the end of 2013.
Global Brigades is a student-led organization which serves the dual purpose of educating young people in the arena 0f sustainable development and learning from communities around the globe through cross-cultural engagement. Cole’s department focuses on education. He describes the work as the education of the next generation of leaders, with a focus on creating the conditions for thoughtful, holistic, and meaningful engagement across cultures. He also co-founded and serves the board of Lumana, where he has a focus on social investor relations, and teaches a summer class at the University of Washington, Bothell, on social enterprise.
Cole came into his relationship with the Whidbey Institute through a Hollyhock Summer Gathering and an ensuing invitation from Rick Ingrasci to attend our annual Winter Gathering at Chinook. “I felt really embraced, and excited about the people we were meeting,” he said. “I fell in love with the land and mission.” His love of the land extends not only across this 100 acres but also across the region around the Puget Sound. “I have a deep connection to the wilderness, and my favorite place to [be] is out in the woods.” He describes Seattle as his ideal home, but said he loves to travel whether for work or pleasure.
Cole’s feelings on working with the other Whidbey Institute board members range from excitement to gratitude. The board and staff, he said, have both the skills and the vision to imagine an impact far beyond the Institute’s traditional borders. “It’s a group of playful people—really smart, and really professional—and they’re here to get things done,” he said. “Everyone senses the movement—the really huge direction [in which] the Whidbey Institute is going—and we are all accordingly excited and committed.”
Cole said that one of the reasons he joined the board was to share his experience in envisioning how organizations with a social purpose can build on their current ways of supporting themselves, through new revenue sources, programs, and business models. He hopes to leverage this skill in helping to increase the Whidbey Institute’s impact around the region. He also wants to make our land and programs more accessible to people in Seattle and beyond.
“I have a deep belief, in all areas of my work, that the highest value I can push for is equality of opportunity,” he said. “I’d like to make sure this is an inclusive place . . . and that we connect more people to this extremely thoughtful, heartfelt movement.”
Those wishing to meet Cole in the flesh will have to do so between his frequent travel engagements, but there’s this to count on: when asked if he’d be at Bioneers this November, Cole answered with an instant, and hearty, “Yes!”