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Leadership Transition at Quivira Coalition

On November 1, 2012, the Board formally appointed Avery C. Anderson as Quivira’s new Executive Director! Courtney will assume the title of Founder and Creative Director and will focus on fundraising, writing and outreach activities.


The Staff and the Board of the Quivira Coalition are very pleased to announce a major leadership transition. On November 1, 2012, the Board formally appointed Avery C. Anderson as Quivira’s new Executive Director! Courtney will assume the title of Founder and Creative Director and will focus on fundraising, writing and outreach activities. This transition is heartily supported by everyone at the organization and honors both Avery’s leadership skills and the need to think about long-range planning to keep Quivira resilient. We’re excited about this transition and look forward to the Next Steps it represents.

Here is the formal announcement from our Board Chair, Arturo Sandoval:

Moving Forward – a Leadership Transition at the Quivira Coalition

It is important for any nonprofit to keep an eye on the future – what challenges lay in wait, what opportunities might be coming up, and how to "keep up with the times" generally. This is best handled by a combination of new leadership, plus wisdom tempered by experience. Sometimes, this combination is difficult to find within an organization, but Quivira is fortunate – in Avery Anderson and Courtney White, it has the rare opportunity to implement a leadership transition that will enable the organization to maintain and expand its success well into the future.


As Acting Executive Director during Courtney’s sabbatical in 2012, Avery demonstrated considerable skill in directing the organization, including personnel management, oversight of programs, budget administration, and Quivira Board engagement. Avery also oversaw two new staff hires, as well as the reassignment of Catherine Baca to the Tribal Partnership Program Director. Lastly, Avery demonstrated growing capacity and interest in development and fundraising duties necessary for Quivira’s financial well-being. Over the course of the sabbatical, Avery’s leadership skills grew, as did her confidence, to the point where she felt comfortable and capable in her new role.


During his sabbatical, Courtney concentrated his energy on developing his writing skills, expanding his contacts with other writers and researchers, sharing his knowledge and experience, broadening his understanding of natural processes and economics, and expanding personal horizons. In particular, Courtney focused on his ability to easily explain complex concepts, such as creek restoration or progressive ranching techniques, to lay audiences through compelling stories and personal narrative. All of this led to a reinvigoration of Courtney’s enthusiasm and interests. It also led to a question: What is the best way to put Courtney’s creative energies to work for Quivira going forward?


For the organization as a whole, the sabbatical period provided important collateral benefits, including: building new capacity within the organization, introducing new ideas and energy, stimulating increased Board participation, and creating an opportunity for succession planning. Over the course of 2012, these activities have been a boost to the organization, and now we ask ourselves: how do we keep them going?



To that end, on November 1, 2012 – with Avery and Courtney’s full blessing – the Board of Directors of the Quivira Coalition voted to promote Avery to the position of Executive Director. Courtney will assume a new title: Founder and Creative Director

. The principal duty of Avery as Executive Director will be to direct the operations of Quivira while maintaining its reputation for excellence and innovation. The principal duty of Courtney, as Founder and Creative Director, will be to grow the organization through idea development, fundraising, writing, editing, speaking and other types of public outreach. These new roles closely align with Avery's and Courtney’s interests and skill sets going forward.


This change also fits with Quivira’s ongoing maturation and increasing professionalism of both board and staff. It acknowledges that Quivira has entered an important Transition Period as the organization begins to grapple with questions of succession, and changing Staff/Board relationships. On the succession front, this plan preempts difficulties that sometimes arise within nonprofit organizations when leadership passes from the hands of a Founder. In informal conversations with important members of our funding community, Quivira is being commended for this proactive approach.


Transitions are always a work-in-progress. The key to success will be good communication and constant feedback from staff, board and members of the Quivira Community. We are confident that the result will ultimately make for a stronger and more resilient organization. 


Arturo Sandoval, Chair of the Board of Directors
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