This is not goodbye…it’s a fond farewell for now
After five amazing years with California Walks, I will be stepping down as Deputy Director on June 28. My family and I will be moving back to Washington, DC, this summer, in large part to be closer to family. This was an awfully difficult decision to make, and the move is certainly bittersweet (not to mention fast-paced as far as cross-country moves go).
It’s hard to believe that half a decade ago, I joined the team in a half-time position as their third staff member, and now we’ve grown to a hearty team of seven working across the state (could you be our newest team member?).
From that time, and all the way to my current role as Cal Walks’ deputy director and instigator of our Walk San Jose program, I have grown so much. To our Executive Director, Tony Dang, and our former Executive Director, Wendy Alfsen: Thank you so much for giving me a chance, and for your guidance and dedication. To my colleagues at Cal Walks over the past five years: Thank you for teaching and inspiring me, and for allowing me to hopefully do the same for you.
A snapshot of what I’m proud to have accomplished in San Jose: securing a $150,000 grant to launch the Walk San Jose program; the adoption of San Jose’s Vision Zero policy and first two-year action plan; helping the city secure over $29 million in grant funding to safety improvements on Vision Zero corridors; and most recently, securing $100,000 from the city as seed funding for its first comprehensive Pedestrian Master Plan.
This is just the start for our Walk San Jose program, and our statewide work keeps getting stronger and stronger—I am extremely excited to watch (and maybe even armchair advise) all of the great things Nikita Sinha, our new Walk San Jose Program Manager, and the rest of our dedicated Cal Walks team will continue to accomplish in the months and years ahead. And this doesn’t even touch on the good fortune I’ve had to collaborate with local partners across the state on some truly transformative work.
For those of you I’ve had the honor of working with this past five years, thank you for your partnership. For those of you I haven’t had the chance to connect with yet, especially in San Jose, please do make it a point to connect with Nikita. My hope is that this transition, though on an accelerated timeline, will be as seamless as possible.
So what’s next for me? I’ll be joining the DC Department of Public Health in their Office of Health Equity to develop and implement a District-wide Health Impact Review (HIR) process to integrate health and equity considerations into physical, environmental, and policy planning and implementation across the District. I’ve no doubt my time with Cal Walks has given me a strong foundation for success in my new role.
And fret not for Cal Walks! Starting July 1, Esther Rivera, current State Policy Manager, will be stepping up as our Interim Deputy Director. We’re re-committing ourselves to updating you all on our work and the state of the movement going forward. Please be on the lookout for a completely revamped website (www.calwalks.org), set to launch in the next few weeks.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that we simply can’t do the work we do without your help. Please consider becoming a monthly Cal Walks donor. With gratitude, I assure you that every dollar truly makes a difference.