From those to whom much is given, much is expected. As I finish up the first quarter of grad school, I’m finding myself itching to do something big and impactful. If only I knew what that was. The larval period is hard.
After 15 years, I’m leaving Groundwire.
I’ll be starting a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs this September. I’ll wrap up my work at Groundwire in June and take the summer off to be a full-time dad to Everett and to enjoy summer in Seattle through the eyes of a fifteen-month-old.
I’ve been unbelievably fortunate to be a part of Groundwire over the past decade and a half. I’ve learned a ton, worked for hundreds of amazing, inspiring environmental organizations and have been blessed with the most kick-ass colleagues and co-conspirators this side of anywhere. I am more grateful to all of you (past and present) than I can ever adequately express. Thank you.
I won’t be going too far away. We’re staying here in Seattle. I’ll continue to serve on the boards of the Plone Foundation and Green Media Toolshed. It’s possible I’ll add a consulting gig or two to my plate once I get a handle on my academic workload.
While there’s no denying that this feels like the end of a huge chapter in my life, it also feels like a new beginning. I’m really excited to plunge into the unknown and into what I hope will be a period of creative uncertainty. While I don’t know what the next chapters looks like, I’m confident that they will remix familiar themes: public service, social change, openness, systems thinking, data-driven decision-making and smart use of technology.
Watch this space for further updates. Be seeing you.
This one had to sit for a while, Everett just hit six months yesterday, so now is probably a good time to hit “publish.”
March 19, 2010. 11:35am.
Three minutes ago, I was two inches from Molly’s face screaming, “Push! This is it!” Now I’m weeping, sobbing uncontrollable tears of joy. It’s a boy: red, squalling, perfect. The moment is enormous. So much waiting, so much anticipation. Time collapses. History, evolution, millennia all leading to this single moment. He’s already on her chest, being toweled off. Relief, I continue sobbing. Pangs of grief well up; my own dad has been gone two years now. He’d have been so happy, so proud. I can see his face in my mind’s eye even as I see traces of my own in this new little one’s gaze. I’ve never wept like this. Life continues.
Molly and I have been working on a little “skunkworks” project that we’re delighted to bring out of “stealth mode”…
Age: 12 weeks
Gender: Tadpole or chicken, we’re not sure yet
Expected launch date: March 14, 2010
Parents: Brimming with joy, anticipation and mild panic
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be taking a sabbatical from ONE/Northwest, beginning around July 20th and lasting through early November!
After 13 years at ONE/Northwest, I’m feeling a little fatigued. Worse, I feel like I’ve become disconnected from the wellspring of inspiration that makes social change work possible. I need to simultaneously unplug and reconnect.
I plan to use this time to relax, recharge, do some hiking, take some photos, read a bunch, talk with lots of folks and refill the idea-tank that has sustained my journey in the environmental and open-source movements over the past decade. Of course, I don’t expect to find much of that inspiration in my navel, so I hope to be buying many of you coffee, beer and/or ice cream in the next few months, or at the very least to hit you up on Skype.
I’m profoundly grateful to ONE/Northwest for getting a sabbatical policy in place and allowing me to beta test it. Time to recharge is an incredible gift, and it’s an amazing feeling to be part of such a supportive team and to know that the work will be in such great hands while I’m gone.
A few logistical notes:
- My ONE/Northwest email will continue to work, although I will be checking it much less frequently. Please feel free to email me (jonstahl at gmail.com) if you need to reach me. I’m eager to hear about what is exciting and inspiring you to change the world.
- Dave Averill is ONE/Northwest’s main point of intake for new work, so if you’re not sure who to talk to at ONE/Northwest about something, he’s a great starting point. (davida at onenw.org)
- Plone community friends: I’ll continue to serve in my role as Plone Foundation board president, and I look forward to seeing you at Plone Conference 2009 in Budapest this October!
Be seeing you!
 If that plan sounds a little vague, you’re right! My plan is to have no plan for at least a few weeks. I know many of you have taken sabbaticals: if there’s something I absolutely must do (or avoid doing), I’d love to hear about it!
 I hope we follow in the footsteps of Sightline Institute and make sabbaticals mandatory. That’s hardcore sustainability!