The following memo was sent December 5, 2011.
To: Sierra Club staff and volunteers
Fr: Mary Anne Hitt and Bruce Nilles, Beyond Coal Campaign
Re: Building a stronger Beyond Coal Campaign
We are writing today to let you know about some adjustments we are making to the structure of the Beyond Coal Campaign. Since July, when we announced a major gift to the campaign from Michael Bloomberg, we have been working to ramp up so that we can reach our four-year goal of retiring 1/3 of US coal plants by 2020, and replacing that power with clean energy.
In the process, there have been learning experiences and growing pains, and so we are making some adjustments to our structure to build a stronger campaign. Here are the highlights of the changes we are making to our structure:
- Streamlining the number of regions, from 5 to 3. These regions will largely parallel the organizing department’s regional structure. Bill Corcoran will continue to lead the Western region. We are pleased to announce that Heather Cusick will become our new Central regional director, and Vanessa Pierce will become our new Eastern regional director. Mark Kresowik and Glen Hooks will serve in campaign roles in their respective regions (we will share more details about staffing within the regions in a future memo).
- Strengthening our clean energy work. One of our primary goals in making these changes is to take our clean energy work to the next level. Putting strong, experienced clean energy leaders at the helm in every region will be a tremendous boon to our clean energy efforts. Mary Anne will have clean energy staff working on national priorities, including offshore wind and federal incentives for clean energy.
- Clarifying lead staff roles. Mary Anne will be on point for the national components of the campaign, with national staff reporting to her. Bruce will be on point for our state-level work, and will supervise the three regional campaign directors. While there will be occasional overlap and we will continue to manage the overall campaign together, our intention is to formalize and clarify a division of labor that has been in place informally over the past few months. To reflect his role, Bruce will assume a new title – senior campaign director – alongside his current title of deputy conservation director. Mary Anne will continue to serve as campaign director, staff co-lead of the Beyond Coal Leadership Team, and primary campaign spokesperson. She will also serve as the key point of contact with capacities where Heather Cusick was formerly on point (organizing, partnerships, and chapters) as well as continuing to serve as liaison with the Digital Strategies and Communications Departments. Bruce will continue to be on point for the Environmental Law Program. We also hope staff will increasingly take regional and state concerns and opportunities directly to the three regional campaign directors.
We have built this strong, successful campaign thanks to your hard work and good ideas, and this amended structure is our latest effort to put that learning into practice. It comes amidst some incredible successes. We’ve locked in retirements of over 30,000 MW of coal (1/3 of our 2015 goal), clean energy is being deployed at a record pace, and the Obama Administration is poised to issue the first-ever mercury standards for coal plants. We’re positioned to take advantage of that momentum thanks to the ramp up, which is well underway – we’ve added 30 talented new staff across the Sierra Club, we’re providing resources and capacity to some states for the first time, and we’re engaging in smart and sophisticated state planning in a dozen states that will take our work to the next level.
The coming year is going to be our biggest yet, and we are confident this improved structure will set us up for some epic, unforgettable victories in 2012. We look forward to working with you to refine and improve this new structure – and take this campaign to the next level – in the weeks and months ahead.