Welcoming New TUS Co-Director Don Hall

We at Transition US are joyful, grateful, and excited to announce the appointment of a new staff member and visionary co-leader of our small team. Please join us in welcoming our new Co-Director, Don Hall!

Don is something of a ‘white buffalo’ — that is, a rare and precious specimen — in this movement to build resilient community. He is a passionate, engaged grassroots leader, founder of a successful Transition initiative in Sarasota, FL, and he’s one of the few local organizers out there to have earned a real livelihood doing the work of building resilient community full-time.

Before launching Transition Sarasota in 2010, Don served for two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Transition Colorado, one of the first Transition projects in the United States. Over the ensuing years in Florida, Don delivered more than 60 "Transition Talks," screened over 40 "Films for a Future," hosted dozens of re-skilling workshops, led the wildly popular "Suncoast Gleaning Project" (which harvested nearly 250,000 pounds of organic produce for those in need), organized six annual community-wide "Eat Local Week" celebrations, and compiled an "Eat Local Guide" with detailed listings for more than 250 local-food-related businesses and organizations. A certified Transition Trainer and experienced facilitator, Don holds a Master's degree in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University and currently lives in Sarasota, Florida.

For my part, I have known Don in a professional capacity for a couple of years now, and I can speak directly to many of his finer qualities that ideally suit him to this post: his passionate “all-in" commitment to Transition, his in-depth awareness of (and firsthand experience with) the many intricate challenges and opportunities we face as a movement, his personal and professional integrity and the trustworthy follow-through he has demonstrated in group work, his expansive vision for the future of a scaled-up Transition movement robust enough to handle the dawning social and environmental exigencies we face, and his grounded humility and heartfelt presence as a spiritual warrior in this movement. I am honored to call Don my friend and brother, and I am thrilled to announce him as our new Co-Director. 

Shortly, you’ll have an opportunity to hear from Don himself, in a short letter he has addressed to the citizen-leaders in our movement. But first, I present some additional testimonials to this man’s character, written by the two other members of the small Transition US Staff:

"Don is a humble, organized, and visionary leader with diverse experience working in Transition at local, regional, and national levels. He is extremely committed to the future of the Transition Movement. The recent National Gathering would not have happened if not for Don gracefully facilitating our working group of volunteers and Transition US staff and board members. I'm so happy that Don is joining the Transition US team!” 
-Marissa Mommaerts, Director of Programs
 

"Having worked steadily with Don over the past 8 months on the Transition US National Gathering, I have had a front row seat of seeing him in action. He possesses a deep and broad knowledge of the evolution of Transition, applies a thoughtful and thorough approach to all that he does, and  - my personal favorite - he is deeply committed to this work. It is to my great joy that Don has been added to our small but able team. With him, we are entering a new phase of impact and possibility.” 
-Carolyne Stayton, Co-Director

We are lucky to have Don with us, and as we look together to the future and continue to broaden, deepen, and scale up our work, I have no doubt that this addition to our team will prove a fruitful and widely beneficial one. Please join us in welcoming Don Hall to the team!

And now, without further ado, some words to you from Don himself:

 

Dear Transition US Community, 

 

I am honored and deeply humbled to have been recently named Co-Director of Transition US. In a way, this has long been a dream for me, ever since I frst stumbled across the Transition movement back in early 2008 while working as an intern for a small nonproft called Boulder County Going Local.

 

It didn't take me long to recognize Transition as my calling. It was everything I had been looking for, but hadn't found, in my prior activism. It was positive and constructive, which felt much more deeply satisfying than simply waving signs or gathering petition signatures. It extended an inspiring invitation to begin creating the world we want to see now, rather than waiting around for politicians and big business to do it for us. And it ofered a comprehensive vision for a better world, while at the same time not shying away from the biggest challenges facing us all at this point in history.

 

Shortly after I came on-board, Boulder County Going Local became recognized as the frst ofcial Transition initiative in North America (changing its name to Transition Boulder County), and I was hired on part-time while completing my Master's in Environmental Leadership at Naropa University. Once I graduated, I was promoted to full-time Education and Outreach Coordinator for Transition Colorado, which had since launched about a dozen local Transition initiatives throughout the state. 

 

While supporting collaborative leaders and organizations had long been a special fascination of mine, this passion was further stoked by the realization that many of the new Transition initiatives I was coordinating with were struggling just to survive. I began addressing this issue by creating a 16-week course in Deepening Community Leadership, which I taught in Boulder, Colorado in 2009. However, I gradually came to realize that to be of even greater help to Transition leaders and initiatives, I needed to integrate practical, on-the-ground experience with the many powerful theories I had learned at Naropa and elsewhere.

 

This led me to move back to my hometown of Sarasota, Florida in 2010 to found Transition Sarasota. In my seven years as its Executive Director, we delivered more than 60 talks to all kinds of groups throughout our local area, screened over 40 documentary flms, ofered dozens of “reskilling” workshops, harvested nearly 250,000 pounds of organic produce for the food insecure in our community, organized six annual Eat Local Week celebrations, and compiled an Eat Local Guide with detailed listings for more than 250 related businesses and organizations. Through all of this, I learned a tremendous amount about the complexities and subtleties involved in forming a group, raising awareness, forging partnerships, and managing large projects in a Transition context.

 

During this time, I continued my focus on leadership development by becoming a certifed Transition Trainer and training hundreds of Transition leaders from all over the country. Nevertheless, I still wanted to provide more support for those in the feld taking on the highly-ambitious task of transitioning their communities from a state of widespread fragmentation and social, economic, and environmental dysfunction to one of genuine local resilience. In joining the staf of Transition US, I believe I have now found the perfect vehicle with which to expand and continue this work. 

 

As I know to be true for all who work for Transition US, my number one priority as Co-Director will be to support local and regional initiatives throughout this country to broaden, deepen, and scale-up their eforts however they feel is most appropriate. While my expertise lies primarily in the felds of leadership development and growing local food systems, I am open to pursuing whatever you, as Transition leaders and initiatives, need most.

 

To this end, I want to encourage everyone reading this letter to get more involved in Transition US by joining our Collaborative Design Council and emerging working groups, by volunteering and interning with us, by donating to support this essential movement, and by providing us with regular feedback. Especially in these uncertain times, we all need each other, and we really want to hear from you! Please feel free to contact me anytime at don@transitionus.org or (941) 408-3374. 

 

In closing, thank you for all that you do to help bring about a better world! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

In Community, 

 

Don Hall

Co-Director, Transition US

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