By Suzanne Kubach, Executive Director, PIE Network
The PIE Network Summit, which annually connects over 300 state-based advocacy leaders from 140 plus organizations across the country, will celebrate its twelfth gathering this fall. This year will also be my twelfth Summit, and we’re planning for it to be my last as the Network’s executive director.
As leaders, we each make the decision about when it’s time to step back and make way for someone new. The pages of the Network story that are mine to tell are written. There will soon be an opportunity for new leadership to imagine its next chapters.
I’ve had the privilege of facilitating that spirit of collaboration for more than a decade. As I reflect on the Network’s history, I know that the work of building and sustaining it has never been mine alone. The PIE Network—indeed, all networks—are co-creations requiring shared values and good will from all corners. The values and commitments, including that founding notion of cross-partisan collaboration, have been widely shared since our first meeting in 2007.
We’ve worked together to do something that’s far too rare in our country—year after year, we’ve reached across the ideological spectrum to find solutions for improving education.
That spirit of collaboration and cross-ideological deliberation has driven the Network’s incredible growth. Since our first meeting of 15 state-based advocates and four partners, we’ve grown by an incredible 475 percent. The PIE Network now connects 109 member organizations, including 87 state-based advocacy organizations from 35 states and D.C. along with 22 national partners.
Over the years, we have worked to find smart policy solutions and reflected on lessons learned in policy implementation. As a result, the Network has spread good ideas and blunted the unintended consequences of rash policy. We have spread wisdom about the arts of building coalitions, the distributive leadership that strong coalitions entail, and the power of sharing credit generously. Most importantly, we’ve shared the values of authentic community engagement, discussing what it means to build solutions with educators, parents, students, and community leaders.
It’s been my honor to work with so many visionary, committed leaders in weaving the PIE Network.
Planning for succession is an essential task for any organization. Seeing the baton passed to the next executive director is the last box to check on my to-do list for ensuring that the PIE Network remains a vital force for improving education across the country. The PIE Network, its board, and the team that sustains it are all stronger than ever, making that goal an easy one. When I step back later this year, I’ll do so confident its work will continue.
I will be excited to see what new chapters emerge as a new leader joins his or her talents with the passion and commitments shared across the PIE Network. I have every confidence the next chapters will be some of its best.
As for me, I am still very much “on the job” as we plan our summer calendar and our time together in New Orleans. I hope we will see you there!