Passing the Torch
Submitted by yvonne on 27 October, 2010 - 22:15
Dear friends and colleagues,
It is with great excitement that I pass the full leadership of the Toronto Cyclists Union over to our Advocacy and Operations Director, Andrea Garcia.
This may come as a surprise to you, but this is a transition that has been in the works for some time. I've always believed that once you've built a foundation, you trust in the wisdom of others to make a sound structure. I decided earlier this summer that it was time for me to explore new opportunities, but I knew it was important to have a stable and steady organisation to get us through this election period. So I made a commitment to the board and staff that I would maintain my role as Director of Communications throughout September and October and step down after the election, regardless of the outcome.
Earlier this year, we brought Andrea Garcia on board to help with this transition. It would be irresponsible to walk away from this organisation without having new leadership firmly in place. In this short period, Andrea has proven herself to be a tremendous leader, with the capacity to carry the bike union into our third full year.
We've worked together to chart a course for the new year, with an emphasis on improving operational effectiveness, developing member programs and expanding our Ward Advocacy Program. Overseeing the growth of a young organisation is a difficult task, and I have complete confidence in our current staff, Board of Directors and core volunteers.
It's been such an incredible experience, leading the bike union as we grew from a simple idea into a powerful organisation with over 1100 members, 400+ media appearances and major political victories under our belt.
Despite ongoing rhetoric about the War on the Car, we have remained positive and consistent in our message. We are simply demanding Complete Streets that are safe for all users: cyclists, transit riders, pedestrians and drivers. There's room for everyone on our roads, and cyclists are speaking up with a unified voice to ensure that we get our fair share.
And what about Rob Ford and our new Council? There is no doubt that our mayor-elect has made some off-the-cuff remarks about cycling that have caused concern. But he has also expressed his commitment to building new infrastructure, both off-road and separated lanes on arterials. We also have many new faces on Council, many of whom have declared themselves to be firmly pro-bike. I have no doubt that the bike union will find ways to work with our new mayor and council to improve safety on our streets for cyclists and promote the use of bikes in Toronto - from Etobicoke all the way to Scarborough. But we'll need your continued support to make it happen.
Thank you for your continued support of the Toronto Cyclists Union, and for helping us become an important political voice in Toronto!
I have enjoyed every step of the way and deeply respect the committed folks with whom I've had the opportunity to work. I look forward to seeing where the bike union goes from here. Although I'm stepping down from my leadership role, you can bet I'll still be around supporting the bike union at events, on rides, and at City Hall for important votes. Hope to see you there!