Bidding farewell to a brave leader

June 12, 2018

This week marks the end of an era in our community.: the leader of an important institution has retired from her post after a two-decade career. Crina Hoyer, former Executive Director of RE Sources for Sustainable Communities, has left us very big shoes to fill.

In her departing, I find myself wondering how we judge the value of an exceptional leader’s contribution to society? If we consider the scope of impact and the the ripple effect of her decisions, Crina will surely be remembered as an essential figure in preserving what we love about this region — its spectacular natural bounty, clean air and water, and cultural heritage.

During her tenure, RE Sources identified and alerted the community to the staggering threat posed by the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. If built, it would have been the nation’s largest coal export facility, certain to devastate salmon and orca populations, individual livelihoods, and the culture and traditions of indigenous Salish Sea peoples. Instead, under Crina’s leadership, RE Sources raised substantial dollars, hired new staff, partnered with key organizations across the region, cut its teeth on grassroots organizing, and helped build one of the largest environmental movements in our region’s history. It took courage to stand up to Goldman Sachs, to Peabody Coal, to Pacific International Terminals, and to the monied backers and lobbyists vested in an increasingly desperate coal industry.

But her contributions to RE Sources, our community, and the environment are not limited to one Goliath undertaking. If the value of leadership is to be evidenced by vision, inspiration, and action, Crina’s influence cannot be overstated. From her initiation as RE Sources’ Education Manager — from which thousands of adults today received their earliest environmental lessons (frequently from a young Crina cloaked as Ricky the Recycling Raccoon) — she has naturally emerged as a leader who rallies everyone around her to strive for greatness. As Program Director, then Executive Director, Crina’s command has led the environmental community into greater influence, and greater success. She is responsible for casting the vision to widen the scope of, reconfigure, reinvent, and streamline RE Sources’ programs. More importantly, her leadership helped revive a healthy, thriving, sustainable workplace culture. Today, RE Sources is known as a place of integrity, humanity, compassion, and fun. Perhaps most importantly, she built strategic partnerships with non-traditional allies, pulling focus away from our differences and placing it on shared values and shared humanity.

If a leader’s significance to society is to be measured according to lives touched, many reading this have knowingly or unknowingly been impacted by Crina’s coaching, encouragement, and wisdom.  The seeds she planted in each individual relationship will continue to cultivate great potential, produce invaluable fruit, and reseed to new ground. The long list of leaders she helped enrich and inspire, watched blossom, then said goodbye to have embarked on careers to create a thriving, sustainable future for us all. I hear time and time again how much others have been impacted by her unique leadership qualities from those  within the organization or community leaders who’ve partnered with RE Sources. And keep your eyes peeled — you may soon see a book authored by a former RE Sources board member, inspired by Crina’s leadership.

As a RE Sources board member since 2005, it has been my honor and privilege to work closely with Crina and watch her develop into one of our community’s most respected non-profit leaders. Her style relies on a foundation of integrity, self-confidence, intelligence, passion, and the ability to connect with people, regardless of circumstances.  She balances the rigors of her professional life with a loving family (husband Barry and sons Spencer and Baxter), a posse of good friends, and a taste for adventure. I look forward to more greatness from Crina as she entertains possibilities for the next step in an already-acclaimed career.

In the wake of her departure, this community can expect RE Sources to continue delivering on its promise to protect, activate, innovate, and thrive. To that end, the board has hired Duane Jager to serve as Interim Executive Director until a permanent E.D. is on board  by the end of 2018. Duane brings more than 35 years of non-profit leadership experience, a strong connection to RE Sources’ mission, and a firm intention to maintain the tremendous momentum and fearless determination that Crina fostered. For the next several months, Duane is seeking input from stakeholders and community members on the next chapter in RE Sources’ life as a trustworthy, committed champion and protector of our air, water, and remarkable natural bounty. Please join us in this new era of visionary growth as we navigate the options of “what’s next” for RE Sources. We want to hear from you. Thank you to our community, and thank you to Crina Hoyer, an exceptional leader and local hero.