Former CEO, Surfrider Foundation

Change is a healthy part of any organization.

Today I am able to make public some news from Surfrider’s Board of Director’s meeting last November. I shared with the board my belief that it is time to begin a search for the next CEO. While my departure date is not determined, we are hopeful a successor will be identified before November 2014.

It has been my great honor, challenge, and pleasure to work with our stellar staff, Board, and volunteers to scale Surfrider’s mission of coastal preservation and bring the organization into the digital age. Together we’ve accomplished many things:

+ Expanded the network from 62 chapters to 114 chapters and clubs today
+ 250 coastal wins in the past 8 years
+ Doubled staff supporting the mission from 20 to 47 today
+ Expanded online engagement to hundreds of thousands of people every month
+ Grown the operating budget to $5.8M in 2014


The Surfrider network has become more savvy and more connected. Today our complete chapter and club network is represented online in a myriad of ways. This online expansion matters because it’s our largest onramp to the mission and fits hand-in-glove with the face-to-face engagement opportunities within the chapter network. While one never truly “arrives,” I am proud of how far we have come.

surfrider350When I was appointed CEO in 2005, I committed to the board to stay at least five years. That was a mental stretch for me at the time yet, this June will mark nine years for me. Looking ahead at the next decade for Surfrider, the primary challenge will be to expand the network to cover the United States coastline and evolve the business model to support such growth. I believe accomplishing that will be a process—lasting at least five years. Thus, it will be best accomplished by a new leader.

The Board begins the search process for the next CEO in the next few days. I will be fully engaged throughout this transition.


Surfrider is a pretty amazing place to work. The photo at left was taken yesterday during our staff meeting’s on-beach team building session. As you might imagine, I will miss gatherings like these.

In the words of Heraclitus, “Change is the only constant.”

This was originally published on Jim’s blog.


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