A New Chapter is Beginning for The Alliance for Collective Action

A Letter from Jeff Ackermann, Board Chair of The Alliance for Collective Action

Dear Friends:

Jeff Ackermann here, Chair of the Board of Directors for The Alliance for Collective Action. This message is a bit lengthy, but I hope you will take a few minutes to read it through.

After nine years on staff with the Alliance and six years serving as Executive Director, Brenna Simmons-St. Onge has decided to move on. She has graciously provided the board with a relatively long transition glide-path where she will continue to serve as ED through the end of January 2024 and then move into a part time consulting role, thus helping to make the necessary organizational leadership changeover smooth and efficient.

We are mounting a search for a new Executive Director immediately. The holiday season offers many an opportunity to pause and reflect. We feel that during these quiet moments qualified people might reflect upon the vision and mission of The Alliance and step forward for consideration. Be on the lookout for a separate message announcing the position and please spread the word. As an ally and supporter of The Alliance, we are counting on you and your network to help us with our recruitment.

Long-time Alliance board member and former chair, Steve Schueth, has agreed to lead the search committee and step in as Interim Director as of the first of the year. Steve and Brenna will overlap and complement each other during the month of January, with Steve then carrying on in a temporary leadership capacity until we hire Brenna’s successor.

We are honored to have benefitted from Brenna’s passionate and grace-filled leadership for many years. She has led The Alliance to new heights in our growth and impact, positioning us well for our next chapter of advocacy and service in support of a regenerative future.

It’s now my honor and privilege to share the following personal message from Brenna. Thank you for your time today, and for your ongoing support of The Alliance.

Peace to you and yours during this season of light.

Jeff Ackermann
Board Chair for The Alliance for Collective Action

A Letter from Brenna Simmons-St. Onge, Executive Director of The Alliance for Collective Action

I have always said that being an activist for systems level change is both a marathon and a sprint, and that wise leaders know when it is time to pass the baton. That time has come for me. I engage in this transition with deep admiration for and commitment to the work of The Alliance for Collective Action!

As I reflect, I see so many memories of collective action, years of growth, change, celebration, challenge and impact. The Alliance has changed my life and I have changed The Alliance—both for the better! We have grown and evolved together and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.

The Alliance is beautifully positioned for its next chapter. While the pandemic was difficult for all of us, it was a catalyst for innovation. It was the impetus behind The Coalition for a Regenerative Future, where we accelerate solutions deeply rooted in community listening.

Thus far, The Coalition has mobilized more than 450 members (20 of them from nine states outside of Colorado), representing over 29,000 jobs in Colorado and over $7.3 billion in economic power. We have crowdsourced an incredible solution-mix from real Coloradans and have been working in community to move these ideas into action. We now have four impact projects ready to go deeper in 2024 with a focus on clean energy, regenerative agriculture, workforce development and policy advocacy. All four are built for growth and replication, anchored in Colorado but ready for national expansion.

We have accomplished so much together—from seven LEED certifications, hosting thousands of events, and supporting hundreds of organizations at The Alliance Center to influencing more than six dozen state laws since 2020 and helping to direct over $1.1 billion in state and federal funding to regenerative projects. From regenerative farm tours changing purchasing behavior and strengthening local food systems to elevating the voice of oil and gas workers to inform the energy transition—we, the Alliance, and YOU have truly made a difference!

In 2023 alone, we re-branded, launched a new website and scaled The Coalition nationally. Next year will be the organization’s 20th year anniversary. The Alliance for Collective Action will move into 2024 opening an exciting new chapter grounded by a powerful strategic framework and action plan. It’s a shared vision that I will support and nurture in a different way moving forward. This work and the organization are bigger than me. The Alliance existed before me and will carry on after me.

It has been a wild ride, one that I will cherish forever. It has truly been an honor to serve with you and for you, our tenants, partners, Coalition members and funders. YOU are the drumbeat of the Alliance for Collective Action. To my wonderful board and staff, your passion and dedication is unmatched. I cannot thank you enough for who you are and all you do in the name of collective action!

Early 2024 will mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter for my family and me—an international journey where we will be walking the walk and living regeneratively with our hands in the soil and feet on the land. We will be staying with friends on different regenerative ranches and eco-communities around the world, volunteering with physical labor, learning and studying the different methods of farming, and teaching our children through these immersive experiences in culture and place.

While I’d love to say the work will be all volunteer, we will still have to pay the bills, so I am launching a single-person consulting agency—B the Light Consulting—with a focus on regenerative systems design and applied practices. This has really been the secret sauce of the Alliance for the last six years: modeling organizational and human systems and behavior like a thriving ecosystem.

Regeneration means to heal; it means to leave whatever you engage with better than you found it. The Alliance has regenerated me and I have helped to regenerate The Alliance—both are better than when we met over nine years ago; both are ready for the next exciting chapter stronger, wiser and more evolved.

The work goes on and, so too does The Alliance for Collective Action. I hope that you stay engaged with the Alliance and are a meaningful part of the organization’s future impact.

Please sign up here if you want to stay in touch over the coming months. And please feel free to email me at: bstonge@afca.earth.

Onward with love and light in my heart and my hands in the soil!

Brenna Simmons-St. Onge
Executive Director of The Alliance for Collective Action