Dear Neighborhood Partnerships Community:
We are reaching out to share that, at the beginning of August, our Executive Director, Carlos David García, will be transitioning out of his role as Executive Director. We are incredibly grateful to Carlos for his leadership and dedication, and his service to the organization.
The Board has engaged an interim Executive Director, Rebecca Nickels. Rebecca has years of experience both as an Executive Director and in supporting organizations through transitions, and we are thrilled to be working with her. In addition, we’ve engaged Kathy Kniep and Kathleen Holt who will be supporting the organization to engage in an assessment of our needs for this next phase of the organization, and they’ll be leading the search process as well.
Carlos has been an amazing Executive Director during a time of a lot of transition at NP! Carlos first joined NP in 2018, serving as the Director of Economic Opportunity for several years before transitioning to serve as Executive Director in the fall of 2020.
Carlos took over in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and has led the organization through a great amount of change and the creation of a new strategic plan and organization mission and vision. In addition, Carlos oversaw critical changes to the Oregon IDA Initiative, both legislatively and programmatically. Carlos helped to create the Oregon Economic Justice Roundtable and led efforts to increase the voices of people directly impacted by economic instability, particularly BIPOC Oregonians, during his work at NP. During his tenure, NP also transitioned to having staff represented by ILWU Local 5 and currently working on a first contract. The organization is in an amazing place both organizationally and financially, and our Board recently approved a budget which includes the hiring of a new Executive Director, a Deputy Director, and a fund development person—huge steps forward for NP!
Carlos has given so much to NP, and we are so grateful for his leadership, dedication, and commitment to the organization and to this work. He will be taking some time off to spend with his family as rest and restoration are critical to sustaining a lifetime commitment to social justice movements. Please reach out to him to share your well wishes!
In the meantime, we know we can count on you to be a great partner to NP during this transition.
Board Chair, Neighborhood Partnerships
Welcome to Rebecca Nickels!
While we are sad to say goodbye to Carlos, we are pleased to welcome our Interim Executive Director, Rebecca Nickels! Read on to learn more about Rebecca.
For starters, tell us a little about yourself.
Hello, wonderful NP community—I’m Rebecca! I’ve lived in Oregon since I was seven, and I’ve been calling Portland my home since 1999. I live with my wife and teenage kiddo, and we have two cats and a dog. I’m committed to the liberation and safety of all people, and I aim to center that commitment in all aspects of my life. Stuff I do for fun includes walking my pup, learning new things, watching Thorns games, and frolicking in a forest. My yoga practice is very important to me, and you might catch me sneaking in moments of meditation to feel centered.
What area of expertise and interest do you have?
I’ve been working alongside and on behalf of survivors of domestic and sexual violence for over 25 years, and I’ve learned so much about the world from survivors and advocates. In that work, I’ve done lots of different kinds of direct service, as well as program development and management. I’m an organizational development consultant with a focus on supervision, management, and leadership. One more layer to add is I am often incorporating trauma informed and liberatory practices into organizational leadership. If we don’t acknowledge the power dynamics and oppressive structures that are part of our organizations, we won’t be able to change them. And, to truly change these things, we can’t just talk about it—we have to commit to doing things differently.
What does opportunity mean to you?
Opportunity means getting to dream about options, possibilities, and abundance; deciding what path I want to take or what goal I have, and then having access to the resources I need to get there. To me, that’s also a definition for equity—we get to define our own needs, and we have access the resources to meet those needs.
What difference can financial security make for individuals in communities?
It can make all the difference! When an individual has financial security, opportunities are within reach. It means not having to worry about one’s basic needs, which allows us to fill our energy with the things that sustain and nurture us.
What’s your favorite quote?
I have no idea how to pick just one… I absolutely love a good quote. I’ll share something from the amazing Audre Lorde: “I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do.”
Choose one author, living or dead, that you’d like to have dinner with.
Again, how to pick just one? 😉 I’ll say adrienne maree brown, primarily because I really, really wish we were friends.
What are you looking forward to most about this position?
I’m looking forward to pushing up my sleeves and working hard with the rest of the NP team to ensure a smooth transition for the organization. Our beautiful state needs NP, and I’m so proud to be a small part of its big impact!