It’s my last day working at Bike Easy!
As part of the transition process, I’ve been doing a series of training sessions with the Bike Easy staff on various topics, and for my last day, my colleagues asked me to discuss some of my favorite memories and my perspectives on the culture of the organization. As a farewell message, I’d like to share a few of those reflections with you and why I’m so inspired to become a Sustaining Member. It’s a bit longer than my usual messages… given the moment, I just couldn’t help it.
The organizational culture at Bike Easy is all about leadership and the many qualities and characteristics that keep it grounded in community and in the mission. Inside and outside of the organization, Bike Easy works to develop leaders, lead by example, foster collaborative leadership, and ensure sustainable growth.
As the organization gains outstanding new leadership, I’m excited to sign up as a Sustaining Member to continue supporting Bike Easy’s great work and amazing people. Will you join me today in signing up to make easy, automatic monthly donations of $20 to help make bicycling easy, safe, and fun for everyone in Greater New Orleans?
Bike Easy is dedicated to building and supporting the leadership of others, with an explicit focus on low-income and communities of color that have long been left out of transportation planning. We believe in building a broad movement for better transportation and streets and that it will take many different perspectives and leaders to achieve success.
So many of Bike Easy’s programs, and so many of our stories, reflect this commitment to leadership development. The Claiborne Corridor Ambassadors Program and the Complete Streets Ambassadors Program have both provided deep training and support for community leaders to tackle big street and transportation improvements for their neighborhoods. Our education programs help guide people to become League Cycling Instructors and then go on to teach bike safety themselves. Bike Easy Certified helps guide businesses and organizations to become active transportation leaders in the community. Our internship and service-learning programs help students gain valuable skills and experience. Everyone on staff has also grown in their role as a leader, and I’m excited to see that expand further as more space for new leadership is opening up.
I believe that strong, thoughtful leadership is crucial to solving our region’s problems – in transportation and beyond – and I’m thrilled to support Bike Easy’s leadership development efforts with my Sustaining Membership. Will you join me?
Bike Easy is committed to collective action and collective impact through collaborative leadership. We know biking has incredible power to contribute to improvements to public health, the economy, the environment, and quality-of-life for everyone, but we also know biking isn’t a silver bullet that will solve these things on its own. We also know that equitable outcomes require equitable processes and participation. So, we lead and participate in numerous coalitions and partnerships to ensure holistic, comprehensive approaches. From working with the New Orleans Health Department and schools around the city on bike safety education for 4th and 5th graders to being a founding member of the New Orleans Complete Streets Coalition, we know our impact is bigger and better through collaborative leadership.
Bike Easy also embraces collaborative leadership at a national level. In 2018, we hosted Walk/Bike/Places, the premier gathering of transportation professionals in North America, right here in New Orleans in order to show off for and learn from others around the country. We’ve collaborated with national partners, like the National Complete Streets Coalition, PeopleForBikes, and the American Heart Association, to garner resources for New Orleans while sharing our stories and successes with other cities.
I’ve seen firsthand how far collaborative leadership has gotten Bike Easy and the movement for better mobility in Greater New Orleans. We accomplish it through good listening, curiosity and asking questions, deep respect for everyone’s lived experiences, strong organizing work, and lots of communicating. I’m signing up as a Sustaining Member to give $20 a month to support continued collaboration and collective impact. Will you join me?
Leading by Example
One of my favorite storylines from my time at Bike Easy has been the development of our pop-up demonstrations – from a few isolated features spread around on MLK, Jr. Blvd to 6 contiguous blocks on each side of St Bernard Ave, to even longer stretches of Williams Blvd in Kenner, culminating with the Connect the Crescent demonstration. Connect the Crescent was the largest active transportation demonstration project in the country and successfully showed our community the power of a connected, protected network of bikeways and Complete Streets.
This is a great example of leading by example. Not only did Bike Easy develop and advocate for a vision of easy, safe, and fun biking, we went out there and showed how it could be done. For us, leading by example also means constant innovation through iteration and continuous improvement through constantly soliciting and incorporating feedback. Most of all, to do it right takes ambition and big dreams. Along with embodying this approach with our external work, the staff and board embrace the idea of leading by example in our internal management.
I believe in going big, and I know Bike Easy will continue to spur shared success with leading by example. Will you join me in supporting Bike Easy’s collaborative leadership, leadership development, and leading by example with automatic, monthly donations?
Over my time at Bike Easy, we expanded rapidly in order to better tackle the myriad challenges before us, and it’s been a big part of enabling our leadership and success. Larger staff and budget, new programs, new campaigns. Along the way, we’ve stayed nimble, solutions-oriented, and innovative.
Sustaining Members are the ultimate supporters of sustainable growth. At the end of the day, Bike Easy’s leadership is rooted in you – our Members, our supporters, our partners in the work. We’ve got successful leadership styles and approaches, and there are a lot more challenges to tackle.
Please help fuel Bike Easy’s on-going, sustainable growth by becoming a Sustaining Member with me today! It’s an easy, automatic monthly donation that you can cancel at any time. Along with the warm fuzzy feeling you get from supporting such great work, you’ll also receive great discounts at businesses around town, free swag and entry at events, and other fun bonuses along the way.
A final note on leadership – good organizations are built to outlast any one of their leaders. It’s been the privilege of my career to steer this fine organization, and it’s a wonderful feeling to fully entrust it’s next phase to amazing new leaders.
Huge thanks to all of you who have made my time at Bike Easy such a joy.