After nearly six years at BHFH, Nils Klinkenberg will be stepping down as Executive Director. Beginning April 17, Jennifer Newman, BHFH’s current Program Director, will become our new Executive Director.
Below are notes from Nils and from Regina McCarthy, Clerk of the BHFH Board of Managers.
Dear Friends of the Friends House,
In the late evening of May 31, 2017, I got out of a taxi, rang the doorbell at 8 Chestnut Street, and began my journey as a staff member at the Beacon Hill Friends House.
This winter, I reached a new point in my journey with the Friends House: I discerned that it’s time for me to move on.
In the nearly six years I’ve served as Executive Director, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of living with and supporting 63 amazing other residents in their own journeys of living in intentional community. I’ve gotten to meet and learn from hundreds of other members of the broader Friends House community: former residents and staff, board and committee members, Beacon Hill neighbors, Friends (Quakers!) near and far, and many others. I’ve had the great privilege to work alongside and supervise a total of four fantastic colleagues (Jeff Edenberg, Vickie Wu, Emily Savin, and Jen Newman), along with six Fellows and dozens of other volunteers. Serving in this role has been an amazing opportunity to deepen in community, to learn more from the Quaker tradition, to dream big about the potential of this amazing institution, and to see new initiatives and improvements come to fruition.
BHFH has been through a lot in the past half-decade: Implementing the 2017 Strategic Plan, expanding its public programming to thousands of participants, polishing and boosting its presence in the community and the world, updating many behind-the-scenes administrative systems and processes, maintaining tight focus on operations (such as keeping occupancy as full as possible), completing some physical improvements to the building… and, significantly, navigating the Covid-19 pandemic.
I feel good about my time here, and while I’m not burned out, I do feel tired, and it feels like a good time to transition on and make space for others to step into leadership. My last day in my staff role at BHFH will be Friday April 14. I plan to spend a few months taking a sabbatical, to be more present for my family (including my energetic three-year-old son!) and to seek some spaciousness in which to figure out what to do in the next phase of my career. I’ll be staying in the area, too – living in Cambridge – and I look forward to supporting and being a cheerleader for the Friends House “from the outside.”
Speaking of others stepping into leadership, I’m very excited about the results of the Board’s work over the past couple months to determine the next phase of BHFH’s staffing. For more on that, see below for a message from my dear mentor, friend, and Clerk of the BHFH Board of Managers, Regina McCarthy.
With immense gratitude,
This is Regina McCarthy — Clerk of the BHFH Board of Managers. The Board is thrilled to announce that BHFH has hired a new Executive Director, Jennifer Newman — the current BHFH Program Director. Jen will start in this new role on April 17, when current Executive Director Nils steps down after nearly six years.
We are enthusiastic about Jen’s leadership abilities and vision for the organization, and we value both her ingenuity and the spiritual grounding she will bring to the role. In addition, we are excited about Jen’s depth of experience with Beacon Hill Friends House, having served on the Board from 2017 to 2020, and as the Program Director from 2020 to the present. We look forward to seeing Jen and BHFH flourish together.
We are so thankful for the nearly 6 years Nils Klinkenberg has served as our Executive Director. Nils brought a spirit of organizational creativity to the role, and we’re grateful for his many contributions to BHFH. Under Nils’ leadership the organization has tried new things, significantly expanded its public reach, weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and came out stronger, and professionalized in many ways that have led to its thriving.
BHFH is also entering a time of renewing our organizational priorities. Over the last few years, our organization has thrived — despite the Covid-19 pandemic — with the continued deepening of our residency program, a rising public profile, and new programs and events that have helped us live into our goal of becoming a thriving center for Quaker learning and action.
Now, the BHFH Board has discerned that what our organization needs to continue thriving and be secure for another 66 years includes prioritizing stewardship: of our building, our finances, and of the ways we support and care for our staff and volunteers. I look forward to sharing with you more information about our renewed sense of vision and priorities in the coming months.
I (Regina) will continue in my role as board clerk, and the other members of the Board and I look forward to supporting this organizational transition.
We hope you will join us in welcoming Jen into this new role and in appreciating Nils for his service and contributions.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.