‘Tis the Season of Leadership Changes

Dear Community,

I trust this email finds you in abundance. Since this pandemic started, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the warmth of some of your faces in this Zoom-fatigued world. The pandemic era has taught me it’s not easy navigating the waters of nonprofit ED life and that there’s beauty in transitions; a constant theme echoed throughout multiple spaces we all live in.

In the spirit of transitions, I’m happy to share the important announcement that I’ve officially resigned from my role as founding executive director of The SEAD Project. My last day as an employee at SEAD will be December 30th, 2021. After that, I plan to continue volunteering my time wherever I’m needed and is most meaningful.

My resignation letter has been sitting in draft for more than a year and I’m finally ready to let the seeds I’ve planted flourish on its own (puns galore, I can’t help it). After founding SEAD almost 10 years ago, it’s been one of the most pivotal and beautiful endeavors I’ve ever taken on. I had an exploratory idea to grow possibilities for Southeast Asians to pay attention to their cultural power and creative thinking, and it’s now a small and thriving organization. We’ve served thousands through our creative programming and continue to make a momentous impact through our community-based storytelling, leadership development, heritage language workshops, cultural arts events, pandemic rapid response resources, and issue-based campaigns. It’s the stories, cultures, narratives, and histories that give us life and remind us of the future we deserve.

I’m excited to also share that we’ve moved into a co director leadership model, in order to make this transition more sustainable, spacious, and intentional for our next generation of Southeast Asian leaders to pave the way. Our board is currently in the search process for our co directors and we welcome community members to be involved in making sure we find the right people to tend to our SEAD ecosystem.

I extend the deepest gratitude to my board, team, champions, colleagues, friends, and family for being there for me with unconditional support, love, and grace during the most wonderful and challenging times. Your hundreds of thank you notes over the years give me strength. I will be focusing on what matters most to me right now, which is my family and my rest. I don’t know what my next chapter will be but it will look like a future filled with hearing more of my children’s laughter, finishing a screenplay for a future Netflix show near you, napping along any healing body of water, and catching up with loved ones over a hefty cup of iced coffee in Laos.

Change is necessary for the just world we’re all striving for and I hope you continue to deepen your support for our incredibly talented team and be involved in this new chapter for SEAD. Until then, I’ll see you in the virtual streets. A million ຂອບ​ໃຈ thank yous for being on this journey with me.

In love + hope,

Chanida Phaengdara Potter

Founding Director