A goodbye and a hello

Dear BCU community,

Hello, I’m Jeff! I’m the new interim Executive Director at the Boston Cyclists Union for the next several months. I was lucky enough to be introduced to many of you at Biketoberfest on Tuesday night.

I’m honored, excited, grateful, and, to be honest, a little bit intimidated to be following Becca Wolfson, who has just stepped down after serving as our ED for seven years.

Becca’s leadership has had an immense impact on the BCU and on cycling in Boston. I know we’ll miss her hard work, creativity, expertise, vision, undauntable spirit… and so much more. I’m grateful to know she’s moving on to a job at the MBTA!

I’ll quote our board president, Jessie Partridge, on Becca’s legacy:

Under Becca’s leadership, and in collaboration with our partners, we have passed legislation mandating slower driving speeds, safer duck boats, e-bike rebates and e-bike classification. We initiated an annual budget campaign strategy, with that advocacy leading to tremendous growth in spending by the City of Boston on transportation and bike infrastructure, including exponential growth of the City’s transportation department staff.

The protected bike lane network across Boston and surrounding cities has grown dramatically during Becca’s tenure, and is poised for further rapid growth under plans recently announced by Mayor Wu. Becca deserves significant credit for the fact that we now have protected bike lanes on the Mass Ave and Longfellow Bridges, two former zones of dread for people on bikes.

Through it all, she’s pushed the organization to become more antiracist and our work to lead with equity, prioritizing outreach, trust-building, and advocacy in BIPOC neighborhoods underserved by traditional infrastructure planning, and, together with staff, deepening partnerships with established, community-based organizations. Her combination of leadership qualities and skills–patience, tenacity, creativity, collaborative style, and sense of humor–will remain an enduring example of how to get things done in the advocacy space.

Thank you for all you’ve done, Becca!

I’m reassured to remember that this movement and this organization aren’t just about one person. We’re successful thanks to hundreds of volunteers and thousands of donors, our talented and hardworking staff, countless coalition partners, like-minded allies in city and state government, business sponsors, and a very hardworking board of directors. As we move forward, I’m excited to see new ideas, new leaders, and growing support.

Here’s what I bring to this role: I’ve got years of experience as a nonprofit fundraising and communications consultant, working with organizations as big as Planned Parenthood and as local as Alternatives for Community & Environment. I’m a white person who is committed to doing the work to be anti-racist (and to keep learning every day). I’m a new gravel biker and a longtime brass-band musician in the Honk! scene in Somerville. I love a good spreadsheet and pivot table, I obsess over staff check-in templates, I get a thrill out of finding typos.

Photo from Bos/treal 2021

Since I served as a board member ten years ago, I’ve known that the BCU is a really special organization – one bringing together a wide range of important causes: safe streets for every body, equity in transportation, fighting climate change, and building a low-stress, high-fun city. It’s been a joy to watch the BCU grow, learn, and succeed over the last few years.

During this transitional period, my priorities are to keep us on strong financial footing, and to support and invest in our staff. The board of directors and our staff are already at work on launching a search for a new permanent Executive Director, and we’ll let you know as soon as that’s public – and ask you to help spread the word!

I hope you consider my door open – easiest to contact me at jgang@bostoncyclistsunion.org. I look forward to hearing from you, and you can be sure I’ll be in touch over the months to come. (Thank you in advance!)