By now, most of the organic community has heard the news that Jen Gamble has made a personal and professional development decision and is leaving the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia. As a friend and colleague, I wish Jen all the best in her future. Wherever she lands she will bring a wealth of knowledge, passion and capacity with her.
I wanted to take some time right now though to celebrate the amazing effort and achievements that Jen has seen the organization through. Jen has been with COABC since 2011. When she stepped into the role it was a bit of a tumultuous time at COABC. We were in the middle of a transition to the Canadian Organic Regime (COR) and things were a little bumpy financially. Government funding had been pulled and there were new costs associated with the regime.
There was so much going on and although Jen was new to the job, from where I sat as a non-board member and keen supporter of the organic sector, I saw a young woman navigating challenging waters with poise and grace. Not something just anyone is capable of in our eclectic community.
As Jen continued to work on strengthening the footing on which COABC stood she was able to begin to strategically approach all aspects of the job. She worked on the operations and functionality of the organization and began to develop strong relationships with partners external to the organic sector. This included funding partners and government relationships.
When I stepped into the role of president in 2015, I could tell that Jen was very clear on all aspects of the organization and what its goals were. In my time working with Jen she has continued to surprise me with her resilient nature and strategic mind.
We worked through the transition to mandatory organic labelling together starting in 2015, with the program coming into place September 1, 2018. We are one of the first provinces to manage this and it is in large part thanks to the persistence and planning that Jen brought to the table.
Although the words Annual General Meeting may be one of the things that Jen had the hardest time with, she always showed up with an amazing Annual Report, and ready to answer all the questions board members had for her. I have appreciated her capacity to answer questions succinctly and accurately even under pressure.
Moving forward in 2017, Jen led the charge on an amazing strategic plan that has set the COABC up for short, medium, and long-term success and has created opportunities for partnerships and projects being undertaken as we speak. The list is impressive and includes the iCertify platform that many of you will begin working with this year. When I look at the strategic plan I am happy to say that most of the projects listed are either in progress, completed, or are in conversation much thanks to Jen.
I will be forever grateful for all that Jen has provided to the COABC and want to say thanks so much for everything! All the best in your future full of opportunities.
We are grateful to Jen Gamble for giving us plenty of notice and assisting us through the search for a new Executive Director. Under her leadership, COABC can make this transition smoothly and not lose the momentum we have been building for BC Organics.
The board formed a strong transition committee and conducted a thorough search. Following that process, it was very clear that the best candidate was someone within our own community.
We are delighted to inform you that Eva-Lena Lang will be our new Executive Director! Eva-Lena is very familiar with the COABC. She has filled several roles with us over the years including, most recently, Operations Manager. Jen and Eva-Lena will be working together through January and February, with Eva-Lena taking over the role at the end of February.