We are committed to imagining possibility in an impossible time during incredibly challenging circumstances. We have chosen to take on the climate crisis and a culture of an extractive economy that has created systems of harm, power, and oppression — and we are leading with transformation and alternate path rooted in abundance.  

To this end, we welcome to two new members to the leadership team. Toby Thompkins has joined us as our Interim Chief of Staff. The interim COS will work with the Executive Team, Leadership Team, and our full programmatic and Operations teams to create a comprehensive plan that will move our initiatives, projects, and goals towards Taproot Earth’s strategy. Over the last 20 years, Toby has worked at the Tides Foundation, 21st Century Fund, and supported many grassroots, racial justice, LGBTQIA+, and equity organizations – particularly managing transitions, renewals, and reorganizations.

Michelle Mascarenhas has joined us as our Senior Fellow for Movement Alignment. Michelle was most recently the National Director of Campaigns at the Sierra Club and before her time at SC, Michelle helped co-found Movement Generation. Michelle has helped build the just transition framework. Michelle will be focused mostly on external partnerships and alignment building.

We also welcome two additions to the communications team, Zanetta Rose Jones and Annika London. Zanetta Jones will be supporting Taproot’s domestic and Puerto Rico-based work. She has worked on campaigns whose missions include racial equity, housing and environmental justice, reproductive justice, voting rights and solidarity economy principles. Annika London will be supporting content development around Taproot’s global programs. She got her start in community work as a student activist in Indianapolis. Annika has led digital campaigns to advance a more progressive U.S. foreign policy that centers human rights, justice, and healing. 

We also have a number of title shifts, as Taproot leans into its strategic vision and orientation for the next seven years. You can read about these transitions on our team page.

We also want to share an important transition. Mana Tahaie stepped down as Managing Partner on August 15. Mana helped sunset the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy (GCCLP) , co-created the foundations of Taproot Earth, brought a level of rigor and analysis to make our team stronger, and set the organization on a path to build a team culture that embraces abundance and love. We honor and appreciate Mana’s brilliance, as she continues to support the movement.

Over a year ago, we tasked ourselves with seven years to make significant shifts – in doing so we acknowledged we are trying the impossible. As with everything that Taproot Earth does, we tried to do this through experimentation. We experimented with a tri-leadership model. And with this work we moved with intentionality. We practiced a deep commitment to each other, led with abundance and love, and leaned into hope and trust. 

Yet, like the cycles of the seasons, we also must consistently assess and acknowledge our challenges, understand where alignment exists or does not, heed hard lessons, and see where we can grow. With grace, clarity, and kindness, we listened and assessed our current realities and possibilities.

We exist to take risks, and while all partners remain committed to the vision we have all created, we have agreed that our tri-leadership configuration has achieved incredible feats but no longer serves the organization as it grows forward into the next seven years.

Taproot Earth continues to move forward with our commitment to deep accountability to our community partners, with boldness and clarity, and with a vision that we will all find each other in the places we love so that we can live, rest, and thrive.