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AI&F’s Evolving Leadership

AI and Faith is approaching the fifth year anniversary of its launch and four years as a corporation. Three years ago this month we started publishing our monthly digital Newsletter.  Just in the past year, we’ve got a lot to celebrate, including:

  • global publicity about our work in the New York Times last summer
  • our successful reorganization into an expert community with three new ways to participate (Research Fellows, Contributing Fellow/Members, and Advisors), now with over 100 experts in 10 countries and four continents
  • our admission to the Partnership on AI last spring
  • rapidly deepening connections to Faith ERG leaders in major technology companies, and
  • new Advisors who are strongly engaged with their corporation’s ethics processes.

But of all the things I’m most excited about for AI and Faith just now is that we have actively engaged experts leading each of our key Teams – Editorial, Programs, Networks, Communications, plus the connecting leader between our Research Fellows and the Partnership on AI.

Here’s why that fills me with both excitement and anticipation: ever since we started, I’ve been both the chair of the board and AI&F’s de facto executive director.  While I am very proud of the expert community we have brought together, I’ve been very much aware for the past two years that achieving and sustaining the outcomes we seek requires a considerably bigger and dedicated day-to-day leadership team.  I talked about this in the recruiting call in this May News item and celebrated our growing success in this News item in July.

Now, between our new Team Leads and rapidly growing Team members, much of that leadership team is in place.  Over the past few weeks our Team leads – Emily Wenger (Sr. Editor on the Editorial Team), Thomas Arnold (Programs), Ben Olsen and Nicoleta Acatrinei (co-leads Networks), Thomas Osborne (Communications) and Mark Graves (Research Fellows Point for PAI), have begun to hold their own coordinating meetings.  Plus we have a new Treasurer:  Atsuko Tamura, former CEO of Evo Sports and Sr. VP of Marketing and Communications for REI, is succeeding our Treasurer for the past three years, Marsh Kellegrew.  Many thanks to both Marsh and Atsuko for your past and future participation!

This leaves two positions to be filled.

First, there continue to be great opportunities for joining each of our Teams at the Contributing Member (4-6 hours a month) or Contributing Fellow (6-8 hours) level, plus specific expert speciality roles we continue to seek for our Advisor resource pool (e.g., media, anthropology, more Faith ERG leaders, non-Christian faith traditions). Contact and we’ll link you to the Team lead of of the Team or Teams of greatest interest to you for an interview.

Second, we are still seeking a replacement for the role I’ve been playing as a “super-volunteer” program manager/director.  The scope of the role is now considerably reduced by the rise of these Team Leads and populating of our Teams. Indeed, it may well be that the Team Leads will effectively work around this role. But a central figure helping to mesh the work of these Teams, “spark plugging ideas” and facilitating connections, remains a great opportunity for somebody with availability of 15-20 hours a month to try out this role on a volunteer basis. The board is committed to funding a formal position as soon as possible, likely initially on a part time basis.  Right now, though, this remains an opportunity for somebody committed to our “connecting, equipping and encouraging” mission to gain their own terrific perspective on the landscape of faith perspectives on AI afforded by our uniquely broad and global organization, and to help to shape our mission.  Contact if this is of interest and we can provide a further description and qualifications.

This is an especially opportune time to consider this because I’ll be stepping out of this “spark plugging” function beginning September 1 as I accompany my spouse on her much-deserved sabbatical.  Like many of you, I am eager to participate in this dynamic conversation and I’ll look forward to doing that with as many of you as possible, working alongside these terrific new leaders stepping up to guide us forward.

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