The end of the season is always a time of reflection at Town Hall. It’s unsurprising that the 2021-22 season has had its challenges and uncertainties, but times like these can also feel inspiring — that’s the story of this year, too. We learned firsthand that Town Hall remains essential, especially to the members and volunteers who have eagerly returned each time we (re-)opened our doors. Over and over, people have shown their affection for Town Hall by returning to rebuild the community that we have created here.
And so — from my place here in the very middle of the road, as I consider where we’ve been and where we’re headed, inspiration and gratitude as far as I can see — I’m writing to announce my departure from Town Hall Seattle at the end of 2022.
My time at Town Hall (over 17 years!) has been the gift of a lifetime, and I am deeply proud of our accomplishments. Our audience has grown steadily over the past several years, and we’ve welcomed over 100,000 patrons annually for a broad, diverse calendar that embraces an impossible range of issues and ideas. We kept our tickets and rental rates affordable and supported other nonprofits with skilled production and promotional services. We completed an ambitious $35.5 million renovation of our building, spending almost two seasons Inside/Out in dozens of venues and neighborhoods across our region.
But I am most proud of what Town Hall has modeled for our city, and for each other. Town Hall is a place devoted to the pursuit of equity; it’s a place to investigate ideas and share new experiences, where differing and unexpected perspectives are not just tolerated but celebrated; and it is a place of curiosity, creativity, and empathy. Above all, I’m proud of how we model the simple act of showing up with and for each other — learning, tangling with new ideas, and sitting side by side with strangers, neighbors, and friends.
I don’t know anywhere else quite like Town Hall — and believe me, I’ve looked. We have created something entirely unique to Seattle and I am overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to shape this place in real time with each of you — as members, donors, patrons, renters, presenters, and community partners. This has been a joyful experiment in the idea of creating a welcoming community — and YOU have made this work beyond joyful.
I get the platform of writing a note like this, but YOU are the reason for all the good we have done over Town Hall’s 23 years, and you will continue to be the reason for the community we build here in the decades to come. I trust that this place will continue to be the vessel for the experience of community that we all need so much right now. Our role is simple and profound: to remind us that some things must be experienced together, and that “coming together” is often its own reward.
And that’s the core of my gratitude — I don’t know how another job could have possibly offered me so much energy and purpose. I am humbled to have been entrusted with leading Town Hall, and I’m excited to welcome our next leader alongside you all. My family and I are staying in Seattle; my children grew up here — as in, at this building, at our events — so I’m thrilled by the prospect of joining you in the pews as an enthusiastic member and passionate advocate (my predecessor, founder David Brewster, has modeled that for me).
Thank you for being my friends, collaborators, and co-conspirators on the road behind us, and thank you for being my inspiration on the road ahead.
P.S. We’ll have more to share about our transition timeline and the new Executive Director search process at the end of June. In the meantime, please direct any questions to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.