Sustainable Northwest seeks successor for Martin Goebel
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Martin Goebel, founder and president of Sustainable Northwest, is ready to hire a successor.
Sustainable Northwest, a nonprofit focused on rural sustainability, is hiring an executive director to serve as a successor to Martin Goebel, the organization's founder and president.
"Now it is time for the founder to turn the ship over to someone who can take it to the next level, marking the transition from founder to a next-gen leader and avoiding thereby anything remotely akin to 'founder's syndrome,'" Goebel wrote in an email "Our board, staff, partners and supporters are all very engaged in this process, as they should be. And, we are all excited about what is to come."
Portland-based Sustainable Northwest was founded in 1994 and has been an active player in issues including forest stewardship and the historic water accord in the Klamath Basin, which was signed in 2010. Also in 2010, Sustainable Northwest spun off the for-profit Sustainable Northwest Wood, a business designed to connect green builders with responsibly harvested wood.
According to the organization's 990 form filed with the Internal Revenue Service, Sustainable Northwest closed out its 2012 fiscal year with $1.2 million in assets, up from $1 million in 2011.
Goebel said his role with Sustainable Northwest would change after the hiring of a new executive director (see job posting), but that he expects to stay involved in some capacity.
News of a leadership transition follows another that took place two months ago at Ecotrust, another sustainability-focused Portland nonprofit. Spencer Beebe, Ecotrust's founder, handed over day-to-day operations last December to Astrid Scholz.
Beebe and Goebel mixed it up in the pages of Sustainable Business Oregon in 2011 with a lively debate on whether or not the word "sustainability" is still worth using. Beebe said it was time to ditch it, while Goebel argued the term is eternally meaningful.
In November 2010, Sustainable Northwest was recognized by Sustainable Business Oregon with a nonprofit innovation award.
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