I wanted to update you with some exciting news about NEON’s executive directors.
After a decade of leadership, our co-founder Daniel Vockins will be stepping down in spring of next year. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Daniel for his kind, ambitious and dedicated leadership. His vision and ability to guide both the organisation’s work and its people has led us to where we are today as a key anchor of the New Economy movement.
Daniel has constantly pushed and challenged our thinking, making sure we’re building power for the long-term and responding to what’s needed now. Just a few examples include designing our early campaigning courses that trained up some of the sector's best leaders, bringing over the Spokesperson Network from the USA, and incubating and coaching dozens of new groups and campaigns in the network, like Just Treatment. He leaves us with an excellent team and strong funding base.
"Leading NEON has been the honour of a lifetime. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved together. We’ve worked hard to help build real power - new leaders, spokespeople, narratives that recast the common sense, investing in movement groups, more aligned funding and shared strategies.
I also know that now is the right time to hand over the mantle - we’ve got an incredible team leading our work and part of my job as a founder is also to know when to step back to give space for new leadership. There’s so many people I want to thank, not least my co-founder Charlotte Millar and so much I want to learn from but I’ll do that next year when I formally step down.
I look forward to sharing more about my next role soon — I’ll be working on strategies to strengthen new economic infrastructure internationally. God knows we need it.”
- Daniel Vockins co-founder and outgoing Exec Director: Strategy and Fundraising
The second piece of news is that I’m delighted to announce that Ayeisha Thomas-Smith will be taking over as Exec Director: Strategy and Fundraising upon her return from sabbatical in late April 2023. Ayeisha will be joining our second Exec Director: Organisational Development Rachel Diamond-Hunter who has led excellent work across the team on developing NEON’s culture and ways of working, including implementing a 28-hour week, a radical parenting policy, and other work that underpins NEON.
Ayeisha has been with NEON for six years and during that time has done a brilliant job including through building out NEON’s movement building work, anti-oppression strategy, and has increasingly been central to NEON’s strategy and delivery, including acting up into this role over the last six months whilst Daniel has been on sabbatical.
“I’m overjoyed to be taking the reins as Exec Director: Strategy and Fundraising at NEON as of April 2023. Over the past 6 years I have had the privilege of working alongside the NEON team and wider community to support the fight for economic, social and environmental justice - a fight that has never seemed more timely or more urgent. Over this period, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to do this work well, as well as being regularly reminded of just how much I/we have yet to learn!
As an organisation, NEON is far from perfect (nor will we ever be!), but I believe in the power of the work that we do, and the continued value that NEON can offer to the UK social movement landscape. The first step on my journey into leadership will be working closely with the team and wider community to evaluate what has and hasn’t worked in the past, as well as figure out our new organisational strategy, and how we can best position ourselves to be of use to all of you. For now, I’m looking forward to 6 months of reading, rest and ridiculous trash TV. See you all on the other side! :) ”
- Ayeisha Thomas-Smith incoming Exec Director: Strategy and Fundraising
There’s more to say and share but we’ll save that for April next year when the handover takes place. It’s a pleasure to chair an organisation that has such a mature and healthy approach to leadership. I look forward to seeing NEON go from strength to strength under Ayeisha and Rachel’s leadership.
Vic Langer - Chair of the NEON Board