Shelley Ambrose, Executive Director of The Walrus, today advised the foundation’s board of directors of her intention to leave the organization a year from now—in June of 2020.
Here is part of Shelley’s letter to Walrus board chair Helen Burstyn:
“Since November 2006, when I joined the then one-year-old Walrus Foundation (the magazine was born in 2003) as executive director and publisher, a lot has changed at The Walrus and in the world. It has been both daunting and exhilarating. I am enormously proud of all we have accomplished and how well positioned The Walrus and its current team are to thrive for the next fifteen years and beyond.
“It’s a good time for this sort of positive and optimistic change. Board leadership is very stable and board succession is well in hand. We have a strong, fully populated management team—including a highly competent executive editor—and a new structure that reflects and responds to the current and anticipated nature of our always volatile business environment.
“The Walrus is as financially strong as it has ever been—especially thanks to The Walrus Trust, and the Optimistic program—which now provide some level of stable, predictable, multiyear funding. The audience for our fact-based journalism has never been bigger and continues to grow. Renewal levels for our legacy print magazine remain a very high 87 percent. The Walrus events are nationwide, well attended, with partners old and new lining up to work with us. Times are good—still hard and still lots to do for ‘twenty-eight people in a basement’—but strong enough that I am confident the existing team (and those that come along in the future) have a solid platform on which to continue to build. I am both proud and, well, ready, to pass the usuaq.
“I will continue to work full on—performing all duties and responsibilities of the executive director—from now until the transition is complete.
“It’s been a wonderful ride. It is nearly impossible to express the gratitude I feel towards all of the board members (present and past), donors, supporters, staff, interns, fellows, writers, editors, artists, talkers, sponsors, advisory council members, ERC members, funders, partners….Canadians…who have supported this optimistic project—and me—for all these years. I know all will share the pride I feel in what we have achieved—and will continue to achieve—together. Thank you.”
Board chair Helen Burstyn, speaking to board members, staff and members of The Walrus Educational Review Committee following the annual general meeting, said: “We’re fortunate to have the time to ensure an orderly transition. We are all very grateful to Shelley for that, and for everything she has done for The Walrus over the past thirteen years. We’re thrilled she will be here for another year.”