The Decoder – September 2018

Jacquie Taylor (L) and Margaret Sutherland (R)

On September 1st, I took over as Executive Director (ED) for Decoda Literacy. Before our past director, Jacquie Taylor, handed over the reins, I asked her three questions:

What will you remember most about your time at Decoda?

For me it is all about the people…
• The Decoda staff team and board are all amazing people who are passionate and eager to help others reach their life goals through literacy.
• The joy of the participants in the IPALS programs and the incredible resilience they show as they adapt to their new environment.
• The Literacy Outreach Coordinators and literacy practitioners in every community throughout BC who work so hard to create the conditions and provide the programs that support literacy and learning.
• The staff and Ministers of Education and Advanced Education, Skills and Training for their ongoing support of literacy in BC. Their partnership with Decoda is essential to supporting literacy in BC!
• The volunteers, donors, and sponsors who contribute whatever they are able in order to help give the gift of literacy to others.

What advice do you have for me as the new ED?

Take care of the relationships … they are the foundation for getting everything else done. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake and admit your mistakes when they occur. Trust your instincts … I predict you will be an outstanding ED and I look forward to hearing of Decoda’s success under your leadership!

What is the next chapter for you?

The next chapter is still a bit of a mystery, but I know it will include more time with family and friends, travel to some places we have yet to explore, and figuring out the best way to spend the cherished time that retirement brings. Being open to new opportunities has served me well in my past life and I plan to move forward with this mindset.

I’d like to thank Jacquie for sharing the answers to these questions and for the strength, vision and sound leadership she has brought to Decoda. I have loved working with her and I am grateful knowing she is no more than a phone call away!

Over the past 19 years, I have had the opportunity to do almost every job community-based literacy has to offer and I have enjoyed them all. I look forward to working with the literacy community and our partners, sponsors and funders in my new role.

As we celebrate Literacy Month in BC, I’d like to thank Jacquie for handing me the reins of a provincial literacy organization with a strong staff, a new strategic plan and some exciting opportunities on the horizon.

Margaret Sutherland