It's official: Karen Kleven (Development Director) and Susan Payne (Operations Director) are retiring! A couple of years ago, they both told us they wanted to retire at 70 and make room for new adventures. We have been planning for this big transition over time and built it into our 2020 Vision and Business Plan. With strategic staffing and an accomplished team, Karen and Susan will assist with training their successors for a smooth transition in these important leadership positions.

Susan: "We're not perfect, but we're awesome"

Susan joined FRLT in 2002 and has helped shape the organization's growth from a circle of volunteers and a couple of part-time staff to a sustainable, nationally accredited land trust that has helped conserve over 47,000 acres of land.  She laughs and says, "It's changed a little since back then! My job looks very different now from then. Back then I did a little of everything--fund development, building fence, hosting events, and fixing things. We have a great group that does that now!"
Susan Payne at FRLT office
Susan loves many things about this work:
  • What we've accomplished in our 18 years. We started out slow, and it's amazing what we're doing and accomplishing working with willing landowners. We have worked with these folks and protected beautiful ranch lands throughout Plumas and Sierra Counties.
  • I love the team we've created. It's one of the best teams I've ever worked with in a very long career.
  • Our supporters are absolutely amazing. There are people I met in 2002 that are still supporting the land trust. I love that they still believe in us. Because of these folks--and new people too--we'll be sustainable. 
  • I've even enjoyed our growing pains, because everyone is learning from them. We take them, learn from them, and make the organization better.

Is there a hope you have for FRLT? I hope for nothing but the best. I want the work to continue. I plan to volunteer and do whatever I can to keep things going. I'm going to miss it, but like I said, you can't get rid of me either!

What gives you hope that it will? The people. The staff, board, donors--all of them. This is an awesome organization. We're not perfect, but we're awesome. We're always learning. That's one of our strengths.

Karen: "FRLT donors are the nicest people in the world"

Karen Kleven near a mountain

Karen joined FRLT in 2008, and the last 10 years has led the growth of our fundraising, communications, and membership programs.

Karen loves many things about her job: 

  • Setting big goals and seeing how we can meet them -- like raising the money to conserve the Olsen Barn in Chester or the million-dollar 2020 Vision Fund.
  • Working with a great team who really listen to one another, care about this work, and love to laugh.
  • Making a positive impact with money raised to protect lands that are loved by local communities and that support biodiversity.
  • Most of all, conserving nature for all people, and for future generations.

While Karen spends plenty of time in the office strategizing and implementing plans to meet big fundraising goals, she cherishes the meaningful time spent with YOU, our wonderful members. Whether over a cup of tea or out in nature kayaking the wetlands, Karen has forged important connections with the people who make FRLT the successful organization it is today:

One of my favorite things is the relationships I've been able to make with our members. Conservation donors are some of the nicest people in the world. They share my values and interests. They are just really special people.

Thursday, September 6, 2018