Big news from enke CEO, Pip Wheaton

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Dear enke family,

It is with many mixed emotions that I write this letter. I want to let you know that I have put in my resignation as CEO of enke: Make Your Mark.  My last day will be July 31st 2015. I wanted to let you know why I’ve made this decision and what an incredible opportunity it represents for you and for enke.

enke’s come a long way since those first days.  We started in a garage in Durban  – no internet, the occasional snake coming to visit the “office”, just volunteers with a big dream – and, in those first years, had more than one instance of wondering if we were crazy for even trying to make this happen.  But we did it.  And now we’re on track to have our biggest year this year: there are more young people entering the programs than ever before; expanding to Bloemfontein; a bigger, stronger team; more, impactful, youth-led projects are launching and we’re receiving real recognition for the work that we are doing.  We also have big plans for the next phase of our growth.

This is EXACTLY why it’s time for me to leave.  I started enke five and a half years ago (with my two amazing co-founders, Tom and Kat) and I always hoped that there would come a day when enke would be able to survive on its own. In January this year I mapped out our next 3 years and realised that there is a window next year when the organisation has both consolidated its model and is on the cusp of further expansion, which allows for a full handover.  I watched the team and the organisation for 6 months and I realised that they were stronger than they’ve ever been – and that actually, I’m not needed anymore, not in this capacity anyway.  It was an incredibly humbling, difficult, exciting thing to realise.  It’s simultaneously a blow to my pride (perhaps we all secretly want to believe that we’re indispensable), a source of massive joy (the team is so strong they can do this on their own!) and an unleashing of possibility (both for me to go and explore what’s next and for the organisation to have someone with fresh perspective enter this leadership role).

In short, I’m leaving because enke is stronger than it’s ever been and I am so grateful and excited for that.

So, what’s next for enke? We’re going to be looking for a new CEO to lead the organisation. The position description will be posted in September / October and we’ll be asking you to spread the word! We’ll search for as long as it takes to find the right person.  From there, I’ll hand over all of the information, relationships and responsibility to a new person and phase myself out over the remaining period.

The new CEO might be someone you’ve met before (an existing team member, a former volunteer or board member, one of our speakers or panelists), or it might be someone totally new – that decision will be up to our board of directors (with a whole lot of input from the team).  I’ll introduce you to them as soon as I can and if you know of anyone who you would love to suggest, please forward them the application when the time comes.

As I’ve gone through this process, I’ve had a quote from Ruth Reichl that I keep coming back to: “It’s the things that scare you the most that you have to do”.  I’ve been really scared to leave enke – not because I thought the organisation wouldn’t survive without me, but because I didn’t want to let go. And now, over the past 6 months, it’s with true excitement that I have made this decision.

What’s next for me?  Honestly, I have no idea.  Depending on who I’ve been talking to I’ve said maybe I’ll do my MBA somewhere fun, maybe I’ll become a yoga teacher, maybe I’ll move to Melbourne / Madrid / Montreal / Montague.  Or maybe I’ll just stay in Jozi, the city I’ve come to love so much.  Maybe I’ll do all of the above.  I really don’t know and that’s just the point: the closing of this chapter so that a new one can start. What I do know is that enke will always be a part of me and that I hope to be involved in other capacities (in whatever form is needed). For now, the next 12 months is dedicated to finding, installing and supporting the next CEO.

Thank you for your ongoing support to myself, the team, the alumni and enke as an organisation.I’m looking forward to seeing what the next chapter looks like – for enke, for me, for each of you.

Please feel free to get in touch with any questions, I am here for another whole year after all!

– Pip

 

6 Comments

  1. ingrid on 12 August, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Pip 🙂 it was with great interest that I read your letter, I remember quite a few years ago having you and tom and dan at our house for a braai and you explaining your dream…..and then I sent you lots of wonderful st benedict students…I am so excited for you that enke has grown into such a strong organisation and I look forward to following and hearing about what you are going to get up to….well done for a very successful job done and all the very best for the future whatever you find yourself doing x regards ingrid edwards(hillcrest)

  2. Gina Olivieri on 13 August, 2014 at 1:10 am

    Hello Ingrid! How lovely to see your usual supportive presence 🙂 Pip – congratulations and good luck. You’re unreal.

  3. Maves on 13 August, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Oh well i cannot imagine Enke without you Pip,your love and passion for the organisation.I remember meeting you the first time 2 years back,I was one of de facilitators of which i still want to should i be forwarded that opportunity again.Your love for people,especially the kids was amazing,it moved me,it sparkled the desire to love,embrace and to always stretch a helping hand to the next person.

    I wish all the best in your endevours.Looking forward to seeing you in the next chapter.Congrats,Honk,Honk,Honk

    from Maves.

  4. kamogelo masilo on 13 August, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    🙂 wow…..pip is the best and will always be.thank you very much for making an impact in my life…on the 9nth of july 2014 i wouldnt have got to monash university if you ddnt pick me up at braamfontein. i am not sad but more than happy for you…good luck.

  5. Thandoluhle Khumalo on 15 March, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I cannot believe you have left. Congratulations to the new CEO. Although it is strong it will never be the same without you. Your undying passion and patience for change moved me and still moves me today. You are forever in my heart. Whatever you do and wherever you go the grace of God is sure to follow you.

  6. Kirsten Laurencia Arendse on 13 April, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Pip, you are a true inspiration. I hope that one day, should I fulfill my dream of creating sustainable change in some aspect of social justice in SA (or the world), I will have the courage to move on when it is my time. Thanks for everything!

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