The Hamline Midway Coalition is in the process of significant leadership transition. We will be saying goodbye over the next couple of months to the longstanding leadership of Executive Director Michael Jon Olson, and welcoming the new E.D. Kate Mudge as of September 4th. The two have already begun collaborating to ensure a smooth transition, in collaboration with Community Organizer Melissa Cortes and the Board of Directors.
As noted in a fantastic recent article in the Midway Monitor, Kate comes into the position as a neighbor and longtime community activist, working most recently as a leader for Pet Haven. The search committee and Board of Directors noted, in their interview process, that in a rich and robust pool of strong applicants, Kate was exceptional. She is deeply connected across the neighborhood and the broader non-profit community, and was particularly compelling in her articulation of concrete examples of (and larger vision for) organizational stewardship, inclusive community outreach, programming and assessment, and fundraising -- as well as being particularly compelling as a communicator!
In addition, given the challenges faced by the Coalition and the city -- the transformations that have been occurring for us, the strengths and challenges of where we are at as an organization now, and the disruptive but exciting developments occurring across Saint Paul and particularly in the Midway -- Kate’s vision for collaborative leadership was inspiring. She is ready to help advance HMC in its work to be a voice for this amazing, robust community.
It is with deep sadness, though, that we say goodbye to the force that is Michael Jon Olson, who has served for over a decade to shape a strong Coalition that has impacted the neighborhood far and wide. He has been a strong voice for environmental and economic development, has worked closely with Council and City representatives to ensure the needs of the neighborhood are understood by government--and that we, as neighbors, understand our own voice and agency in shaping the Saint Paul we want to live in. Further, Michael Jon has been instrumental in cultivating neighborhood leadership -- not just leading through the Coalition but helping to advance the work of neighbors and activists around initiatives that matter deeply to each and to us all. As we move through the transition, we will open up many opportunities to say hello and to say goodbye, respectively. A formal celebration of Michael Jon’s tenure will happen in later September/early October, and also be on the lookout for announcements about events where Kate will be introduced to the neighborhood.