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NCDD’s Leadership is Evolving!

Hi, everyone! With our national conference in Boston just days away, I am excited to announce some important changes that are happening within NCDD.

Our conference is taking place just weeks before one of the most polarizing elections our country has ever experienced, and our intention is to lift up the many untold and under-told stories about how members of this community have bridged the divides that seem insurmountable to so many right now. No matter the outcome of the election, our community will be needed more than ever — and NCDD will be here to help keep this community connected, informed, and equipped.


Courtney Breese (left) and Sandy Heierbacher

In order to best serve our members and our own needs, and to meet these emerging opportunities and challenges, we are shifting to a new leadership model. Program Director Courtney Breese is stepping up to Managing Director, and will be taking over our day-to-day operations. I will become Founding Director which will free me up to focus more on what I truly love — supporting and nurturing our network.

This shift in NCDD’s leadership is part of a broader evolution that the organization is experiencing. Four of our current Board members — Barbara Simonetti, Marla Crockett, John Backman and Diane Miller — are nearing the end of their terms, and we are about to welcome some wonderful new Board members into the fold: Jacob Hess, Betty Knighton, Simone Talma Flowers and Wendy Willis, who will be joining Martin Carcasson and Susan Stuart Clark. In the coming year, we’ll focus more on strategic planning and fundraising in order to enhance our service to you and this wonderful community, which has grown from a group of 50 founding organizations in 2002 to a vibrant network of 2,300 members and 38,000 subscribers in 2016.

On a personal note, Courtney and I have worked closely for years both in her roles as a member of the Board and then as Program Director. I don’t know of a more calm, competent person, and have nothing but faith in Courtney. My own passion lies in creating networks and building supportive, collaborative communities, and after 14 years directing NCDD, I am drawn to new possibilities for how I can help build and strengthen others’ work. You are some of the most creative, intelligent and good-hearted people I’ve ever met, and I look forward to working with you, our wonderful staff, our Board, and other contributors in this new role.

I’m excited about what lies ahead — both for me and the network. Our community has become ever more active and responsive to each other, generously sharing their experiences and know-how over multiple platforms and forming many dozens — if not hundreds — of partnerships over the years. Our website will continue to provide a clearinghouse of thousands of resources and news items.

Courtney, our Board, and I intend to work together to see NCDD continue to grow and thrive so this field can have a greater and greater impact on the world.


Sandy Heierbacher, Founding Director, on behalf of
Courtney Breese, Managing Director and the NCDD Board

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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