In many ways, writing “PEPY Friends” is redundant for me. For the past five years, nearly all of my friends have been made through PEPY, and I would consider all of those who have worked with our team, contributed to our programs, or joined our trips to be my friends… even some of you who I’ve never met! In all of the ways that count, the PEPY community in Chanleas Dai, in Siem Reap, and abroad has become my family.
On June 30th, I’ll be officially resigning as Managing Director, a position I’ve held for the past three years. In that time I’ve had the privilege of living at Chez PEPY with 51 of you, working with more than 100 Cambodian and foreign friends, and meeting nearly all of the 500 tour participants who have joined us since 2005. Much more significant than any of those numbers, I’ve been inspired on a daily basis by the team of thoughtful, bright, and passionate people that PEPY attracts.
As many of you know, I made the difficult choice to leave my role at PEPY a year ago, when I realized that finishing my PhD was something that would require more dedicated time than I’d be able to manage while continuing in this position. For both PEPY and for me, I know that this is going to be a positive step forward. I’ll be handing over parts of my role to Adam Kronk, our new Chief Operating Officer, and others to our Cambodia staff. Adam will be working closely with Daniela, who will remain as Executive Director, and a yet-to-be-hired Khmer Country Director. Jacqueline Kronk has joined our team as well as our “Chief Connector”, managing our Siem Reap office and connecting with donors, sponsors, and PEPY’s voices out to the world. We’ve also recently hired or promoted several Cambodian staff to take over stronger program roles working in our PSDP, Classroom Library, and Community Programs as well as HR. In many ways, seeing the changes already taking place as we move forward with this new management team has made me even more reluctant to leave. Our team is stronger than ever, with a renewed motivation, passion, curiosity, and sense of potential that is re-inspiring for me as well.
It’s challenging for me to step back and think about moving into a life where PEPY doesn’t play a central role, though in many ways I expect that it still will, just in a different way. Instead of being a PEPY employee, I’ll move back to where I started— a Board Member and invested supporter. Like with family, my PEPY ties are binding, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
As we move through this transition I wanted to send a thank you to all of you who I’ve crossed paths with along the way. The sense of purpose, community, self-criticism, and passion that every one of you has contributed has left a mark on our organization and on me. The ways that PEPY has shifted my ideas, passions, actions…. my whole life really, are beyond words. Thank you for being a part of that.