In a beautifully poetic note Katherine Bradley, co-founder of the CityBridge Foundation and executive chair of CityBridge Education, announces that Mieka Wick is leaving her position as chief executive officer of the nonprofit organization. The following letter is reprinted with Mrs. Bradley’s permission.
June 28, 2018
Dear CityBridge Colleagues and Friends,
Although the core of my message is not news for most of you, this writing may bring surprise for some. So I thought I would start with the headline: After ten wonderful years as my partner and colleague at CityBridge, Mieka Wick will be departing at the end of June. She leaves us without having fixed a next destination, instead hoping to explore multiple pathways for her future life and professional contribution. Leadership departures are never easy, but this one deserves an unusual moment of gratitude, as the CityBridge team and I thank Mieka for the exceptional decade we have had together. Mieka has been nothing short of a treasure—as a person of deep warmth and compassion, and as a critical leader through the growth and development of CityBridge.
Eleven years ago this summer, I hired Mieka Wick based on one, fateful phone conversation. She was considering a move to Washington with her husband David and her newborn, Annabelle. (Sam Wick arrived a few years later.) It was time for her to be back in her hometown, closer to her family. She had built the donor relations practice area at New Profit in Boston and was looking for some way to continue that special blend of education and philanthropy. I was looking for someone to be my close partner in building what we have come to call our Stewardship Network—a collection of leaders in philanthropy, business, and civic life who, together, could ensure that the education reform platform being built in Washington would remain resilient and strong. I had seen glimmers of similar networks in other cities, and my hunch was that CityBridge could help create the “glue” that would allow Washington, D.C. to avoid the political whiplash plaguing education reform efforts in other cities.
Mieka joined us in September 2007. Together, she and I met with countless local leaders and champions, and our Stewardship Network thrived. In December 2010, I asked her to take on the role of CityBridge executive director, and to my delight and good fortune, she accepted. In January 2017, we launched a new venture, CityBridge Education, entirely focused on the incubation of innovative school models and the redesign of existing schools. Mieka became CEO of that enterprise, which is now finishing a first (successful) full fiscal year as a public charity.
She leaves us now in order to have the time and space to craft a whole new chapter—tethered surely to the non-profit purposes that have animated her career, namely, work that allows children, families, and individuals to thrive. We know that whatever she touches—whichever lucky entity it is she creates or attaches to next—will have the full magic of the Mieka Wick we have all known and loved.
After a decade of close partnership, there are hundreds of moments and images I could turn to, to sum up her unique gifts: moments when I have had the privilege of watching her masterfully present our work to individuals or to large audiences; and many moments of triumph—schools succeeding, programs launched, partnerships formed. Her most profound impact, however, is not in any tally of external achievement, as significant as that success is. Instead, her deepest impact is on all of us, her close-in colleagues at CityBridge and her wider network of stewards and friends. Mieka is an individual of unsurpassed warmth and positive energy, compassion and delight. As with any human endeavor, it is these moments—the friendships, alliances, and loyalties we build—that most endure. And in that sense, Mieka Wick will never really leave us. Sometimes, long after an individual has moved on, a trace of them remains in the air, like the scent of a signature perfume, lingering and distinct. Mieka’s signature—that thing that will linger in the air at CityBridge—is her deep humanity and the care, warmth and affirmation she consistently brought to others. Hers has been a presence of love, and CityBridge has been immeasurably blessed by it.
Although we hope to have news on the appointment of her successor by early in the fall, I will save all of those practical points for future writing. Mieka’s personal email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. I know she will want to stay in touch with the friends and colleagues she has from CityBridge. For today’s writing, however, my purpose is simply to say: Thank you, Mieka Wick.
With best wishes,