We are excited to announce that, as of January 1, 2024, we are now the co-owners of Informing Change! This ownership transition has been in the works for several years and allows us, as the Leadership Team, to assume full financial responsibility for the company, bearing both the benefits and risks of its successes and challenges.
We extend our deepest thanks and gratitude to Don Irie, the outgoing owner who supported us for five years following the passing of Ellen Irie, Informing Change’s former owner and CEO, and through the COVID-19 pandemic. During these past five years, we have shifted the company’s direction to a more explicit strategic learning approach and intentionally increased the emphasis of our work on equity, participatory approaches, and support for complex systems change efforts. We are so appreciative of how Don entrusted us to lead the company on a day-to-day basis through uncertain times and allowed us to evolve without restraint. We also extend our gratitude to Julia Ritchie and Ria Sengupta Bhatt for their guidance and support as Governing Board members.
While our titles and responsibilities are evolving, nothing is changing about how the company operates. For over 25 years, Informing Change has built a strong reputation as a values-based company committed to continuous learning and growth. With this new shared ownership arrangement in place, we are embracing our next chapter and enthusiastic about moving the company forward together.
Michael Arnold, Partner & Co-Executive Director
Gail Camacho, Partner & Chief Operating Officer
AnnJanette Rosga, Partner & Co-Executive Director
[In addition to their joint announcement above, Michael, Gail, and Anjie were asked to offer expanded thoughts about becoming co-owners below.]
1. How do you feel about being a co-owner?
- Michael: After five years of co-leading this company with Anjie and Gail, this transition to ownership is a natural next step and a source of profound gratitude. First and foremost, gratitude to my fantastic partners in this endeavor. I’m excited for us to realize our commitments to each other, our team and clients, and the company. It hasn’t been an easy road to this place, and while more challenges are sure to arise over time, I feel blessed to be able to continue leading the company in an even more solid position with two partners who have demonstrated the openness, love, and integrity we needed to reach this point. I am grateful for current, past, and future team members who have been collaborative and instrumental in shaping who we are and will further evolve to be. Ownership is not just about control and responsibility, but trust. Trust can be challenging to build, and I am grateful for all the trust team members have shown us in the past, and the ways they have and continue to hold us accountable for deepening our capacities to be trustworthy and build trust among each other. Grateful to Don Irie for showing his trust and faith in us in ways that helped us lead, expand, and deepen the ways equity shows up in what we do and who we are. Gail, Anjie, and I follow in the steps of leaders before us—Jill Blair, Fay Twersky, Paul Wisotzky, and Ellen Irie. I am grateful for their examples of leadership and steering the company through several changes to be a dynamic and responsive agency meeting the important issues of the moment. I draw on this well of gratitude to guide my own commitment to filling this new responsibility of ownership and the continued role of our company leadership.
- Gail: Grateful. I am immensely grateful to be on this journey with Michael and Anjie. We went through a lot to get here. Through that process, we learned how to lead together and were strengthened by our shared commitment to this company, our staff, and our community. I am grateful for the support of Don Irie and the trust of our team members (past and present) to lead Informing Change in its next chapter. For me personally, to be with the company for 15 years as an employee and now as a co-owner, I’m filled with excitement and hope for what’s to come. I can feel Ellen cheering for us.
- Anjie: It’s fantastic to have it settled, as it represents a lovely solidification of the partnership between Michael, Gail, and me. We’ve come to know one another in a host of new, rich ways through many tumultuous and, at times, very challenging years. I so appreciate them as individuals, as colleagues, and as co-leaders of the company, and I continue learning from them both, which I love. The differences between being co-leaders and co-owners honestly don’t feel that marked. Even if not legally responsible for the company’s capital O-ownership, we’ve born the collective responsibility for running the company for a long time now.
2. What are you looking forward to for the company’s future?
- Michael: Ancestors, elders, and kin—biological or not—are a key reason I can write about my joy in moving the company forward into the future. As they have fostered in me a love for my Black, queer, and class identities they have highlighted the importance of love, liberation, inclusion, and authenticity. Anjie, Gail, and I have been integrating these truths into the company directions—internally and externally. I look forward to continuing this as a co-owner, making positive contributions to the arc of the moral universe. I look forward to seeing the ways we will continue to bring our stellar team’s diversity to challenging issues and promising solutions that can shift systems for those most often denied the benefits of our collective abundance. I look forward to a vibrant future for our company and sustaining a transparent, inclusive, and courageous environment for everyone who works in and with Informing Change. As ever, the future begins today, and I look forward to being a part of where Informing Change will go.
- Gail: I want to continue building a company with Michael and Anjie that is healthy and thriving. I want to continue providing our staff members with learning opportunities to grow their skills and expertise. I’m looking forward to seeing our company culture evolve as we continue in a shared leadership model. I’m excited for us to continue partnering with Black and Brown entrepreneurs to provide our clients with diverse perspectives. I’m most looking forward to supporting communities and their leaders to bring about change. We are creating a legacy for us and our staff that is rooted in our values and vision to create positive social impact. I am so proud to be in service of this company.
- Anjie: I’m excited by the ways our team has been able to shape the company’s identity, values, staffing, and choice of clients and projects, so I look forward to continuing that adventure. But Informing Change has never been a stagnant place – it’s always transmogrifying. With each new team member and every passing year, we discover new facets of our own capacities, interests, clients, and each other. It also feels like we become more and differently “ourselves” with every new project. Increasingly our clients unapologetically embrace equity, even as the ways they do so vary widely across their organizations. We’ve seen new models of nonprofit leadership, new forms of community engagement and collaboration, more approaches to philanthropy, and a greater willingness to have tough conversations within. It’s very cool that so many are returning clients too – getting to see their work evolve, just as ours does, never gets old.