Farewell Letter from Jamie Millard
Bloom: Pollen’s Growth & Executive Director Transition Series—Vol. VII
Dec 8, 2022

By: Jamie Millard

Read more about our Executive Director leadership transition in our Bloom: Pollen’s Growth & Executive Director Transition Series, where we candidly share how we’ve approached our process of executive leadership transition — a process that centers transparency, prevents harm, and is rooted in racial equity.

Dearest Pollenites, 

This is my last note to you as Executive Director of Pollen and I want to capture a glimpse of what is sitting in my heart. I’ve spent the past six months sharing about how Pollen is growing and changing during this leadership transition. But an organization is not separate from the people who comprise it—and so, as Pollen has transformed, so have I. 

After Lars passed the baton to Meg Lionel Murphy and me, we started out on this journey bright-eyed, endlessly ambitious, hungry for a world that believed in the power of human connection, stories, and art to change everything. Ten years later I can look back and say with complete confidence that we rose to the occasion of our dreams. 

However, what quickly unsettled both Meg and me was not the demands of our visions but the human toll from how work is done. We kept running into status quo mindsets, toxic uses of power, and harmful practices. From others, but also sometimes from ourselves. It was all ricocheting around us like the ball inside the pinball machine.

And while this wasn’t a fully conscious decision, it did become fully necessary for us to figure out a more healing, loving, compassionate way to soften the human experience of doing the work. 

Pollen’s mission is centered around human connection. How can we even get close to manifesting this as our outcomes if we ourselves as the implementers of the work are not connected? Connected to our individual lives? Connected to each other as a team? Connected to our community? It is through disconnection that harm thrives. When we forget that we are all interconnected. When we are not allowed to be whole. 


Two yellow and one orange flower surrounding the text: “Compassion is the daily practice of recognizing and accepting our shared humanity so that we treat ourselves and others with loving kindness, and we take action in the face of suffering”

And it was building this work and team culture of compassion, this ability for us to truly see one another and to see our flawed and beautiful humanity, that has made this past ten years most fulfilling and energizing for me. 

These last two years of change management, leadership transition, and transformation would not have been possible without the strength of our compassion. 

It is also the part that is most difficult and heartbreaking to leave. The daily awe that I have experienced working alongside the most caring, talented, creative, and ambitious colleagues, board members, and community of Pollenites has forever changed me. It has set a high bar for how I will treat others and how I will expect to be treated.

So, What’s Next?

Immediately speaking, I’m taking an “extended recharge” (as Lars calls it in our recent chat together). I will be committed to listening to the wisdom of my body. Napping when I am tired, playing when I’m feeling silly. Creating when I’m excited. Doing nothing when I am overwhelmed. I am making space to receive and to be open. To care, connect, and create. And to soak up every ounce of joy and magic from my three children. 

In my future work, you’ll find me attracting opportunities that are in need of transformation. Where I can be a catalyst. Where I can continue to be part of nurturing a compassionate work culture. And no matter what, I know that my work will always be centered on creating connections and meaning.

As I shift from being a steward of Pollen to being a member of Pollen, it is comforting to lean into this fellowship of Pollenites alongside you all. Thank you for holding Pollen during all of our transformations and now for holding me as well.


With love, 

Jamie Millard 

Posted by Pollen Midwest on Dec 8, 2022
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