By Bill Hartzell, President, Coho/US
I have the first verse of Cat Steven's "Peace Train" swirling in my noggin. "Now I've been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come. And I believe it could be, something good has begun." The tune is in my head because Coho/US has gotten off to an excellent start this year. In the last few months you may have read or heard about our efforts in bits and pieces. If I may briefly share our recent key accomplishments with you, I believe you will understand why I am feeling happy.
We have a new executive director. Having a tremendous amount of nonprofit management experience, Alice Alexander has hit the ground running. She has been on the job for only two months, but even in that short time her contributions to the association have been significant. Neil Planchon has recently joined us as our Ads Manager and Marketing Director. Communication Guru is probably a better title because Neil is a talented fellow who brings to us not only his many years of cohousing experience, but a set of skills that will help us to improve and expand our ability to communicate with you, and you with us.
Coho/US is now using a new system to manage our email messaging. What does this mean for you? It means we can guarantee that you will be consistently receiving the specific mailings you requested from us, such as Cohousing Now!. The new system will also make it much easier for us to assist with your community's outreach efforts by creating regional or national mailings that meet your needs. Examples that come to my mind include announcing meetings of a forming group, notices of a home for sale within an existing community, or invitations to community events.
What really has me smiling is our new website. Coho/US Technology Director Catya Belfer has done a tremendous job leading her volunteer technology team in the construction of an entirely new website. Please take a look at the new site, and let us know what you think. With your feedback, we will continue to fine-tune the website to better meet your needs. Already though, the new website makes it much easier to find the information and tools necessary to create the next cohousing communities; the resources to help those already in community to thrive; and I believe most importantly of all - provide a place for those in the movement to connect and network.
Last (for now) and definitely not the least, our planning for the 2015 National Cohousing Conference in Durham, NC is underway. The date, place, and theme have been confirmed. Our conference committee is presently developing programming, lining up speakers, and identifying sponsors. We will keep you updated as the conference details develop, but already the conference is sounding like it is going to be quite the event.
Hopefully, you now understand why I have "Peace Train" in my head. Good things have definitely begun, and I am thinking about the good things to come.