Walk SF Executive Director Moves to Oakland Department of Transportation

Posted Wednesday February 15, 2017 by Natalie

Walk SF Executive Director Moves to Oakland Department of Transportation

In April, Walk San Francisco’s Executive Director, Nicole Ferrara, will be leaving her post to take on a position with the City of Oakland’s new Department of Transportation to lead its pedestrian safety efforts.

Over nearly four years, she has lead an organization that began with two people and has grown it to an eight-person powerhouse. Walk SF’s influence on policy decisions, which directly impact every San Franciscan’s health and well-being, are the result of:

  • A team of hard-working, talented, mission-driven staff eager to have a positive impact on the world
  • An incredibly dedicated, do-what-it-takes Board of Directors, who has grown in tremendous ways to support the evolving needs of the organization
  • Walk SF members, who continue to help shape policy positions, back-up advocacy with their pens and voices, and support the organization’s work financially
  • Strong community partners, working collectively to reach shared goals, including those in the Vision Zero Coalition, Senior and Disability Work Group, Transportation Justice Coalition, and the courageous members of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets
  • Supportive funders, who believe in the work of Walk SF and the changes that have been won at the local level and beyond
  • Countless City leaders and staff, who care deeply about Vision Zero and Safe Routes to School, and finding solutions to make San Francisco more walkable

Nicole’s decision to leave an organization with such a committed, accomplished, cohesive staff dedicated to improving the lives of San Franciscans today, and for generations to come, wasn’t easy. But, because of the shared leadership model Walk SF fosters, both within the organization and throughout the city, the momentum behind a movement grounded in sustainability, equity and justice will not be deterred by her departure. In fact, Nicole’s transition to Oakland DOT will make the movement stronger as Bay Area cities collaborate to change a deadly culture on city streets.

In Oakland, where Mayor Schaaf, the City Council, and the new Oakland DOT have made impressive progress in a short time and have laid out an ambitious strategic plan for the Oakland DOT, Nicole is excited to learn how to move the needle from inside city government, and to integrate many of the lessons she’s learned from her work in San Francisco to bring this model to community members, city staff, and leaders in the City of Oakland.

Nicole shares, “If there’s one thing I’ve learned at Walk SF, it’s that most people fear change, moving a parking space from a street corner to make crossings safer, or a new piece of infrastructure borrowed from the Dutch (like Woonerven!). But as I’ve also learned, change opens the door for growth and improvement.”

“The Walk SF Board of Directors and I are working hard to ensure that this change happens successfully by developing a comprehensive transition plan, documenting processes to pass on to my successor, and embarking on the search for a fantastic next leader who will take Walk SF to new heights.”

And you can help too:

  1. If you’re not yet a member, support Walk SF’s important work — join today.
  2. Connect us to leaders who you believe could be the next great Executive Director! Walk SF is looking for someone who can take this vivacious, effective organization to the next level; an experienced leader and manager who will support staff growth and continue the organization’s culture of collaboration. Share the job posting.
  3. Third, help get more people moving on the best morning of the year! Join Nicole on April 6th for Walk to Work Day.

Nicole’s last day at Walk SF will be Friday, April 14, but she will continue to be an active member, volunteer, collaborator, and cheerleader of Walk SF!

Join Walk SF and the Board in wishing her every success in her new endeavors and in thanking her for her service!