Island Grown embraces co-leadership model

Michelle Gittlen, left, and Noli Taylor will be co-directors of IGI. —Courtesy Island Grown Initiative

Two top Island Grown Initiative administrators, Noli Taylor and Michelle Gittlen, will assume co-directorship roles in the organization as longtime executive director Rebecca Haag retires.

According to a press release from Island Grown, the board that heads the food equity nonprofit appointed Taylor as executive director of programs and outreach, and Gittlen as executive director of operations. Formerly, Taylor served as IGI’s senior director of programs, and Gittlen served as managing director.

IGI board chair Gail Arnold said in the release that the two women chosen for the new co-directorship bring both passion and experience to the table, along with “a depth of experience in nonprofit management, as well as complementary skill sets that will strengthen our work to serve our community through the power of food.” Arnold thanked Haag on behalf of the board for all the foundational work she did for the nonprofit, and said the leadership change is promising.

Taylor joined IGI in 2006, and has worked in several capacities to launch new volunteer efforts, along with spearheading many essential programs that Islanders rely on, such as Island Grown Schools, the IGI gleaning program, the mobile farmer’s market, and the M.V. Community Seed Library. In her new role, Taylor will continue to forge new connections with local partners, strengthen existing partnerships, and bolster IGI programming.

“Being part of IGI is the work of my life, and I feel very honored to get to help lead our wonderful staff and our programs into the next phase,” Taylor said in the release. 

Gittlen joined IGI last year as managing director, and with her diverse background in law and nonprofit management, was able to assist in several key initiatives. “This past year, working with IGI has been an invaluable opportunity … I have worked on several key initiatives, and met the fantastic team that makes IGI what it is,” Gittlen says in the release. In her new role, Gittlen will manage the organization’s day-to-day business operations, including overseeing development, finance, and human resources.