Our Executive Director announces her departure

“I’ve come to my decision with great serenity and calm knowing that ILGA-Europe is in such a solid and healthy position and that everything is in place for the leadership transition to be done smoothly,” says Evelyne Paradis as she announces her decision to step down from her role at ILGA-Europe after 13 years.

Sustainability and a sense of stability are very important for any organisation. But I’ve always believed that renewal is just as important. And so, for many years now, there’s been that question in my head about the right timing to move on. It feels that after being a staff member in ILGA-Europe for 18 years and the Executive Director for 13, we’ve come to that point.

It is time for me to step down as Executive Director of this truly unique organisation that is ILGA-Europe, and to create space for someone new to come in.

I’ve come to my decision with great serenity and calm knowing that ILGA-Europe is in such a solid and healthy position and that everything is in place for the leadership transition to be done smoothly. It has an incredible team of professional and committed staff, a very engaged board, a consolidated financial footing, and despite the upheavals of our world, lots of clarity about what we’re about and what we can contribute.

The way in which I leave matters as much to me as how I have been doing the job. I care so deeply about ILGA-Europe, about all our staff, our board, our members and the work we do together, and I know that a leadership transition is a significant change.

This is why, alongside the board, I am working to ensure the process is as smooth as possible and that this change truly is an opportunity for the organisation. We have embarked on a process where we are allowing as much time and space needed for the transition to be a positive one for everyone involved, and especially for the ILGA-Europe team and board.

This is why I’m announcing my decision now, but I will be formally stepping down from my role at the end of September this year. I’ll be staying on in a different form to support the organisation for a few months afterwards, in whatever way I’m needed.

On a more personal level, my decision has also been about recognising that being the Executive Director of ILGA-Europe takes its toll and I need my own renewal. I know the level of personal dedication, energy and thinking it takes to do this job, and I realise I can’t continue to do that much longer.

For now, my only plans will be to take a few months to rest and reflect on my 18-year long journey with the organisation. Looking at the world around us, I feel drawn to explore how I can build on my immense learning from ILGA-Europe and from our movement to find new ways of contributing to bring change around me.

As I make this decision, I am truly excited about ILGA-Europe’s direction of travel, with our expanded ability to support the movement in flexible ways, deeper work on structural inequalities, growing reach and political impact. And it will be a real pleasure to support the next person in whatever way I can so they can step in the role with confidence and optimism.

There will be time in a few months for me to express my deep gratitude to the many, many people who’ve held me, encouraged me, taught me and trusted me throughout the years. For now, I am simply looking forward to six more months at ILGA-Europe and making the most of working with my ever-so committed, caring, joyful and smart team on a daily basis; of steering our beloved organisation with our inspiring and dedicated board members; and of continuing to learn for as long as I can from the resourceful, resilient, determined LGBTI activists across our region.

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