I’m writing to share some bittersweet news. These will be my last two weeks as Corridor Manager of the Excelsior Action Group. Since 2011, my work with the Excelsior Action Group has been an incredibly rewarding and invigorating time of growth. I’ve had the opportunity to install lasting physical improvements to the commercial corridor like the Ever Upward Gateway Sculpture, the Excelsior Community Parklet, and the Excelsior Branch Library Art and Greening Project. I’ve been able to support Excelsior merchants in a variety of ways, improving their facades, helping businesses become more accessible for their disabled customers, developing websites and marketing plans, and encouraging residents to explore the corridor and shop locally. I’ve had the opportunity to plan and support some wonderful events in the neighborhood like the Excelsior Festival, Excelsior Sunday Streets, the annual Excelsior Art Walks, and most recently the Excelsior Community Market. Most importantly, I’ve met and collaborated with many truly inspiring individuals in this community on EAG’s Advisory Board and Committees, the Excelsior Collaborative, the Koshland Fellowship, the Ingleside Community Police Advisory Board, partnering community-based organizations and neighborhood associations, and in the community at large. I feel truly blessed for the opportunity to have worked closely with you all in support of this community that we all love so much!
The timing of this announcement feels both sudden and long-awaited. The Advisory Board and EAG staff have been steadily preparing since January for a leadership transition. We are committed to a seamless transition and maintaining the highest level of service to the community. My colleague Gwynn Mackellen will be assuming the role of Interim Corridor Manager and I cannot think of a better person for the job!
Since her first day as Safety Coordinator, Gwynn has surpassed expectations and approached her work from a variety of strategic angles. Within the span of six months, she implemented 11 safety programs and events, including the largest community clean up in the citywide Giant Sweep program and 5 events focused on pedestrian safety. In December, Gwynn successfully organized the largest holiday event in the neighborhood, the Excelsior Holiday Art Walk, which was attended by over 200 families and brought the first public holiday tree to the corridor in decades. In addition, Gwynn spearheaded a four month advocacy campaign to remove the Net Stop from the commercial corridor; her efforts mobilized hundreds of community members, activated local political will, strengthened partnerships among community-based organizations, and resulted in the successful removal of the blighted and crime-prone presence in the community. Most recently, Gwynn has adopted a proactive approach to business attraction on the commercial corridor, identifying existing and upcoming commercial vacancies and working with neighbors to fill them with community-serving businesses.
In addition to her own workload, Gwynn has simultaneously trained under me to prepare for the position of Interim Corridor Manager. She has adopted additional responsibility with efficiency and grace. Through each week of her training, I have witnessed Gwynn blossom as a stronger and more confident leader. As a burgeoning leader for the organization, Ms. Mackellen asks smart questions, builds relationships effectively, and shines in her dedication to the community and passion for the work. I am confident that she is a highly intelligent, proactive, and extremely dedicated steward for EAG throughout this time of transition.
It has been my honor to serve as your Corridor Manager for these past few years. There will always be a special place in my heart for the neighborhood and my time with EAG. Although April 4, 2014 is my last day on the job, I’m sure I will still see many of you on the commercial corridor at my favorite restaurants or volunteering at the Excelsior Festival! I hope to maintain the friendships we have developed for years to come. I look forward to the many great things to come for the Excelsior and the Excelsior Action Group under new leadership!
Thank you all very much!
Nicole Jesslyn Agbayani