May Boeve, Next Generation Leader

May Boeve is emphatically not your typical non-profit Executive Director. Which is to say: her life isn’t swanky cocktail parties in local halls of power, nor barking out orders to a cadre of aides, nor making fly-by-night phone calls to powerful political operatives, nor technocratic budgeting on Excel.

No — 350’s Executive Director should really be called Activist-in-Chief, because that’s what May’s life truly is. She’s been arrested outside the White House in protest of the Keystone XL pipeline, she’s called out sexism in public conversations with prominent media outlets, and of course, she played an absolutely crucial role in last year’s historic People’s Climate March, which brought 400,000 protesters to the streets of New York demanding action on climate change.

May Boeve has clearly always been an activist at heart, driven by a vision of the world as it should be and committed to working around the clock to make it more real. Or as Allyse Heartwell from our Digital team puts it:

“May is the best kind of leader: clear-eyed in her vision for the world we’re building and the work we’re doing, yet also deeply committed to real collaboration with her colleagues and comrades. Her smarts, savvy, and formidable competence are rooted in a remarkable capacity for empathy.”

Most people who know May Boeve would agree with that, not just in a professional, on-the-record, “yes, ma’am” kind of way — but truly, and deeply and personally. Which is why it was so deeply gratifying to many of us here at 350 to wake up today, and see May become the first person in the United States to be profiled by TIME Magazine as part of its annual series on Next Generation Leaders.

As 350.org’s U.S. Communications Manager, I’m always pushing May to do more of this stuff. It’s a little tricky, because unlike people I’ve worked for in the past, May is someone who doesn’t seek the spotlight — and kind of needs to be nudged there.

Honestly, she’d probably prefer I didn’t write this piece at all — but it’s worth writing because this matters! We need Activists-in-Chief to take on increasingly public roles in our movement, and we need them to not all be white dudes. Pieces like this one go a long way towards achieving that, and shifting the way people in mainstream culture think about “environmentalists.”

Anyway, the piece is gorgeous, and highlights May’s work as a bridge-builder forging alliances with other organizations, groups and causes. “Climate change connects every issue,” May told TIME. “What I like to do is figure out, based on what another organization does, how does it connect to climate change and how does our work connect to what they do?”

It’s worth checking out in full here: http://time.com/3896409/ngl-may-boeve/.

 

 

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Governments meeting at the next climate conference must put their Paris pledges into action -- and action means no more room for new fossil fuel projects.
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