Saying Goodbye to Margaret

This week, we bid the fondest of farewells to our Program Director and recent Interim Executive Director Margaret McCarthy. After serving admirably in that Interim role, Margaret chose not to apply for the longer-term position and is wrapping nearly four years on the staff of the SF Bicycle Coalition. (Which means we’re hiring a Program Director, if you know anyone amazing…)

Margaret has worn many hats on staff, but has always been a well-loved, hard-working and critically important part of our organization. Already a longtime member when she started as Volunteer Coordinator in 2012, she worked tirelessly for and with our 10,000-plus members and volunteers, engaging people passionate about the health of our streets and communities in our work. As our Program Director, Margaret led initiatives with Safe Routes to School, Valet Bike Parking, bicycle and driver education, and many others, expanding the reach of our organization.

As we say goodbye, Margaret is looking forward to a brief pit stop with some bike camping and a greater focus on her work as a performance artist. We can’t wait to see where she winds up next, but we know she’ll arrive by bicycle.

SF Bicycle Coalition: What are some of your proudest moments and favorite memories from your time here?

Margaret: I treasure every opportunity I’ve had to work directly with our members, whether it’s producing yet another record-breaking Bike to Work Day, working side by side to install thousands of lights on the bikes of those riding in the dark through our Light up the Night campaign or doing in-person outreach at a Service Station to get the word out about our #BikeTheVote efforts before a big election.

One especially memorable day was at Tour de Fat several years ago. It absolutely poured rain, yet nearly every single one of our 200 volunteers still showed up to support the event with a smile on their face. It was a wonderful testament to the team spirit and goodwill of our member-volunteers. And then the sun came out in the afternoon and we were rewarded with a gorgeous day!

I’m continually grateful for our members’ unwavering involvement in the most challenging aspects of our work: The week after the tragic fatalities of June 22, I was on the corner of Folsom and Seventh conducting streetside outreach during the morning commute. In 96 minutes, over 200 people stopped to write the Mayor a postcard calling for urgent action on our streets. We added those to the over 1,500 emails people sent, and we demanded action from our City leaders. As Interim Executive Director, I was proud to bring our members’  voices to City Hall. We’re going to get the changes we need on our streets, but it’s not going to be possible without your fierce advocacy and strength.

What first inspired you to apply for a position at the SF Bicycle Coalition?

I’d been a member of the SF Bicycle Coalition for several years when I saw the posting for a Volunteer Coordinator in the Biker Bulletin. I’ve always been inspired by organizations that leverage volunteer power to achieve success and I was excited by the idea of helping to make real change on the streets I biked on daily. But what really sold me on the position was meeting the team: The staff people here are incredible, and when I got to meet and talk with various staff through the interview process, I quickly became convinced that this was a team I wanted to be a part of. I’ll give myself some credit: It was a great decision.

What will you miss most about working for the SF Bicycle Coalition?

I’m going to cheat and pick three. One: I’m really going to miss my extraordinary colleagues. I can’t say it enough: Our staff are exceptionally high-caliber folks, working tirelessly with our members to make extraordinary change happen in our city. Two: As Interim Executive Director, I had the pleasure of working closely with our all-volunteer board of directors, who give so much of their time and energy to support the financial success, governance and strategic direction of our organization. Three: Our members’ dedication and verve was an ongoing source of strength and renewal for me, and I’m going to miss that energy.

What would you tell people interested in applying to join the staff as our next Program Director?

Get your ducks in a row and get that application in today! As Program Director, you’ll get to work with so many of our outward-facing programs. Our incredible Program team leads the organization’s efforts for Safe Routes to School, the Bike it Forwards program, bicycle and driver education, Valet Bike Parking, and our robust volunteer program. A lot of these programs work with people who’ve only just started biking, or who haven’t yet had the chance to consider incorporating biking into their daily lives. The new Program Director will have a huge opportunity to help expand the breadth and reach of our work.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Something that totally wowed me when I joined the staff as Volunteer Coordinator was how many different ways our members were involved in our work. Their commitment, their dedication, and their belief in our collective ability to transform our city into one that truly welcomes all people to biking – I could not be more awed, I could not be more grateful. Finally: I’m thrilled for Brian as our new Executive Director, and I’m looking forward to continued groundbreaking success for better biking here in San Francisco!

Are you interested in promoting the bicycle for everyday transportation through leading our Programs team? We’re hiring!

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