The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is thrilled to announce our new Interim Executive Director, Cory Pohley. Cory’s pronouns are she/her/hers. Cory comes to us as a long-time Bay Area resident and a lifelong nonprofit professional.
“Cory stood out to us as the person that we know will be able to lead our team through this transition and support us in prioritizing our values as an organization,” said Board President, Jean Kao. “Her depth of work with nonprofits, experience in interim roles, and deep passion for our values bring us so much excitement to welcome her as our new Interim Executive Director.”
We sat down with Cory to get to know what she is excited about in working with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s staff, board, and members.
Tell us a little bit about your past experiences working at nonprofits.
I’ve been a long time nonprofit leader and have held just about every title essential to the healthy functioning of an organization. When I first moved to San Francisco in the 80s, my first role was working at the Tenderloin Self Help Center — I spent nine years in the Tenderloin community and I’m deeply grateful for all I learned there. More recently, I’ve held Executive Director and Interim Executive Director roles for various Bay Area organizations as well as holding executive search and other consulting roles.
What I’ve learned? Leadership transitions are a natural and inevitable occurrence. And while it’s true that they can spark concern and anxiety, they also create an opportunity for reflection and renewal. An interim can provide staff and board with the support they need to give themselves permission to take a step back while they work towards alignment on the vision for new leadership. This is essential, as the cost of rushing into hiring an Executive Director without doing the work up front can be costly — not only to the organization’s bottom line, but also to morale and mission impact.
I really enjoy applying my skills as a manager, coach, and strategist to help organizations navigate challenges and narrow in on and prioritize among key issues and opportunities. And, if I can do this in an organization that centers justice and equity in how they approach their advocacy and work – like you do here at the SF Bicycle Coalition – then that’s golden!
What excites you about the work the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is doing?
It’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of Brian Wiedenmeier after his tenure. It’s clear that the staff and board are extremely passionate and committed to their work. Just in my first week, I’ve already seen the energy the team radiates each day, and that the organization is confident in their ability to continue to push forward on their goals and values.
And, I’m especially moved by the SF Bicycle Coalition’s commitment to transportation justice, fighting climate change, and building collective power. I’ve been impressed with the deep antiracism work that is happening within the organization. Bringing a racial justice lens and intersectional approach to every campaign and program is powerful, impactful, and necessary work. And, tying that in with the simple acknowledgement that bicycling can bring joy, community, and connection are beautiful and inspiring values to be working for.
What does Interim Executive Director work entail?
Interim work can vary by organization, but in general, in addition to holding many of the responsibilities of a permanent Executive Director, my work here will allow me to serve as a manager and thought partner, ensure organizational continuity and momentum, and provide a bridge between former and new leadership. I see interim work as an opportunity to guide the staff and board toward their goals while helping to lay the groundwork for the permanent leader’s success.
I’m looking forward to being with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition over the course of the next six to eight months while the board of directors launch their search for the organization’s next leader.
It’s an honor and joy to be here and I look forward to jumping in and connecting with our staff, board, and members!