The Loma Prietan - November 2013

Our New Chapter Director

John Cordes Joins Chapter Staff

Hello! My name is John Cordes, and I am the new director of the Loma Prieta Chapter. The Chapter Executive Committee invited me to join our staff because of Megan Fluke Medeiros’s departure. (See her ‘goodbye’ message below.)

My focus is building the Chapter’s communication efforts, its leadership, and its fundraising; and working with our other staff members: Justyna Guterman, who supports our fundraising efforts, Kenneth Rosales, our Conservation Coordinator, and Barbara Kelsey, who keeps the office running efficiently and helps with volunteers. I will be the primary communication point within the Chapter, and I will be working hard to align our conservation, political, fundraising, and member services to maximize the benefits of each to the others.

Supporting the Club’s objectives here in Silicon Valley involves working more within our built-out cities than the work that has traditionally been characterized as “Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.” Our volunteers spend time supporting smart growth, better public transit, fighting air and water pollution, and sprawl.  We still protect wilderness and open space, but we do so much more now..  

I joined the Chapter over 25 years ago, when I wanted to try cross-country skiing and the Chapter offered ski touring trips.  I have been interested in leadership since I was young, however, and started leading with the Ski Touring Section. From there, I moved into other positions within the Chapter. In the late 1990s, I served four years on the Chapter’s Executive Committee. I’ve also worked with the Chapter’s Finance DCommittee, Inner City Outings (for disadvantaged youth), the Loma Prieta Paddlers, and the Information Technology Committee. I have been the Chapter’s Political Committee chair since 2000.  I’m still involved with the ski touring section. I know my way around the Chapter.

I grew up in Illinois before coming to California in 1981 with a degree in chemical engineering, and I worked for National Semiconductor until 2008. One of the joys of my life has been the many cross-country ski trips I have done with the Chapter’s Ski Touring Section and the friends I have made there.


It’s Been Fun, Sierra Club!

by Megan Fluke Medeiros

After four wonderful years as a Chapter staff member, my last day was October 11.

In those four years, first as Grassroots Organizer and later as Conservation and Development Manager, I can easily say that we have come a long way and that the Chapter has so much to be proud of.

Some of the big changes I’ve seen in the time I’ve been here are:

  • We had four Cool Cities Teams in 2009. Now we have 18 teams, including partnerships we’ve built with outside community groups, working on local climate change solutions.
  • Our Sustainable Land Use Committee has grown significantly, and they have played a key role in making dozens of projects in our region more walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly.
  • We started a nine-month leadership training program with Acterra and Greenbelt Alliance, and there were more applications than there were spots; the first class will graduate this December.
  • We held our first fundraiser, our 80th Anniversary, which sold out a month before the event!
  • Our first internship program launched, and we are providing valuable experience to over 30 young people each year.
  • We’ve had dozens of wins for the environment, such as the settlement with Lehigh Cement over its water pollution earlier this year.

We have accomplished so much over the past four years, and I don’t have a doubt in my mind that the Chapter‘s greatest successes are yet to come.

Even though I will miss fellow staff members, our incredible volunteers, and the work that we do, I am looking forward to starting a new phase of my career as Executive Director of the Committee for Green Foothills. The best part: I'll still get the chance to work with many of you, especially because the Committee’s offices are just a floor below the Chapter’s offices in Palo Alto.

To me, the Sierra Club is family. I may be spreading my wings and taking on new challenges but I am positive I’ll be back causing trouble as a Sierra Club volunteer in no time!

It has been such a pleasure to work with the Chapter community, particularly our volunteer leaders. I know I’ll leave someone important out but I want to make sure to acknowledge a handful of volunteer leaders who made my time at the Chapter so much fun. In no particular order:  Melissa Hippard, Gary Bailey, Gita Dev, Bonnie McClure, David Crabbe, Kara Anderson, John Ebneter, David Simon, Ginny Laibl, David Scouffas, David Marsland, Darren Ponce, Barbara Fukumoto, Gary Latshaw, Kay Bushnell, Suzanne Lowd, Rob Means, Kristal Caidoy, Ann Schneider, Mike Kerhin, Katja Irvin, Pamela DiGiovanni, Mike Ferreira, Henry Martinez, Shannon McDonald, Maika Horjus, Sue Chow, Brian Haberly and the late Tom Dickerman. Each of these individuals has given their heart to our organization and deserves recognition for their commitment to protecting the planet.