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A Closing Message From Akaya Windwood

By December 20, 2018October 2nd, 20198 Comments


Beloved community,

This is the final President’s letter I will write to you. I’d like to begin with gratitude. In 2004, I came to Rockwood to be a trainer, and in the ensuing years, have worn a number of hats. Leadership can often appear as if there is only a single person charting the way, but that is never the case. I am deeply grateful for all who have made my journey at Rockwood possible: trainers, staff, board, funder partners, and you — Rockwood’s alums. I could not have done this work without any of you. My time here has been deeply satisfying, and I thank you.

We’ve come a long way since our founding in 2000 by Andre Carothers and Robert Gass. Rockwood started at a kitchen table, and now our alums have seats at tables all over the world. To date, 6,894 leaders have participated in our programs and span the myriad of sectors dedicated to creating safe, just, and welcoming organizations and communities. As I close my days at Rockwood, I leave with a full and tender heart; I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to lead this astonishing organization. I have changed and grown through hearing stories of the risks and leaps you’ve taken, the successes you’ve achieved, and the impacts you have had on the world.

My deepest wish is that Rockwood continues to thrive in its remarkable and transformative work supporting leaders committed to a sustained and equitable world. May the dreams of our ancestors continue to support our journeys, and may the hopes of our descendants continue to guide our collective steps.

In the coming years I will carry you in my heart. I am excited about where I am going, and as of January 1st, 2019, I can be reached at I invite you all to stay in touch.

From my heart to yours,



  • Paul Goldberg says:

    Deep admiration and much love for you Akaya! Thanks for your leadership at Rockwood and in the world.

  • Greg Hodge says:

    Beautiful message! I love you much and know that you still have much to teach and learn. Blessings for the new year…!
    Greg Hodge
    Board Chair

  • Thank you for every truth you’ve told, every nudge you’ve given, every caring and visionary word. Our sector is better for it, and blessed we are!

  • Maria says:

    Thank you for your leadership and vision Akaya. Wherever you are in the world, amazing things will happen.

  • Elizabeth WIlcox says:

    Thank you Akaya. You are a tremendous and inspiring leader. It was an honor to work beside you for many years.
    Happy New Year, and here’s to bright, new beginnings.
    Gratefully, Elizabeth
    (Retired in France!)

  • Ora Hatheway says:

    Dear Akaya, time has flown since I was first introduced to Rockwood Leadership Institute work with community leaders.
    What an Honor to be in your circle! May 2019 be a fruitful year for you! This is the 8th year of supporting Marin City GGV residents and the Golden Gate Village Resident Council, with revitalization. Renewal without gentrification. Always learning from YOU! Thank You! Be well, Ora Hatheway. as our strategist, Rhesa Jenkins, would remind us, Necessity is the Mother of invention. We stand on the shoulders of giants

  • Ginny McGinn says:

    thank you dear one for the gift of your leadership – your vision, and your wild, creative, and loving mind/heart. so glad to have had the chance to learn with and from you.
    may this next chapter be all you hope for.
    much love

  • Alicia Dixon says:

    Thank you, Akaya! Well wishes to you on this phase of your journey; I can’t wait to witness all of the good stuff it will bring to the world. Looking forward to breaking bread on the water in the new year!