Truth Be Told to launch executive search as Katie Ford announces departure

Dearest Friends of Truth Be Told,

After a lot of introspection and truth-telling to myself, I have decided to bring to a close my time as Truth Be Told’s executive director. My last day in the office will be May 28. Truth Be Told has my undivided attention through this date in support of the staff and Board of Directors during this time of transition.

These past three and a half years as executive director have been an incredible experience — one that I could never have imagined for myself. My whole journey with Truth Be Told has been a series of other women seeing potential in me before I could see it. It started in 2009 when I met Truth Be Told graduate Rutanya Mitchner at a Seedling Foundation event, and she invited me to volunteer as a Respectful Witness at a Truth Be Told graduation at Lockhart women’s prison. It continued in 2010 with Truth Be Told co-founder Nathalie Sorrell inviting me to become a volunteer facilitator for the Talk to Me program at Lockhart, and then co-founder Carol Waid inviting me two years later to oversee programs at Lockhart so she and Nathalie could bring Talk to Me to the women on the Hilltop and Lane Murray units in Gatesville. It culminated in 2017 with former Board chair Donna Snyder inviting me to step into the role of executive director.

I feel endless gratitude for each of these women, because their invitations have enriched my life beyond measure. I truly can’t imagine my life without Truth Be Told’s nurturing and influence. With all that said, I want to explain how I arrived at this decision. 

When I was plucked out of the facilitator pool and invited to serve as executive director, I had no real idea what the position would entail. I said yes because facilitating Truth Be Told’s Talk to Me program had evoked healing in me and changed my life. I understand firsthand the power of Truth Be Told’s programs and, even more so, I believe in the women who participate in them.

I set out to do two things as the executive director: (1) I wanted to position this long-standing nonprofit and the women in our programs as thought leaders in conversations about justice-involved women. (2) I wanted to take Truth Be Told out of what I called “starving artist mode” by growing its revenue and shifting from a volunteer-reliant model to a paid staff to support programs and operations.

Almost four years later, Truth Be Told has gained significant traction on both of these fronts. Our graduates have spoken at state and national conferences, served on community panels, and addressed university students. Their stories have been at the forefront of our fundraising campaigns and community events, and their voices have helped shape and pass legislation at the Texas Capitol.

On the financial front, Truth Be Told’s operating budget has almost tripled, holding steady at just more than a quarter million. Our community of sustaining monthly donors has expanded sevenfold. And our team of hired hands has grown from 1.5 staff members to 3 full-time salaried positions, 2 hourly positions and 2 paid graduate peer facilitators.

I feel a deep sense of happiness knowing these things occurred during my time as executive director. It took true teamwork to make the dream work. I am proud of myself for saying yes to the invitation in 2017 and laying the groundwork for things I wanted to see happen for this organization I love.

Also, I have come to understand that the executive role ultimately is not for me. In my heart of hearts, I am a writer, a creative freelancer. I am a facilitator who thrives when directly engaged in the healing work. I need to honor who I am, and Truth Be Told taught me how to do this.

So, here we are. It’s time to invite Truth Be Told’s next executive director to build upon what we’ve achieved together.

Change is hard. It’s an inevitable part of life. Yet, instead of worrying about all the “what if’s” that come with a transition, I am daring to imagine how great it will get. The Board of Directors is leading the executive search and will release the official job posting and details on how to apply soon.

I thank you for holding space for my truth-telling today. Truth Be Told has introduced me to so many amazing people these past 11 years. I look forward to our paths crossing in new ways as I begin a new chapter in my own life story. I might be letting go of a title, but Truth Be Told community is forever.

With a deep bow of gratitude.

blue skies,

Katie Ford