March 1, 2019
For over a decade, I’ve found myself starting a statement with the phrase, “well if I ran Runway full-time…,” referring to plans and ideas that were aspirational for an organization that I began when I was 25-years-old as a “soul project.” I have run Runway for Recovery for twelve years, along with a mighty and patient volunteer committee, on nights and weekends while working in education and growing my own family. As Runway has steadily “grown up” alongside my three little boys, those aspirations have become harder to ignore, and the voice in my head asking “what if?” has gotten increasingly louder as hundreds of models and families have joined the community and added their own aspirations and visions to my own.
The power of Imagination and goal-setting is quite incredible, and it’s time for the “what ifs” to become the “why nots?” I am beyond excited to announce that starting June 1, 2019 I will take on the full-time position of Runway for Recovery’s Executive Director to expand upon the foundation that so many people have helped build. Focusing on Runway full-time enables me to double-down in three areas that are central to our mission: community, family impact, and organizational sustainability. Before I go any further in explaining some of the planning that is underway, let me reassure everyone that the annual Runway for Recovery Fashion Show is not changing in any substantial way, if anything, it is going to be better! It is because of the energy and the power of the fashion show that I have the courage and vision to think about how else Runway can become a more complete, year-round, organization. I intentionally capitalized the “I” in Imagine because that is what this process has been centered on for the last six months, and I am so excited about what has already grown from everyone’s Imagination.
So what have I been thinking about and planning for:
- Runway funds have always been deployed to help families who have lost a parent to breast cancer, but it has become clear that Runway for Recovery has untapped potential to significantly shift the trajectory of a family’s experience. We’re re-Imagining our grant-making to “swarm” families with wraparound resources that reduce the financial, emotional, social, and developmental obstacles that come from the loss of a parent, and choosing to focus on deepening our intervention for fewer families. In doing this, Runway will lead the way that Boston-area hospitals think about the “after” experience of families dealing with loss, and help set the standard for coordinated care and support.
- In talking with our Runway community during the strategic planning process this fall and winter, words like strength, courage, love, hope, kindness, and inspiration echoed around focus groups and across surveys. Runway for Recovery has become a central landing place for women, men, and children to find connection because of the fact that their stories are at once entirely unique and part of a shared experience. This year, we’re growing the model community into a platform for mentorship, support, and positivity via virtual and in-person channels for models to share their experience, find hope and advice, and fold others who need it into our Runway family.
- And finally, as a nonprofit that entered its thirteenth year of operating without staff, Runway is an unusual combination of a well-established community organization with the infrastructure of a startup. In addition to taking on a full time Executive Director role, I’ve already brought on twelve new board members and we’ve re-Imagined our website and fundraising platforms to reflect an expanded fundraising goal that will steward Runway through its next decade of expansion as we welcome thousands more into the Runway family. And I am thrilled and honored that my Dad, William Achtmeyer, has agreed to become chairman of the board. After an intense process of convincing him (not really, but I know his time is precious), he has agreed to use his decades of experience shepherding boards and apply it to the work of Runway.
Together the help of my incredible committee, the hundred of models who have graced the stage, and the visionary doctors working in the field of breast cancer and survivorship today, I have re-Imagined where this organization can go in the next three, five, and ten years, and I invite you to join me on this adventure. Welcome to the next chapter of Runway.
With love, gratitude, and a tremendous amount of excitement,
Olivia Achtmeyer Boger
Runway for Recovery