After an in-depth search for new leadership for Gather Well, we made the decision to use a shared approach to the Executive Director position. We feel this aligns with our values of decentralized leadership and harnessing the opportunity for learning when a diversity of perspectives are present. We’re excited to introduce you to the individuals we’ve chosen and feel confident in their abilities to step into their shared leadership posiitions with skill and grace.
Elaine Mak, a female-bodied person of color, and Ron Shore, a white, male-bodied person, will join their complementary skill sets and perspectives for the continued development of the organization. We made a conscious choice with this hiring for a co-executive director model in bringing in people who are each interested in shifting culture around patriarchy and white supremacy, who will remain cognizant and committed to working with how those systems can be present within organizations. We feel these individuals will make an excellent co-director leadership team and believe that an anti-oppression framework and commitment to social justice are necessary to allow the deep safety, openness, connectivity and community we intend for Gather Well.
Ron will be joining the team in April in the role of Co-Executive Director and Elaine, a current board member, will be coming off the board in June and joining Ron as a interim Co-Executive Director for a 6 month period to assist the organization in its next phase of development. During this time, in partnership with the board and with Ron, she will head a recruiting process for the board to hire a replacement for the long term co-director. At that juncture Elaine will rejoin the board of directors. Naama Grossbard, who has been holding the ED position, will sit on the Board of Directors and the Vision Council. She will remain an integral part of the vision and expression of the organization as a part of the program development team and will work closely with Elaine and Ron to make for a smooth transition.
We feel this approach assures the careful stewardship of the organization and positions it to be led by strong complementary individuals. We are quite excited for the future of Gather Well with these new folks helping to guide it.
A little more about Elaine and Ron:
Elaine Mak is a proven executive leader that delivers scalable impact through bold ethics. Her proven methodology, The Mak Effect, unlocks the power of responsible leadership to accelerate the growth of companies and their people.
For 20+ years, Elaine has used her ethics-first approach to scale mission driven organizations into best-in-class operation. Her expertise includes global expansion, enabling sustainable company performance and profitable business growth.
Elaine, a Business Insider Top 25 Innovator, recognizes the unique power of psychedelics to open the hearts and minds of leaders who often unconsciously resist change. She believes that with intentional guidance, psychedelics can facilitate an enduring shift in leadership style from a product of social conditioning to a conscious choice in how to wield power with responsibility.
Outside of work, Elaine loves adventures with her family and actively volunteers her time developing emerging leaders in the social sector.
Ron Shore, PhD
Ron is a community organizer, harm reduction activist, and health scientist with a deep background in community health, social justice and plant medicines. Ron is the founder of Kingston, Ontario’s Street Health Centre, a multi-service community health centre for people facing multiple barriers to health. Beginning as a prison outreach and needle exchange worker, Ron went on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on health policy and has spent 23 years working in harm reduction and community health.
Ron taught Health 237, Introduction to the Study of Drug and Alcohol Problems, for 15 years at Queen’s University, and for two years taught the inaugural Psychedelics, Politics and Harm Reduction at the University of Ottawa. Ron is faculty in the Foundations of Psychedelic Psychotherapy Program at the University Health Network / Michener Institute in Toronto Ontario, teaching psilocybin-related content, and is currently completing the Contemplative End-of-Life Care (Death Doula) program at the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Toronto.
Ron’s PhD, defended in June 2022, is specific to the therapeutic application of psilocybin. Ron is a Research Scientist at Queen’s University in their psychedelics collaborative, helping to design and carry out psychedelics-related research and clinical trials, and is currently completing a Post-doctoral Fellowship in Public Health Sciences at Queen’s, researching models of public policy for psychedelics.
Ron practices Buddhism and enjoys Qi Gong. He lives in Kingston, Ontario Canada with his partner — somatic therapist and ceremonialist Norah Greatrix – and their amazing three children.
“Walking this path is a blessing and a strong calling. I have clear affinity with the work of Gather Well, and my intention is to honour the medicine, humbly and with reverence. The co-directorship model is, to me, at the very heart of the work: we are all in this together, woven into dynamic networks just like the mycorrhizal. My prayer is that Gather Well mimics and meets the healthy dynamics of connectivity and balance, diversity, reciprocity and sustenance so evident in Gaia. It is such an honour to become a part of this unfolding, so necessary in these times.” – Ron Shore