Elizabeth Mitchell, who joined the cooperative in 2014, is moving on from her position at Sassafras. Elizabeth played a central role in the creation of Sassafras and what it is today. We are forever indebted to her.
Elizabeth is a wonderful frontend developer, project planner, and anti-oppressive culture maven. We at Sassafras will miss so much of what she brought to the coop including her joyful spirit, cooperative chops, and technical skill. We say farewell with deep gratitude and well-wishes for what is ahead. The photo is of our virtual farewell and celebration party, where we played games and collaboratively drew the picture shown. The following is a collection of writings for Elizabeth from our members that speak to her collective impact on Sassafras.
Elizabeth – I will miss day to day pairing with you on code, client communication, and workload planning so much. What I cherish most of all that you have taught me is to bring grace into my work. You have taught Sassafras as an organization how to build a caring, joyful workplace and how to move at a sustainable pace. Your leadership has gotten projects I’m on, and Sassafras as a whole, unstuck countless times. I will miss and try to carry forward your knack for asking the right questions, and seeing needs, possibilities, and solutions. It is easy to say it is hard to imagine Sassafras without you. But instead, in building our organizational norms and habits, planning tools, project portfolio, and client relationships day after day, writing policy, and bringing out the best in Sassafras and co-workers, you have given Sassafras what we need to move forward. I’m so excited for what you will continue to make happen for others, our communities, and most importantly, your incredible self.
I have learned so much from Elizabeth, and am so grateful to have been able to work with her these past 5 and a half years. She taught me super fancy Sass tricks and how to make modular and easy to use templates. Beyond technical skills (and more importantly), I learned from Elizabeth about boundaries, care, and skills to create a truly cooperative culture in an organization where everyone’s voice is valued and appreciated.
Elizabeth always modeled teamwork and expected other people’s best when it came to relationships and care for others. She helped me unlearn urgency where it isn’t helpful, and knew when to ask: can we slow down? She also showed me the importance of joy in the workplace. I’m eternally grateful for that labor, and I bring that to all of my work now. Sassafras wouldn’t be where we are now without her, and we will always be indebted to her for creating the workplace culture that Sassafras is now.
Elizabeth: I wish you all the best for your future endeavors, and please know that any place you go, they are lucky to have you and your contributions.
Thank you for everything you have contributed to Sassafras!
I am grateful to Elizabeth for being such a great advocate for Sassafras. She was responsible for persuading several of our members to join the coop, and has appeared as a public face of the coop on occasions like an NPR interview. Elizabeth’s passion for our social justice project work rubbed off on a lot of people. She was so motivated by and proud of our ability to do affordable, high quality work for important causes and kept reminding us all of how important that was.
Elizabeth pushed our coop to be OK with healthy dissent and disagreement, which is an important skill to have as a sustainable business, and I think is often lacking in new mission-driven organizations. Elizabeth knew the importance of this and brought it to the forefront. Elizabeth is fearless when it came to learning and exercising new technical skills. She is always up for a challenge. She is also a very meticulous coder with great attention to detail and consistency. She took her work very seriously and I have always appreciated that.
Elizabeth’s NPR interview introduced me to Sassafras in the first place, and she was my onboarding buddy/mentor when I joined. She introduced me to the amazing projects Sassafras is a part of and made me feel like part of the team.
Elizabeth and I both worked remotely during different periods of time, and she made a point to check in and be available to answer all my questions. She’d say hello in the mornings just like we were at a physical office. She knew how to effectively work virtually years before the whole world went remote! Her gardening adventures and skating achievements are always exciting to hear about, her cats occasionally join video conferences, and she brings a skilled, gentle energy to meeting facilitation that keeps the mood light and makes meetings with her a joy.
Like many others here, Elizabeth was my first contact with Sassafras and she made her presence felt every day. We worked closely together both on projects and internally, and her thoughtful commitment to the work we do and the organization we’re becoming will be sorely missed. I will forever be grateful to Elizabeth for the kindness she demonstrated and the way she thoughtfully made me feel included, despite the distance, when I was still the first and only fully remote employee at Sassafras. I’ll never be able to express all the ways she pushed us to grow and change every day, but it’s safe to say that Sassafras wouldn’t be the organization it is today without her influence, and she has all my best wishes and highest expectations for success in everything she chooses to do in the future.