Hartford, VT – After a comprehensive, six-month search, Susan Hindinger has been appointed as incoming Executive Director of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE). Hindinger has served as VCE’s Associate Director since 2014, adding operational leadership and helping to guide the organization’s growth. She will officially assume her new role on October 1, 2022, succeeding retiring founder Chris Rimmer.
Hindinger’s appointment was approved by unanimous vote on May 13. “During the search process, it became clear to everyone on the search committee that Susan was optimally suited to become the next leader at VCE,” says VCE Board Chair Peter Brooke. “She has a clear vision for VCE’s future, and that clarity set her apart.”
Hindinger has a long history with the founders of VCE, having worked, as they did, at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) in the early 2000s. Years later, when Rimmer and VCE co-founder Kent McFarland invited her to consider joining the VCE team as its first-ever Associate Director, she knew it was the right fit. “I arrived at VCE with a varied science background,” Hindinger says. She holds degrees in geology and botany. “But my career path has gravitated toward organizational development and strategic leadership. At VCE, I have found work that offers the best of both worlds: organizational leadership in the context of conservation science.”
As Associate Director, Hindinger’s talents in these arenas have proven key for supporting both the daily operations and long-term vision of this multi-faceted conservation science organization. Top among her numerous accomplishments as Associate Director is shepherding development of VCE’s strategic plan, which today provides the organization’s guiding framework for growth and fiscal vitality. “We engaged the science team in rich discussions about where they hope and imagine their work will lead. The plan that emerged challenges us to pursue science in new ways, deliver more, and reach further,” Hindinger explains. “Our strategic goals, translated into an implementation and business plan, will provide fodder for countless conversations with our supporters and partners. The entire process has been a terrific learning experience and incredibly rewarding.”
“It isn’t often that a leader emerges with Susan’s unique combination of vision, mission-driven passion, organizational mastery, communication skills, and sheer all-around competence,” comments Rimmer. “VCE owes so much of its current vigor and momentum to Susan’s extraordinary efforts over the past eight years.”
As Hindinger looks forward to her new role, she reflects on how far VCE has come in its first fifteen years. “I’ve had the privilege of serving VCE closely alongside Chris Rimmer for over eight years now,” Hindinger says. “Together, we have nurtured its transition from a start-up enterprise into a growing and maturing entity. Chris and his cofounders took a risk and, together with newer staff members, have built an exceptional team and a thriving organization. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead VCE into its next chapter.”
“The retirement of a founding director presents unique risks to any organization,” says Jared Keyes, VCE Board Vice-Chair and Treasurer. “But in Susan, we have a leader of proven quality and strategic insight who has just what VCE needs.”
Ultimately, Hindinger’s appointment has left the Board feeling tremendously optimistic that VCE will maintain its momentum during this transition, Rimmer says. “I have never been more confident in VCE’s future than I am right now, and I’m eager to see it unfold under Susan’s leadership.”