Time to pass the baton at Sunlight

Ellen Miller speaking at a conference.
Ellen Miller. Photo credit: Sunlight Foundation

It’s time for some personal and professional transparency.

After a long, challenging and very satisfying career in public interest work, I have decided that it’s time to retire. When I was a young congressional staffer, I thought changing the world was going to be a sprint. In the middle of my career, when I launched the Center for Responsive Politics and then started Public Campaign, I thought it was going to be a marathon and you just had to be a long distance runner; so I trained up for that. Now, after eight years building and running the Sunlight Foundation, I now see this process as a relay race — and one where I’m glad to say there are many other great people running alongside me, including the terrific team we have built here at Sunlight. It’s truly extraordinary. And it’s time to pass the baton.

I recently informed the Sunlight board of my intention to step down by the end of 2014. The board has appointed a search committee, and a job description for interested applicants for the Executive Director position will be posted soon. Before I leave, I’m going to make sure that Sunlight is in the strongest shape possible for my successor, because the work we do here is absolutely vital.

Sunlight’s uses of open data and the web have created an exploding interest in civic technologies as tools for accountability. Our mantra around openness and transparency — not just for governments but for society as a whole — have taken root and are becoming the norm. Our open (by default) data, software and platforms have pioneered a new standard for many organizations. And Sunlight’s vision to use technology to enable more complete, equitable and effective democratic participation has inspired many throughout the world.

I couldn’t be more pleased or grateful to all who have worked with me at Sunlight toward all these accomplishments. I especially want to single out and thank Mike Klein, Sunlight’s co-founder, who was an unwavering partner and personal inspiration during my tenure. I also couldn’t be more grateful for all the extraordinary support we’ve received, both large and small, for this work.

I truly believe that open and equal access to information is the bedrock of democracy. Without it, citizens cannot make informed decisions. With it, citizens learn who and what they can trust. This belief has always been the passion of my life as it will always be the Sunlight Foundation’s goal.

The search for a new executive director has already begun — if you have a vision for truly open government, a passion for open data and want to lead Sunlight into the future, we’ve got the job for you. Apply now to be the next executive director at Sunlight.