TreeSisters is a UK registered social change and reforestation charity that places tropical forest restoration into everyone’s hands.
TreeSisters' vision is to ethically expand the green cover of the world. Our mission is to work with trees and their communities for the planet to survive and thrive. Our activities focus on Conservation and Education whilst building gender equality into everything we do, ensuring our planting projects include at least 50% women. At the same time, our educational offerings encourage women's voices in the reforestation sector. TreeSisters want the world to reconnect with nature so that we can protect and restore our planet.
We bring communities together and put solutions in their hands. By ethically funding the planting of over 27 million trees in places like Brazil, Borneo, Kenya, India, Madagascar and West Papua, we provide a measurable way to restore life and mitigate climate change.
Dear Amazing network and beloved circle of supporters,
I am writing with big news that might shock many of you but that I think you will also deeply understand. It’s time for me to step down from TreeSisters. Having been on sabbatical with burnout for 8 months or so, my adrenals and menopause have steadily become the loudest voices in my life, and they are clear. In order to fully recover my health, I require a complete life change, and that necessitates my giving myself back to myself to a degree unknown, and thus shedding the pressures of a leadership role indefinitely.
I never saw this coming, but now that I’m here, it’s clear. It’s such an unexpectedly quiet clarity and homecoming. I gave myself completely to the world, now I need to do the same for myself. Menopause seems to provide the most unequivocal energy with which to review and potentially deconstruct one’s life into something truer and healthier. No matter how steep the decline of my health over the last four years, I couldn’t pull out of the pattern of relentless overwork in the face of our ecological collapse. Living in California only served to push me harder. The hole I dug for myself is shockingly deep.
There’s a humbling irony to have tried so hard to stand for feminine leadership rooted in embodying nature's rhythms, only to be ‘taken out’ by my body, having overridden them so acutely. I guess we teach what we most need to learn. As I used to say to my Mother when she complained about my overworking, ‘at least when I bottom out my Messiah complex, I will have done something useful along the way!’.
Life never misses a moment to show us to ourselves, does it?
Leaving TreeSisters has almost been as tough as starting her in the first place. As the most compulsively over-responsible person I know, I can only hint at the process I’ve been through to arrive here. It’s been huge. TreeSisters has been my life’s work and only child, but as every Mother knows, there comes a time when Mother and child need to differentiate and rediscover themselves as separate from each other.
But there’s another equally important driver to this decision, and that is the natural evolution of an organisation beyond its Founder.
It’s just reality that TreeSisters needs to grow beyond me, and that as she does, she will plot her own course. In many ways, given that I have not been actively leading as CEO for several years now, she already has. It’s a growing up of a kind, personally and organisationally. Let’s face it, I’m a loud-mouthed, unpredictable, opinionated edge walker that needs to be able to roar, but that has to happen outside of the constraints of a charitable structure in order to protect TreeSisters.
I truly think that this is the best path for all concerned.
There has been huge joy and huge cost to standing out front. I have loved, loving this world so publicly and passionately and being what I've often called 'walking permission' for so many to step up and bring their gifts. But it has also been isolating, lonely and laden with projection and assumption.
The hopes, dreams and pressures that are pinned to you when you stand out front are heavy. What you're doing is never enough, ever, and speaking for environmental activists everywhere, the impact of watching our inability to stop what we’re doing to our rare and exquisite world is a driver of overwork and overextension unlike any other. We're burning our activists out when the simple truth is one that I have known all along: there truly is no separation. When I take care of myself, I literally am taking care of her, and of course, if I don't take care of myself, I'm not going to be of any use to anyone or anything.
I don't know what's coming next for me beyond recuperation and the steady remembering of how to follow my own body. I need to write, and I need to sing. At some point, I will stand back up, and along the way, I may do talks and podcasts that share the journey. I’ll never leave the TreeSisters network, will stay a strong Ambassador and ultimately may be back generating content in some form or fashion.
It matters hugely to me that your support of TreeSisters continues in my absence. This will be a rocky patch, and she needs all of you as she comes into her own.
It also matters that we don’t lose each other if you would like to be notified of what comes next please follow me on social media.
The last thing to say is thank you.
Thank you to every single one of you that has heard the call and stepped up to help restore the global forest. There are over 26 million more trees because of you and that's a staggering triumph that we have achieved together. Thank you to every single volunteer who has so selflessly given your time and energy in so many generous ways, we have achieved so much more because of you. Thank you to every team member who has walked this path of radical self-discovery beside me through some of the toughest and most glorious learning curves of our lives. Thank you to every course participant who has trusted us with your presence and heart, I hope what was seeded within you grows strong and spreads its gift. Thank you to every trustee who has held this complex beast in your caring, committed hands and hearts and given so much so selflessly for so long.
I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
And I ask you, even though I am stepping back to heal and reform, please keep up the pulse of giving back to this miraculous world of ours. She needs us more than ever.
With so much gratitude to you all,
Issued: 30th November 2022
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