Park People is thrilled to announce that it is adopting a shared leadership model, with Dave Harvey and Erika Nikolai as Co-Executive Directors, effective May 1, 2022.
Park People was founded by Dave Harvey who has been the organization’s Executive Director for more than ten years. Erika Nikolai joined Park People in 2014 when they were a Toronto exclusive organization. At that time, Erika was the organization’s sixth employee. Erika has played a critical role as Park People’s Managing Director, helping to lead the organization’s expansion to cities and parks across Canada.
The Co-Executive Director role formalizes the collaborative leadership that Erika and Dave have developed over many years of working together to build Canada’s city parks movement. Joint leadership not only recognizes Erika’s significant contributions to Park People’s success but also makes the organization stronger and more resilient as it continues to expand to meet increased demand for high-quality and accessible city parks— coast to coast.
The duo will work together to lead Park People’s team of more than 30 staff with offices in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Over its 11th-year history, Park People has helped create a massive paradigm shift for city parks: once considered as “nice to have” amenities, city parks are now understood to be essential urban infrastructure.
Park People’s Board Chair Zahra Ebrahim is excited by Park People’s move to what she calls, “shared power and mutual accountability at the leadership level.” Ebrahim adds: “The Co-Executive Director model embeds Park People’s core value of collaboration at the centre of our work.”
Park People’s Founder, Dave Harvey shares his enthusiasm: “Erika and I have worked for hand in hand for many years. Our skills and strengths complement one another.” New Co-Executive Director Erika adds: “Sharing the leadership role with Dave will give us the collective capacity to meet the rapidly growing demand for city parks that create healthier, more equitable and climate-resilient communities.”
2022 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for Park People and Canada’s city parks. The organization has many exciting initiatives in the works for 2022 including its Canadian City Parks Report, National Conference, Montreal Forum, TD Park People Grants and InTO the Ravines program, as well as the incredible Cornerstone Parks program for Canada’s large urban spaces.
Feature photo credit: Micah Donovan