A Message to the Global Seed Savers Community

A Message to the Global Seed Savers Community

Every year of my life, I try to pick up a lesson that becomes a theme. Some of the more significant ones have been:

2019 – withhold judgment

2020 – let go of control to make room for miracles

2021 – travel inward

2022 was a very tricky year to navigate. I once joked to a friend that this year for me was like Murphy’s law having a love child with entropy. I have tried and tried to distill the lesson that I will carry with me into the future. It’s encapsulated in this phrase: seasons of grace. 

Our lives are marked by seasons and seasons bring changes. Some are easy and uplifting and some, well, some seasons just knock us off of our feet. When we are in the midst of life’s storms, the best thing to being armed with, I am learning, is grace. 

Grace can be understood in many ways. But the most akin to what I mean are these: the refinement of movement but also, the ability to forgive, withhold judgment, live and let live. 

As I close my last days with Global Seed Savers Philippines, I am reminded again of the beauty of the heart-centered relationships I have been given the grace to be part of. I am in a season of change but this change has been brought about by the movement of stories, people, and time through me. 

My life has genuinely become deeper, more meaningful, and more colorful because of my interactions with the farmers we work with, my teammates, my colleagues, and my friends. I look to the horizon and try to see all possibilities, and my heart is assured that this is not the last time our paths will cross. That’s the reassurance of knowing that our work is not yet done. There will be future projects, collaborations, and advocacies that will call us together again.

Thank you for every smile, every hug, every seed planted, lesson learned, story entrusted, confidence shared, and help given. I am stepping away from GSSP but I am not extricating myself from the warp and weft that bind us in this beautiful tapestry we have created together. 

I would like to close as I opened and leave everyone with this quote from Arundhati Roy:

The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget. 

Be well,

Karen Lee Hizola, Executive Director of Global Seed Savers Philippines is stepping away from the organization after 7 years of leadership.

Karen Lee Hizola, Executive Director of Global Seed Savers Philippines is stepping away from the organization after 7 years of leadership.

Karen joined GSSP in 2016 and has been instrumental in our growth, development, and success over the last seven years. Karen led the expansion of our programs from our founding community in Tublay, Benguet to regions throughout the Philippines, in particular, leading our strategic growth and partnership development into her home community of Cebu. Karen also adapted, designed, and implemented an improved curriculum of our signature training program, Seed School and Seed School Teacher Training, bringing cultural design, awareness, and improved teaching methods to our partners.

During her tenure with the organization, she had the opportunity to travel and represent GSSP around the globe: including a trip to our US headquarters in Denver, Colorado for Seed School and serving as the keynote at our Annual Nourish Celebration in 2018, speaking at the ECHO Asia Impact Center conference in Thailand in 2019, and most recently representing GSSP at the FAO ITPGRFA Treaty in New Delhi, India in September 2022. 

“Karen has been the ideal trusted partner and co-leader these last seven years. Her personal style and heart centered leadership has been a key to our success and growth during her tenure! Without her commitment, passion, and hard work, Global Seed Savers Philippines would not be the thriving organization it is today. Karen has left a permanent mark on the organization and while we are sad to see her go, we wish her well in all her future endeavors and hope she will remain a strong supporter of GSSP.” 

Shares, Sherry Manning, Founder and US Executive Director.  

Karen’s last day with the organization will be on January 31st. 

We will begin our search for our next Philippines Executive Director later this month. More details to follow with a job description.