Dear DFA Community,

After five years of dedicated service we would like to share that in mid-August Sami Nerenberg will be stepping down from her role as DFA’s Associate Director. She will be moving back to California where she is from to be closer to her family. In the spirit of DFA, she has accepted a position as the Executive Director of the Alliance, a nonprofit in the Bay Area supporting female and minority entrepreneurs.

We are incredibly proud and thankful for all that she has done and will soon begin a search for a new director. Under her leadership, DFA has grown from 40 students at Northwestern University to soon to be 1,000 students at 29 universities across the US. She has developed DFA initiatives such our studio application process, Leadership Studio, corporate sponsored projects and grown a cohesive team and culture where people are proud and excited to show up to work everyday.  We took a moment to ask Sami a few questions before she departs:

What are some lessons you’ve learned during your time at DFA?

DFA has been an incredible opportunity to grow personally and professionally, and I found that these two types of growth often compliment each other. Since DFA is based at Northwestern University, it was also great to be able to get a masters in Learning and Organizational Change part-time to help me gain needed skills while on the job and learn from all the amazing staff and faculty around me. In particular, being a part of the Segal Design Institute has been a big influence on how I see an effective workplace to be.

What do you see as next for DFA?

I’m really excited about DFA’s future. We are in the process of a five year strategic plan, led in part by XPLANE. We are still fleshing everything out, but I expect DFA to gain greater clarity on the world we are trying to create and expand our reach significantly to make a deep impact on how this generation approaches problem solving and creating impact. We’ll need to continue to package and refine our materials while relying on partners in communities across the US to ensure all of our teams can thrive and I’m excited about the team we are building to lead these efforts.

What’s next for you?

I’ll be moving back to the Bay Area and living in Oakland. My new position as executive director of the Alliance is a great chance to continue the work I’ve started at DFA and work towards building a more just and equitable economy for all, which is something I am very passionate about. I’m thrilled that I’ll have so much family nearby after being gone for 12 years on the East Coast and Midwest, so I’m excited to begin this new chapter in my life.

Several of our stellar DFA team members will be staying on to take the helm and we will soon begin a search for a new director. Please join us in thanking Sami and wishing her the best of luck!