It’s easy to forget that for many years EPIC was ‘merely’ an amazing annual conference. With the arrival of Jennifer Collier Jennings in 2014, and Rita Denny in 2019, EPIC has made the transition to a flourishing membership organization – a community with a year-round presence. In the collaborative space between these two individuals lies commitment, care, vision, vigorous execution, and an unfailing belief in the goals of EPIC and the power of this community.
It is therefore with much gratitude, but sadness, that we say goodbye to Rita Denny, who has been our Executive Director since 2019. A leading ethnographer whose rigorous work and inspired writing has elevated and galvanized our field for over two decades, Rita was uniquely qualified to be the first person to hold this position.
It is therefore with much gratitude, but sadness, that we say goodbye to Rita who has been, since January 2019, our Executive Director. A leading ethnographer whose rigorous work and inspired writing has elevated and galvanized our field for over two decades, Rita was uniquely qualified to be the first person to hold this position. Not only has she steered EPIC successfully through the painful uncertainties of a global pandemic, but she has overseen a 30% rise in our membership, significant growth in the geographical breadth of our members and conference attendees, and secured record sponsor support. A more robust operational infrastructure and expanded courses and learning options now support members in honing their skills and enhancing their professional development. All of these achievements enable a virtuous circle: EPIC is financially sustainable and able to provide intellectual and career sustenance to the community. We have all found strength in that community and a hallmark of Rita’s leadership has been her commitment to making EPIC a welcoming, inclusive, caring organization.
We are delighted to announce that Jennifer Collier Jennings is EPIC’s next Executive Director. By virtue of her strategic vision, ingenuity and an ethic of experimentation, she has shepherded EPIC into a year-round community and membership organization. She brings a wealth of talent, knowledge, critical reflection, technical expertise, creativity and a magnetizing passion for the EPIC enterprise.
We are delighted to announce that Jennifer Collier Jennings is EPIC’s next Executive Director. Jennifer was hired by EPIC’s Board to shepherd the transition from annual conference to a year-round community and membership organization. Since then, by virtue of her strategic vision, ingenuity and an ethic of experimentation, she has driven our community engagement and programming: the libraries, job board, Perspectives blog, tutorials, talks, courses, networking and more all emerged and flourished under her watchful eye. Jennifer’s long and illustrious career in publishing—developing award-winning literature in the social sciences, cultivating emergent work in applied ethnography, leading and growing organizations—provides a good foundation for much of what she has done, and will continue to do.
She brings a wealth of talent, knowledge, critical reflection, technical expertise, creativity and magnetizing passion for the EPIC enterprise. As EPIC continues to develop, her unrelenting belief in our mission (and willingness to ask searching questions about how we stay relevant), and exuberant collaborations with the members who are the lifeblood of our community, will keep EPIC in good stead.
Joining Jennifer are Precious Stephens and Crystal Morrow, respectively our new Communications & Content Manager and Director of Systems & Operations. Under Jennifer’s leadership, this team is sure to take EPIC to new heights. So please join us in welcoming Jennifer to her new role.
The EPIC Board:
Simon Roberts, President
Alexandra Zafiroglu, Secretary
Martha Cotton, Treasurer