Building Our Shared Leadership: ROP Announces Co-Directors

Dear ROP Family,

I am writing to tell you about a recent decision of the ROP board.  We are very excited and pleased to announce that we have changed the staff structure at ROP and that Cara Shufelt and Jessica Campbell are now serving as co-directors of our dynamic organization!

ROP is constantly seeking ways to strengthen and build leadership because leaders are the heart of our organization, whether that leadership be in small towns, in rural communities, on the board or on the staff.  Adopting a Co-Director model is another example of building on our shared leadership model.

Cara and Jess proposed this idea to us as a way to validate how they actually do their work.  They are a team, and like any team, each individual member brings their strengths to the work.  They are operating as a unit, strategizing together about our organizing and also making decisions about how the maintenance of the organization will be done. Their unique and shared gifts complement each other.  Together they will support and collaboratively lead the various staff and volunteers and board members who might be best and available to make things happen.

Their arguments made a lot of sense to us – they have both been around ROP for years and have recently co-led us through a very difficult, yet exciting year – growing the organization, helping to build and support our local human dignity groups – while also facing threats and intimidation from the anti-democratic right-wing groups that are active in Oregon.  They are able to support and challenge each other while providing leadership to the rest of us who are involved in ROP.  The whole is truly greater than the sum of the parts.

Cara told us, “I could not be more thrilled about the opportunity to serve as Co-Director with Jess.  As an Organizer and then Organizing Director at ROP, her visionary leadership has transformed our work.  She’s made our rural roots even more tangible by establishing another ROP office in Cottage Grove.  She’s a smart, fierce, powerful, nimble and strong leader and we are so lucky that she calls ROP her organizing home!”

Jess met ROP when she was still a student and working on local projects in Cottage Grove and then became a board member.  “When I first met Cara in downtown Cottage Grove over 11 years ago, I had no idea I was joining the incredible family of tenacious rural folks organizing for human dignity that is the Rural Organizing Project.  For years ROP fed my soul and reinvigorated my hope, at every Board meeting and every Caucus.  Joining staff was a dream come true, offering me the opportunity to support and organize with literally thousands of rural Oregonians in some of the most rural communities in the state.  In this next phase of my tenure at ROP, I am honored and thrilled to serve as Co-Director alongside Cara in such a powerful moment, and to continue to build the movement for human dignity and justice community-by-community and county-by-county.”

So, we hope that you will all join us in doing two things: congratulate Cara and Jess as our new staff leadership team, and work with them to build ROP into an even stronger force for justice for all in rural Oregon!  Be sure to give them your congratulations in person at the 25th annual Rural Caucus & Strategy Session this weekend or send them an email at and

Bruce Morris, ROP Board Chair
On behalf of the ROP Board of Directors