Madeleine Para named President of CCL
We are excited to announce that Madeleine Para is now officially President of CCL. Formerly Vice President of Programs, this new title reflects Madeleine’s impact on our day-to-day activities and on CCL as a whole over her time on staff.
“I’m thrilled to deepen and expand my partnership with Madeleine in this new role,” said Mark Reynolds, CCL’s Executive Director. “2021 will be a major year for climate action, and together with the rest of CCL’s staff and volunteers, we’re ready to meet the moment.”
Madeleine agrees. “In CCL, we’re determined to do something that hasn’t been done before, so I keep listening and learning constantly. Things are coming to a head this year, and I’m excited about that.”
But let’s put aside the big picture for a moment and celebrate Madeleine herself!
The beginning of the road
“When I started in CCL as a volunteer in 2011, I was just happy to find an organization that made sense to me,” Madeleine remembers. “I just wanted to do whatever I could to head off the climate crisis. This was a tiny organization then.”
Steve Valk, one of CCL’s earliest staffers, remembers that Madeleine started off by running a CCL chapter in Madison, Wisconsin. He says, “Within a couple of years, she organized the whole state,” eventually coming on staff.
“We were all so busy at that time,” says Director of Congressional Liaisons and Lobby Days, Amy Bennett. “What I remember is that she jumped in and went to work!”
Brett Cease, CCL’s Education and Engagement Director, remembers meeting Madeleine at our 2011 conference in D.C. It was “a week of personal and political transformations” for Brett, as well as his first time meeting with his members of Congress. “I got to process our experiences for a full 24 hours all the way back home, carpooling with her and her wonderful husband, Glen. Right then, I knew I had found a lifelong friend and mentor.”
Building bridges and supporting staff
Since those early days, Madeleine’s commitment to the cause and her skill at this work have only become clearer.
“I have always appreciated Madeleine’s ability to seek out and listen to many stakeholders, often with divergent opinions, and be able to bring people together in a shared common goal, which is absolutely essential for our work with Citizens’ Climate Lobby,” Brett says.
“She focuses our attention on our basic values, modeling that behavior for us all to follow,” Amy says. “Just watch any of the calls she leads — always full of appreciation, gratitude and respect.”
In particular, Program Director Don Addu says, “Madeleine’s work with the Regional Coordinators and the Program Department is second to none.” The Regional Coordinators themselves agree!
Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator Sabrina Fu says, “I have never met anyone who is so good at listening and so good at empowering.” Great Lakes Regional Coordinator Elizabeth Dell adds, “She inspires leadership in those around her,” recalling that it was Madeleine who first got her to step up and become the state coordinator for Michigan.
Iona Lutey remembers her first interaction with Madeleine in 2014. “I called her in tears out of frustration that I didn’t think I was an effective group leader!” She doesn’t remember exactly what Madeleine said to comfort her, but she does remember, “My heart filled with faith and confidence, and I hung in for the duration. Madeleine continues to be my rudder and soul support.”
It’s safe to say Don speaks for all of CCL’s staff when he says, “I’m excited to have Madeleine as our new President and am confident her expanded leadership role will only benefit our efforts across the country.”
To learn more about each of CCL’s staff members, check out our “Team” page and bios.