The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has announced that Nicole Hylton-Patterson is stepping down from her role as director of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative after nearly three years heading the program. ANCA will convene a hiring committee made up of members of the economic development organization’s board and staff, as well as ADI Core Team members, to conduct a search for a new director.
Hylton-Patterson’s final day as ADI Director is Friday, October 14, 2022. The open job position will be posted on the ANCA website and shared broadly later this month.
“We are so grateful for Nicky and all the incredible work she has accomplished in such a short amount of time,” said ANCA Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper. “Nicky has led ADI with strong vision, energy and passion. She has always remained focused on the important and collaborative work that helps us build communities that are equitable, welcoming and resilient. We are thankful for her leadership and wish her the best in her newest endeavor.”
Hylton-Patterson was hired as ADI’s first director in December 2019, after ANCA received funding in the New York State budget to support leadership and program development for the Initiative. Established in 2015 as a volunteer-run group of nonprofit and community leaders dedicated to advancing strategies to create a more welcoming and inclusive Adirondack Park, the Initiative has achieved significant reach, growth and impact under Hylton-Patterson’s leadership.
Hylton-Patterson said her decision to leave ADI was driven by her wish to be closer to family and help in the care of her mother. She said that over the last three years, the Initiative has built a strong program structure and engaged collaborators across the North Country.
“I believe deeply in ADI and its mission to make the Adirondack North Country a more welcoming and inclusive place for ALL New Yorkers and visitors. This majestic place MUST be protected for future generations who will continue the work we have begun — to chart a future where human diversity is as revered, respected, and sustained as biodiversity,” Hylton-Patterson said.
“I am proud of the strides ADI has made over the last few years to increase understanding, compassion and action around issues of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging,” she added. “My successor will have the privilege to work with a team of hard-working staff, dedicated partners and committed volunteers who are driven to make positive change in their communities. I remain committed to those wonderful people and to supporting those efforts to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the region. Moreover, I look forward to returning to the ‘Dacks on a regular basis to hike, camp, and just plain soak up the pristine majesty that is the Adirondack Park.”
Under Hylton-Patterson’s leadership, ADI has become well established and recognized in the region, having developed and implemented a number of successful initiatives including its Emerging Stewards Program, Community Policing Initiative, Cultural Consciousness Trainings and a Business Welcoming Microcredential pilot program. ADI has built strong partnerships with organizations and community leaders to grow diversity, equity and inclusion awareness in North Country communities and build a sense of welcoming and belonging for all who wish to live, work or travel here.
During her time with ADI, Hylton-Patterson received Adirondack Wild’s 2020 Wild Stewardship Award for “initiating and elevating difficult conversations about race, shared power, and influence in the Adirondack region” and an award from Adirondack Council in 2021 for “making the Adirondack Park more welcoming, safe and inclusive for all.”
“Since the day Nicky was hired to lead the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, she has been a tireless advocate for advancing the dialogue, energy and action around inclusion, diversity, equity and justice in the North Country,” said Rocci Aguirre, Deputy Executive Director of the Adirondack Council and a founding member of ADI. “That she has accomplished so much in such a short amount of time speaks to her warrior spirit, her leadership, and her grace under pressure. It is bittersweet to see Nicky leave, but she leaves the North Country a better place for her time and work here. And she leaves ADI in a strong position to continue the work she has started. We wish Nicky only the best on her next adventure.”
Hylton-Patterson has accepted a position in Brooklyn, N.Y. as the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York — a human services nonprofit focused on improving the well-being of children, families, and individuals with developmental disabilities across New York City and Long Island. She will begin in her new position in late October.
Ahh bummer, this is a loss. 🙁 Hopefully ADI will be able to find a new leader soon!
Nicky, you have shown such poise and grace under fire, but also made our days and hopes for a better future so much brighter and more vivid. Thank you for the online diversity and inclusion and antiracism seminars you ran. Thank you for your abilities as a teacher, and for giving so much of yourself. And much luck for you in Brooklyn, and for your family and friends there. Your many friends in the Adirondacks will be there waiting for your return visits.