Berry Appointed As New KBB Executive Director

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The Board of Directors has appointed Katie Cooper Berry as the new Executive Director to take the reins at Keep Bermuda Beautiful.

A spokesperson said, “The Board of Directors has appointed Katie Cooper Berry as the new Executive Director to take the reins at Keep Bermuda Beautiful. Ms. Berry beat out more than three dozen applicants to win the lead role at one of Bermuda’s oldest environmental charities.

“Outgoing Anne Hyde will retire at the end of January and leave the post after more than a decade. During her tenure, Ms. Hyde became adept at juggling the many roles in this one-person office to lead community cleanups, teach environmental education, and fundraise for the organization.

“Through her efforts and with the support of the Board of Directors, KBB has been able to expand its outreach into neighbourhoods, support regular cleanups across the island, and organize hundreds of volunteers who give thousands of hours of their time. So many people look benevolently upon KBB which has been serving the community since 1964.

“What does KBB mean to you? If you’ve grown up in Bermuda, chances are you grew up with KBB in the classroom at school. Or maybe you joined a cleanup recently in your neighbourhood or on a favourite beach. Thousands of residents young and old have taken an active part in keeping Bermuda beautiful, clean, green and healthy.

“Whatever your connection to KBB, its simple message to encourage individual action and positive behaviour to care for the environment has left an indelible imprint in our minds and hearts. The clarion call to pay attention to our planet and stop treating it badly came from a schoolgirl from Sweden, along with Sir David Attenborough who brought beauty and abundance of life on earth right through our TV screen and into our living room.

“While we may rejoice that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, we should also recognize that our good fortune could disappear if we neglect our ecology and trash the place. Our natural beauty is one of Bermuda’s biggest assets and KBB plays a vital role in protecting that asset.

A look back over Ms. Hyde’s time at KBB, Board member Sue Black gives this tribute, “With a passion for community improvement, Ms. Hyde has worked tirelessly to live and breathe KBB’s mission to educate and engage Bermuda’s residents and visitors to keep our island beautiful for the past 12 years.

“From school assemblies and camps to corporate community service days, to cleaning up Admiralty Park with the Governor, Ms. Hyde has been a leader mobilizing residents, helping them to clean up trash, paint over graffiti and bring lasting improvements. She has been instrumental in KBB’s leading role with the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce and the research now continuing with Look Bermuda’s Nonsuch Schools Project studying the marine plastics debris that lands on Bermuda.

“She has also attended numerous international conferences representing Bermuda and developed her skillset to bring new activities to Bermuda, such as the cigarette litter prevention and Adopt-A-Spot programmes and developed the Trash Art Show held at BSoA. She has ensured that Bermuda participates in and reports its findings from the annual Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup and continues to push for Bermuda to recycle.”

The retiree herself says, “It’s been an amazing experience to work in a job that I have come to love. I have met and made friends with so many wonderful people. I was hired in 2009 as a consultant to help the KBB Board restructure, and took the full-time position of Executive Director in 2010 to run the day-to-day operations.

“By 2012, KBB was able to reach 3,000 volunteers, both students and adults. It has stayed pretty steady on that number with the exception of last year due to the pandemic. We have modified our cleanup guidelines to include Covid-19 precautions and comply with Health Department advisories and been able to continue our work without much interruption.

“We have continued our School Litter Lessons which deliver curriculum-related science out on the school sports field, safely at a distance, or via Zoom. But it has always been a bit of a juggling act to teach, and run cleanups, as well as perform all the administrative functions including fundraising for KBB.”

A spokesperson added, “The one-person model is not sustainable for KBB so in addition to hiring Ms. Berry as the new Executive Director, KBB has plans to expand its capacity to better serve Bermuda and all its residents. Ms. Berry has a proven track record for fund development, and under her leadership, KBB will launch a new campaign in the coming months to spearhead the expansion drive and if all goes well, hire a second person as Programme Manager by next fall. KBB is turning over a new leaf and eager to engage with more individuals and companies who believe in our mission.

“It is time for KBB to expand its reach and be able to teach more residents of Bermuda how to care for this beautiful place we call home. It’s time to pass the baton to the next person, and there is no better person for the role than Katie Berry.

“Ms. Berry started volunteering for KBB’s clean ups at a very young age when she was at Port Royal Primary, and like so many Bermudians, has fond memories of time spent outside with family and friends helping to Keep Bermuda Beautiful. She is eminently qualified with an MBA under her belt and 18 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, most recently as Chair of Kaleidoscope. Ms. Berry is eager to get started, alongside the KBB Board, to implement a new plan for strategic organizational growth which will increase KBB’s capacity and build on Ms Hyde’s success.”

Ms. Berry says, “We are living in extraordinary times. Change is happening at a rapid pace alongside a global pandemic. We are being asked to adapt to living locally without the usual opportunities to travel, yet significant global events are happening all around us and impacting us. Taking care of our natural resources and beauty has never seemed so important as we engage with all that is happening in the world.

“Meanwhile we need to continue to explore and live on our tiny part of it. It is my hope that residents and neighbourhoods will support the ongoing success of Keep Bermuda Beautiful as we work locally to clean up our island, while also working globally to address the big issues of plastic pollution and a changing climate. I encourage everyone to join KBB as a member and do what they can to help the environment. If you would like to learn more about opportunities to get involved, please get in touch.”