by Greg Joly
I have a vivid memory of meeting the Langer/Defranza family at a spring Good Life Center Group of Stewards retreat in 1997 or so. Helen had passed less than 2 years before and the Trust for Public Land was in charge of a 3 year interregnum that was designed to make a fledgling GLC into an independent, self-sustaining entity. Karen Defranza, Jocelyn’s mother, was a dynamic force in this construction and remained so for well over a decade. Jocelyn must have been 16 or so at this retreat, but she was already a talented, poised and seriously organized young woman. She had a wonderfully clarifying way of explaining thorny issues that could stymie the Stewards’ meetings (then numbering sometimes north of 30) in arcane asides and philosophically charged disagreements. As she grew, her abilities only sharpened in acuity until finally around 2007 she served on the GLC Board and became one of its most effective Chairs. Although I had sworn never to allow myself to be appointed to the Board, Jocelyn reasoned me into accepting the responsibility and even reasoned me into being Chair. As we worked together, I became even more impressed with her managerial skills, her unfaltering ability to elucidate bylaw discordances and her unwavering respect for each individual’s right to speak their mind. She was also decisive in moving a motion forward in order to keep needed actions from floundering in inaction or internecine strife. Though I am 20 years her senior, I can proudly say that she was my mentor. And so it was a great honor when she asked me to be a reference in her candidacy for Executive Director of the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA/Mass). The Good Life Center is fortunate to have been gifted the myriad abilities of such a talented individual. It is also true that I am thankful that the GLC provided the testing ground for her talents so that she was prepared to apply for a position she has worked so hard to deserve and garner. Congratulations to you, Jocelyn. Now another well-deserving organization will be enriched by your talents.