Brian Kearney-Grieve, otherwise known at Mara Elephant Project as “BKG”, left a legacy that remains today. BKG was the physical manifestation of unity, he brought harmony, oneness and continuity to an emerging organization allowing MEP to flourish.
Brian faced every challenge head on and never shied away from hard work. He tackled complex problems with a calm and thoughtful demeanor and used his dry sense of humor and charm to engage others in problem solving. Brian was an excellent communicator and was able to lead people through tough situations, applying his tenacity until it was resolved.
BKG was born a mentor. He nurtured inexperienced people and was a trusted advisor for everyone on staff. His years of experience were openly shared, the good and the bad, with everyone he worked with, and we are all still reliant on the “BKG voice” on our shoulder.
Brian asked a lot of questions. He always wanted to get down to the root of everything and facilitated a work environment that championed exploration. He asked hard questions; he gave hard answers and it made everyone rise to the challenge. No detail was too small for Brian and no idea too big.
BKG was the best member of a team and facilitated teamwork for success. Operating as a global organization oftentimes means different time zones and work environments. Brian adopted procedures at MEP that enabled communication so that everyone was as good of a teammate as he was. He was willing to do any job at MEP and set the standard that everyone needed to pitch in to be a supportive teammate.
BKG had a youthful glee that was contagious. He’d get a look on his face, and you knew you were heading out for an adventure. He worked relentlessly but also knew how to have endless fun and always looped you into his antics.
Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, Brian lifted not only MEP, but other organizations working to have a global impact for people, wildlife and the environment. As the Sidekick Foundation, Inc. d/b/a Mara Elephant Project USA Executive Director, he championed efforts to connect American donors to Kenyan conservation efforts.
“Brian had a goal to improve the efforts towards achieving some sense of harmony between humans and wildlife. He faced a lot of challenges when maneuvering between local, national, and international interests, but he worked tirelessly managing these competing interests. Often frustrated, he nonetheless forged ahead in his goals. His efforts are evident in the growth and accomplishments MEP achieved in his years working with the organization. It is Brian’s efforts that have helped the organization be in the best financial position to effectively achieve it’s goals. Thank you, Brian!”Sidekick Foundation, Inc. Former Board Member Karen Kennelly
He spearheaded the initiative to put the conservation decision making in Kenyan hands by creating Mara Elephant Project Trust in Kenya and building strategies, budgets, policies and procedures from the ground up. He took an emerging organization and gave it a professional polish that allowed for rapid growth and significant impact.
“Brian first came to a MEP board meeting in a suit. This changed quickly but his mentorship of me was always professional and invaluable. His governance guidance for the organization changed MEP forever, we soon became a professionally run organization under his watch. Brian soon became a close friend of mine and was always there to support you and give wonderful gentle advice. Fly high bwana Brian, you’re truly missed and always will be.”MEP CEO Marc Goss
Brian put all of his U.N.I.T.Y. qualities to work championing a framework for the Greater Mara Ecosystem (GME) that is now being undertaken by MEP and partners. He dreamed big and envisioned a conservation model that focused on collaboration and a funding model that supports every organization’s work to conserve the GME.
Nothing Brian took on was ever half done. He committed his full self and brought you along with him making you feel a part of something bigger than yourself. Now that our harmonious leader has passed, we all feel a bit adrift, but luckily his legacy of unity sustains us.
Brian has been given an Emeritus Trustee position on the Mara Elephant Project Trust. His family has started a fundraising campaign in his honor, which will benefit MEP and close partner The Maa Trust.
A celebration of life will be held in the Mara in May.