“The difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.” – Michelle Obama
I had a conversation recently with a colleague about women in leadership, more specifically about the challenges and opportunities women of color experience in executive roles. As we wrapped up our call she paused for a moment and shared a reflection that has stayed with me over the last several months: “when women lead,” she said, “we lead together.”
There’s so much truth in what she said. It’s been one full year since I stepped into the role of CEO – since then we’ve welcomed two incredible Executive Directors, making this the first time in GO’s 13-year history that our senior leadership team is entirely woman-led.
What I’ve seen with this leadership team and within and across our local teams is a real commitment to collaboration. We’ve launched our first organization-wide campaign – supporting financial aid completion efforts across our communities – and we’ve carved out intentional spaces where we can learn with and from each other. Our family networks, too, have come together over discussions about improving math and literacy proficiency, student mental health needs, college access and success, and the importance of self care for parents.
We’ve also strengthened how we work with organizations and developed new partnerships to address both new and longstanding challenges in education and education-adjacent issues. This shift has reinforced the value of diverse perspectives and increased our ability to achieve impact. And, it’s no surprise to me that so many of our community partners – old and new – are also led by women.
Togetherness has really been a theme of ours and I’m excited to see where it takes us in this new chapter. The work you and I believe in was never meant to be done in silos. The fight for educational equity and justice truly takes a village and I’m honored to be beside you.