So much has happened this year that it’s hard to wrap it up in a nice bow. I stepped into the CEO role, got married, and my husband and I have been fostering two brothers. My personal life has gone through immense change, just like IGNITE. Our budget has grown by 60%, and we now have a staff of 40 full and part-time employees located across the country.
As 2021 closes, I want to share just a few reflections that influence how IGNITE will continue to champion change in the year to come.
Internally, our workforce is tired. They are struggling to juggle the many roles they play as caregivers, breadwinners, friends, and colleagues. We need to meet them where they are at and be supportive. I don’t want to make people choose between showing up as their authentic selves and maintaining a career. In 2022, I’m committed to creating new policies to support our staff’s health and wellbeing. We’ve already done summer Fridays. We hosted wellbeing workshops. And we’re looking at internal policies to help employees balance caregiving and work. 75% of the non-profit workforce are women, yet less than half serve in senior leadership positions, let alone CEOs. We have to invest in our people in new ways and reimagine what the workplace looks like in 2022 to retain the talent needed to lift up and inspire our young women.
Externally, we won’t reach gender parity in political leadership unless we break down the norms and narratives around young women and political power. That’s why we are taking the time to hear from young women about what needs to change in this country so that they can continue to step up. We want to ensure that when they do step up, their perspectives and experiences are valued, and they are accepted as leaders. IGNITE is going to embolden that shift across the country. Simultaneously, we must invest in the pipeline. We’re keeping our foot on the gas in the run-up to the midterms. We are ready to ensure that tens of thousands of young women have the tools, resources, and networks they need to launch and work on campaigns, knock on doors, register voters, and host conversations that encourage dialogue about what matters most in their communities.
I look forward to continuing our partnership on this critical work next year. Together, we can truly shift power across America.