Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That’s their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood. – Gloria Steinem
We’ve spent the last several months at Women AdvaNCe questioning the status quo. Nonprofit 101 would tell you that any organization needs one executive director. It needs administrative staff – a bookkeeper, assistants, human resources, a governing board. And while we know several successful partner organizations where this model is effective, earlier this year we began to wonder if this “patriarchal” approach was appropriate for our organization.
We began to question – WHY?
For more than five years we have sought and succeeded in empowering women across the state. We inform and engage with more than 10,000 people a month. We provide knowledge they need to be informed citizens. We invite them to share their truths as members of our Writer’s Collective. In our experiences, we find the most fulfillment and the most success when we engage with women directly in the communities in which they live.
Beyond that, we’ve realized that our consortium of women in our circle represents a vast and rich array of valuable skill sets that not one person could possibly possess. We have experts in communications, writing, strategic engagement, transformational coaching, marketing and more.
It is for all these reasons that we are re-inventing what a nonprofit has to look like. Over many cups of coffee, maybe a couple glasses of wine, laughter, hugs and healthy debate we have devised a model that supports our mission. Going forward, our nonprofit will be lead by a Leadership Team comprised of four women.
Laura Edwards is the Founder and Board Chair of Women AdvaNCe. She is a trailblazing civic leader with a passion for women’s issues, social justice, environment, and the arts. Edwards has been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious civilian honors in our state. She resides in Chapel Hill.
Antionette Kerr is a nonprofit leader, syndicated journalist, author, and lover of all poetry. The Lexington, NC native spent her youth living in pockets of economically-distressed neighborhoods. Antionette studied journalism and African American history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she began researching and writing about the influence of race, gender, and politics. She now lives in Huntersville, outside of Charlotte.
Stephanie Carson went to school to be a foreign war correspondent, earning degrees in Broadcast News and International Politics, and now finds herself writing about the rights of people who live and work here at home. She is a recipient of two Emmy’s and an Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Journalism and lives in Asheville.
Kim Pevia is an experienced life strategist, an engaging keynote speaker, and a uniquely skilled experiential style transformational workshop facilitator. Her company, K.A.P., Inner Prizes, specializes in identifying and addressing the issues that can keep us stuck by continually developing a personalized toolbox to help us hurdle over them. She currently lives in Robeson County, NC where her roots run deep as a member of the Lumbee Tribe.
In addition to our team of four that hails from all corners of the state, representing diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, hobbies, cultural traditions and experiences, we will continue to be governed by our fabulous and dedicated Board of Directors who we applaud for being willing to take a chance on our model.
Beyond collecting the best skill sets in this approach, the fact we live in all corners of the state affords us the ability to have more one on one experiences with you. You can expect to see us in the coming months in your communities and we invite you to further engage. We invite you to join our sisterhood to AdvaNCe Change, because we know that as a state and a country we know WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS – and we are energized by the forward motion we see in our fellow sisters.
And while we move forward with confidence after our months of discussion and planning, we feel honored to have this feedback from the esteemed Center for American Progress.
“Women are under attack in so many different ways right now. That is why it’s important to see groups like Women AdvaNCe demonstrate an understanding for the leadership needed to effectively harness women’s activism at this important crossroads,” said Shilpa Phadke, Vice President of the Women’s Initiative at CAP.
So join us. And we challenge you to question the status quo in your own life. We believe “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”
We’re ready to move forward, bravely and show what collaborative leadership can look like.