Tell us a bit about your experience working at Girls Inc. – how did you end up here and what drew you to this organization?
Before we became Girls Inc. in 2002, we were Big Sisters, a social services agency. I was hired by Big Sisters immediately after college when I was referred to the organization by a friend. At this time, I worked as a case manager working with families involved in the Department of Human Services for about 2-3 years. Between 2001- 2011, I held the following positions: Mentoring Coordinator, Community Services Coordinator, Education, Training and Outreach Coordinator, Delinquency Prevention Unit Manager, Manager of Mentoring Services. I really enjoyed helping others, but I found my groove planning and facilitating programs for girls and families either doing after-school programs, summer camps, or strengthening families parenting groups. I served as Girls Inc.’s Interim Executive Director from 2011-2014. Being the Interim ED was the most challenging task of my professional life, but I took this responsibility on because of my commitment to this organization and to the girls – I refused to let the doors close on this organization. I like to call Girls Inc. in Philadelphia “the little girl that could” – we’ve faced some major challenges, but we are still standing! Not only are we still standing, but we are thriving. We are in a rapid growth phase right now and I believe we’ve really hit our stride. Right now, we’re focused on our intentional programming, outcomes data, training of staff, and the cultivation of female leaders within our organization. It’s so exciting to see us go from seeing about 100 girls participating in Girls Inc. programming (in 2002) when I was the only person facilitating Girls Inc. programs on an after-school basis to seeing approximately 2,916 girls this year alone.
What are some things that you are most proud of as it relates to your work with Girls Inc. and where do you see the organization 20 years from now?
I am so proud of our growth and where we are today. I am proud of our board and staff and their level of commitment to the girls that we serve. I am proud of our amazing girls! This organization is part of who I am, and I am just proud to be a part of it.
Twenty years from now we’ll be Girls Inc. of Pennsylvania – and possibly all of New Jersey too. I am not satisfied until every girl regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or religion, has received Girls Inc. programming. I hope by this point everyone understands the value of Girls Inc. programs and how any girl can benefit.
Who is your strong, smart and bold “shero” (female superhero)?
My momma is my strong, smart, and bold shero! My mom is the epitome strength, character, resilience, and has a wicked sense of humor. She is a doer – if she makes up her mind to do something, nothing gets in her way. She’s smart, she has so much spunk, but most importantly she is one of the most generous people I’ve ever met. My mom is my biggest champion and she provides me with daily encouragement and affirmation. She was the first person to tell me I was special, she encourages me to never to give up, she reminds me of the bigger picture, and she has taught me how to trust myself which is important for all girls and women to learn. My mom is fantastic and whenever she decides to retire her shero cape I think I may be able to put it on… (I think).