December Director’s Report


Holidays are for Humans

Before you begin, this tale has a happy ending…

As I write these words, I am receiving yet another alert on my phone about a school shooting. I am ordering flowers for a dear friend whose celebration is laced with grief. I am convincing people of the worth of women. I am counseling my daughter through her first heartbreak. I am witnessing people exercise philanthropy in innovative ways to reach those who need it most. 

Humanity is crashing into me at every turn. 

We use the word “reach” a lot in the nonprofit world. We are all in pursuit of reaching donors, reaching goals, reaching people….reaching the flame to put out the fires of society. Some days it feels like things are just a little too out of reach. 

And then I meet women like “Jane” and “Ruby” who restore my faith in the pursuit of reaching for things beyond our own capacity. “Jane” left corporate America to choose the illusive dream that she could find purpose in both working and raising a family simultaneously. She started a nonprofit that serves women in the most dire of circumstances. She often works with “Ruby” who helps her find funding and serves on her board of directors. “Ruby” has a successful career in finance. She serves on multiple boards across the city connecting people to their passion (which often aligns with her own passions). “Ruby” recognizes her role as a successful women means she has a duty to see that more women realize that same dream. You may never meet “Jane” and “Ruby” because credit is not their motive. But…you can be sure they understand their role in society. They are savvy, innovative women who find a way to “yes”.  They are reaching beyond their own capacity to achieve great impact. 

It’s the sort of work that is only made easier by creating and convening more individuals who interact with their community like “Jane” and “Ruby” do. They are demonstrating what they are FOR. They are the kind of female leaders we are building. Each of us can name a “Jane” or “Ruby” close to us who never see the spotlight for the impact they are making. 

We have an important opportunity that we mustn’t miss right now. More and more, women are influencing what decision-making spaces ought to look like. We are sharing our ideas and having them heard like never before. It is our moment for our unique and authentic leadership to shine. “Jane” and “Ruby” are seizing this moment. Our CWLI team is working to scale the innovative leadership we observe in women like them. Together we are creating the kind of density our world needs to move FORward united. 

December is a time for reflection. We look back on what has been and toward what should be. 2019 has been a busy year for our CWLI team. Please take a look below at what we have accomplished and understand the importance of the role you played in this success. Our organization has changed dramatically this year and, I hope, it is and will continue to be a better reflection of the things women want to see happening throughout our community. 

Thank you for your patience as we build a movement. Your voice and your fingerprints have shaped our new direction. Since the fall of 2018, we have hosted more than a dozen focus groups, interviewed numerous corporate partners, and conducted a survey all while serving more than 1200 people and totally revamping our entire program model. Although you may not have seen all of this work happening, you can be sure we are responding to a new era for professional women. Our best is yet to come!

 It’s time to shine the spotlight on the amazing female leaders in our midst. It’s time for CWLI to elevate our platform so we can advance our mission to increase the leadership capabilities and influence of women. It’s time to embrace the best parts of being female…of being human. It’s time to use this superpower for some good in our world! 

This holiday season, we celebrate all the beautiful humans in our lives. We embrace all of the roles that make up our humanity: worker, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, wife. Whatever makes you a whole human, love that person this season. What is it that you need to have said? Who needs to hear it? How can CWLI help you ask what needs to happen and help you make it happen? 

Change takes work. That’s why every January 1, we get a new opportunity to address the change that needs to happen. We get to hit reset and take on the challenge of learning something we didn’t know before. We get to look around us and take inventory of the good that is happening and then go multiply it. We hope you choose to do that with us in 2020. 

Enjoy the holidays with your friends and family and then…get ready…it’s time to have a lot of fun as we move FORward: Mapping a Positive Future for Professional Women! 

Happy Holidays,

Kim Shumpert