Funding the World We Want to See: Sonal Sachdev Patel

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Sonal Sachdev Patel, writer, activist and CEO of GMSP Foundation.

sonal sachdev patel
Sonal Sachdev Patel, CEO of God My Silent Partner Foundation (GMSP) Foundation. (Photo courtesy Sonal Sachdev Patel)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

So much. I wish I had known to go straight to the grassroots. The civil society leaders on the frontlines know what their communities need and know how to deliver it. But they’re constrained by a funding environment that is too often inflexible, impatient and imperialistic in terms of who drives the agenda. When we started in 2006, we were giving project-based funds. After listening to our local partners, we shifted to unrestricted funding.

Read More

Lucina Di Meco: Why We Need More Women Making Decisions

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Lucina Di Meco, Senior Director of Gender Equality and Girls’ Education at Room to Read and author of #ShePersisted. Women, Politics & Power in the New Media World

lucina di meco
Lucina Di Meco (Image Credit: Lucina Di Meco)
  1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

It’s more important to do what you truly believe in and makes you happy and excited, than what you think might look good on your resume. To a young woman in my field I would say: do the meaningful work that you enjoy doing, and trust that something good will come out of it.

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

Read More

Measurable Pathways to Equity: UNICEF USA’s Cristina Shapiro

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features the President of UNICEF USA’s Impact Fund for Children, Cristina Shapiro.

pathways to equity
Cristina Shapiro (Photo courtesy of Cristina Shapiro)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

Don’t make perfect the enemy of good — or great. Research shows that women feel like they need to be perfect and fully knowledgeable before they contribute or apply to new opportunities — I certainly did, and it likely held me back at the beginning of my career. 

Another thing I wish I realized was that equality and equity are not the same. Though women may have equal rights in many parts of the world, that doesn’t mean they have the same access to opportunities, resulting in significant inequity. As a Hispanic woman in finance, there were very few role models that looked like me. Now, I know it is up to me to help change that dynamic.

Read More

Riki Wilchins: Gender Norms and Intersectionality

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Riki Wilchins, executive director of the nonprofit TrueChild and author of, “Gender Norms & Intersectionality: Connecting Race, Class and Gender.”

Riki Wilchins, courtesy: Riki Wilchins

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I’d realized how difficult and slow social change is. I think when you’re younger, you’re a bit more optimistic. But, any kind of real change takes years, maybe decades, of constant effort and attention. 

What is your current greatest professional challenge?

Our goal is getting people to think intersectionally, so they connect race, class and gender norms. The challenge is two-fold: most organizations don’t know how to talk about gender norms, or if they do, they disconnect it from factors like race and class.

Read More

How Canada is Pushing for Better Mental Health Care for Women

Editor’s Note: This edition of our Feminist Giving IRL (in real life) series features Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, Clinician Scientist and Physician-in-Chief at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health hospital and a global research leader. She is the clinical lead of CAMH womenmind, a new effort from CAMH to close the gender gap in mental health.  She is also a Professor and Vice Chair Clinical and Innovation in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. 

mental health
Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, Clinician Scientist and Physician-in-Chief at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) (Photo credit: CAMH)

1.       What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

Read More

Power to Decide: Ginny Ehrlich on Repro Rights and Access

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of the nonprofit Power to Decide, “the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy.” 

Ginny Ehrlich, courtesy: Ginny Ehrlich

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

When I started my career, I really wish I had truly understood the breadth of possibilities available to me. Early on, I had a limited view of what I could achieve professionally. But I have been extremely fortunate to have exceeded even my wildest professional dreams. So, what I have learned is that with grit and vision, anything is possible.  

What is your current greatest professional challenge?

Read More

Own Your Power: Elizabeth Yntema on Gender Equality in Dance

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elizabeth Yntema, president and founder of the Dance Data Project (DDP), which promotes “equity in all aspects of classical ballet by providing a metrics-based analysis through our database while showcasing women-led companies, festivals, competitions, venues, special programs and initiatives.” 

dance
Elizabeth Yntema, president and founder of the Dance Data Project (courtesy: Elizabeth Yntema)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had had a female mentor, and she had reassured me that success isn’t defined by a linear path. I have been a corporate attorney, a lobbyist, worked as the Director of Governmental Affairs of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, was employed part-time as a consultant, opened an art gallery and, with three small children, focused on volunteering for a time. Now, I use every single one of my experiences and skills acquired over the decades. 

Read More

When Work Resonates with Your Values: Maricella Herrera of Ellevate

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Maricella Herrera, vice president of Operations and Strategy at Ellevate Network, “a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed.”

maricella herrera
Maricella Herrera (courtesy of Maricella Herrera)

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

When I first started out, I thought my career was already laid out for me; I was going into my first job at a bank, I would rise in the ranks, get more responsibility, go to business school, go back to finance and keep going until I retired. It was what was expected. I never really understood that to be completely happy, I needed to find something that didn’t just intellectually stimulate me, but that resonated with my values. I didn’t know you could build a career in an area that was about doing good. When I first started out, social enterprises were nascent. Not many people were thinking about them. I wish I had known I could find my passion and what I’m good at in one place, and that it wouldn’t necessarily be what everyone else thought I was supposed to be doing, and that that was ok. My background is in business and finance, so knowing I can use those skills to make a difference in the world is exciting.

Read More

Pat Mitchell: How To Wield Power through Women’s Media

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Pat Mitchell, trailblazing media executive, Emmy award-winning and Oscar-nominated producer, Board Chair of Women’s Media Center and Sundance Institute, and Editorial Director of TEDWomen.

1. Your new book Becoming A Dangerous Woman chronicles your personal journey to becoming a media trailblazer. What was it like to go back and look at your life through the lens of your multifaceted role in advocating for women?

pat mitchell
In this edition of our Feminist Giving IRL series, Pat Mitchell discusses overcoming imposter syndrome and becoming more engaged in fostering women’s media. (Photo Credit: Lynn Savarese)

I began the book four years ago when the Rockefeller Foundation president offered me a writing residency at Bellagio, encouraging me to extend my global mentoring and women’s leadership work by sharing my own stories from life and work. That residency was a great head start, but when I returned home, I found it hard to put aside the highly engaged ‘life’ I was committed to (and enjoying!) to write about my life, especially to look reflectively backward, as I’ve always been someone determined to keep moving forward.

Read More

Designing More Equitable Systems: Dianne Chipps Bailey

Editor’s Note:  This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Dianne Chipps Bailey, Managing Director, National Philanthropy Strategy and Executive Philanthropic Solutions at Bank of America.

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

Dianne Chipps Bailey
Dianne Chipps Bailey, Managing Director, National Philanthropy Strategy Executive Philanthropic Solutions at Bank of America.

Trust! I wish I had known to trust that my unconventional but deeply authentic professional journey would lead me to a place such as Bank of America’s Philanthropic Solutions strategy team, where we leverage our industry expertise to help our nonprofit clients achieve bold goals. In moments of uncertainty – and there have been many – I wish I’d known to: Trust your informed instincts. Trust mentors who often know you better than you know yourself. Trust that even roadblocks often are for your good. Trust that when your passion and purpose are aligned, success will follow. Trust that when you leap, the net will find you!

Read More