Press Releases

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Jessica González-Rojas to step down as Executive Director after eight years of transformative leadership

Press Release
Washington

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we have bittersweet news to share with you. After 13 years at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) and eight years as our fearless and passionate Executive Director, Jessica González-Rojas will be stepping down from her role as of December 1. She has decided the time is now to fight for salud, dignidad and justicia for our community in a different capacity by pursuing new opportunities in public service.

We are pleased to announce that our current Deputy Director, Maria Elena Perez, will serve as interim Executive Director while we embark on a nation-wide search for a new leader led by an executive search firm. A transition committee made up of Board and staff members will oversee the broader transition process to ensure seamless integration of roles and responsibilities and support the executive recruiting team. We are grateful that Jessica has agreed to stay on in an advisory capacity to help us navigate the transition until February 2, 2020.

Goodbyes are never easy and this one is especially tough because of how much heart and soul Jessica has poured into this organization. She has consistently led with a passionate and relentlessly positive vision that has fueled growth and evolution at NLIRH. When she started in 2006, Jessica was one of five staff members in a cramped office in New York City that we shared with two other organizations. Five years later, she was named Executive Director, ushering an era of trailblazing that would lead NLIRH into new advocacy/coalition spaces and decision-making tables traditionally reserved for others. Reflecting on her legacy today from that moment in 2006 when she first walked in the door, it would be difficult to imagine the audacious growth and impact of today’s NLIRH. Since taking the helm as Executive Director in 2011, Jessica has transformed the organization:

  • From an annual operating budget of $1.4 million to $6.4 million today.
  • From a staff of 10 in New York and Washington, DC to an expansion across eight locations in four states and Washington, DC driven by a fierce staff of nearly 40 staffers creating transformative change in our communities.
  • From the absence and forced silence of voices of color and ill-designed policy solutions lacking cultural understanding to today’s unapologetic leadership that centers the experiences and needs of our Latina/x communities from our seat at national and state-based coalition tables.
  • From a dedicated network of hundreds of Latina/x activists to a robust base of thousands of Poderosas who engage in meaningful community organizing, policy advocacy and intergrated voter engagement campaigns, building community power throughout our Latina Advocacy Networks (LANs).

In the last eight years, NLIRH has broadened media debates, advocacy spaces, and policy-making discussions to include our Latina/x community in spite of the relentless attacks against us as a community and as warriors for reproductive justice. We are thankful to Jessica for paving that path forward and for co-creating a model of shared leadership in the Senior Leadership Team, which will continue to guide the essential work of this organization. Friends and allies, we are grateful for your support and the solidarity you have shown us always. We look forward to your continued involvement as we embark on this new chapter of growth for NLIRH. Together we celebrate Jessica for her service and her powerful legacy - 13 years of ganas that strengthened an organization and empowered its staff, leaving it well-positioned for the challenges ahead.

 

Con todo corazón,

Yvonne Gutierrez

NLIRH Board Chair