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March 29, 2019 Jessica’s Note of Thanks (Stepping Down from Executive Director Role)

Studio Simpatico

Dear Friends, Partners, and Colleagues,

After almost ten years of service, I am stepping down to welcome new leadership to take the helm of Girl Be Heard. As a playwright, performer, activist, and gender-based violence survivor, it has been an opportunity of a lifetime to serve as Girl Be Heard’s Founding Executive Director. I have worked alongside, staff, board members, and our ever-widening community of social justice angels whom I can never thank enough for giving so passionately and selflessly to carry out Girl Be Heard’s mission in schools, community centers, houses of worship, detention centers, on stages, and behind the curtain. My philosophy has always been to hire staff smarter than me to do their jobs and learn from their genius. It has been humbling and transformative to “stage the revolution” with all of you in the Girl Be Heard community.

Serving as Executive Director of Girl Be Heard — and in the early years working as a Teaching Artist in the classroom and devising ensemble performances alongside young artists and activists (most of whom are all grown up now) — has been the greatest joy and honor of my career. None of this joy would have been possible without Founding Artistic Director Ashley Marinaccio, who paved the way for all of Girl Be Heard’s achievements with her tenacity, vision, amazing sense of humor and heart of gold.

This transition of leadership is the culmination of a deep dive into dismantling racism work that Girl Be Heard has been undertaking over the past three years. This report, Confronting the NonProfit Racial Leadership Gap, gives context about why I am so excited and eager to step back. It is the ultimate celebration of our newly defined values and 2017-2019 strategic plan. Once we have a new Executive Director in place, we will set up an opportunity for all of you to meet them in person. My number one priority in transitioning out of this ED role is to provide the incoming Executive Director with everything needed to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

It’s hard to leave a community I love so deeply, and a team that I revere as the very best in developing, amplifying, and celebrating the next generation of artists and activists. However, I know in my heart of hearts, that it is time for new leadership.

We promise to make the process as transparent as possible. We want you with us for every part of this journey as we take Girl Be Heard to even higher ground. Girl Be Heard’s Board of Directors is heading up the search for a new Executive Director. I cannot thank them enough for spearheading this effort and encourage you to share the job posting far and wide, once it is finalized. Stay tuned…

In love and service,

Jessica Greer Morris

Founding Executive Director