A Letter From the Executive Director – 1st Quarter 2018

Dawn Repoli
Executive Director & COO

“Whose History Will You Change?

In honor of Women’s History Month, it feels appropriate to start this month’s letter with a little inspiration from one of my favorite women, Maya Angelou:

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”  

Complementary to that, I believe that each time we stand up for one another, we validate why we are here.  To that point, I feel it is important to share a story with you.  A few months ago, I was on an international flight back to the US.  A young woman (maybe 12 or 13 years old)  took her seat, which happened to be right next me, and I immediately sensed something was tense, troublesome and uncommon. Over the course of the flight, through her broken English and my limited Spanish and many odd occurrences and red flags, I grew more and more certain that this young woman was a victim of human trafficking. I struggled with the decision to say something to the flight crew. What if I was wrong? What if I created a problem that didn’t exist? Letting my intuition and lessons from the indicators list that I learned from our partners at ECPAT lead me, I used my voice and the flight crew was notified. Through their subsequent observations, they concurred. When the plane landed in New York, a full-scale investigation took place, confirming my suspicions about the safety and security of this young woman.

I share this example to illustrate the fact that the choice to ͚say something͛ can make a real impact on the lives of others.  This experience has magnified the lens through which I see so many things, including my work at WINiT.

As we strive to #makehistory for women, I encourage every one of our Members and Leaders to consider how you personally will step up, be present, and use your voice and actions to change history – for others and for yourself. Whether it is recognizing a colleague’s efforts, negotiating your own salary increase, sponsoring a more junior professional to help increase her visibility and opportunities, or vocalizing that a colleague is being overlooked or possibly treated unfairly, progress can be realized through choices and actions made by individuals every day, both personally and professionally.

THIS is WINiT, this is the courage and tenacity of every leader, member, donor and partner.  I ask, are we doing it enough? #seesomethingsaysomething

In April, WINiT will be hosting the WINiT Summit 2018 where we will bring together women and men to learn, connect, and #makehistory for women in the industries we serve.  This event is also an opportunity to celebrate the progress that is made when people make the choice to use their voice for change. Join us this April in New York to #makehistory for women.

Dawn Repoli
Executive Director & COO, WINiT