Thankful to Thrive
Yesterday, I packed my things, said my goodbyes, and turned in my key card, marking my last day at Women Thrive Worldwide. Watching the elevator doors close over the Women Thrive office was bittersweet. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad about my last day – but also so very, very lucky to have had the opportunities granted to me this summer.
What I’ll miss most about Women Thrive is working closely with a small but mighty staff of truly incredible women. Through work, meetings, lunches, and brown bag discussions, I got to make meaningful connections with almost every staff member at Women Thrive. I really look up to these women, who are all intelligent, driven, and hardworking – while maintaining a sense of humor along the way! They’ve traveled far and wide, balance relationships and families with a busy work schedule, and boast resumes jam-packed with experience that I hope to match someday. They’ve all made time to get to know the interns as well, which I really appreciate. Yesterday, the interns had a Q&A discussion with the Co-Founder and President of Women Thrive, Ritu Sharma. For a full hour, she chatted with us about starting a non-profit, finding jobs in the “gender space” (which I’ll touch on later), her experiences as an advocate, and what keeps her motivated. This conversation was one of the highlights of my summer – it’s not every day you get the chance to have such a personal conversation with the President of any organization! I feel incredibly lucky to have found so many role models and mentors in the Women Thrive staff who have offered advice and help to me this summer and beyond.
I think one reason I was able to connect so well with staff is that Women Thrive truly values the contributions of its interns, treating us as equals in the organization. As part of the Communications team, I drafted a number of social media pieces for Women Thrive and updated various parts of our new website, which launched last Wednesday (check it out!) It’s such a rewarding feeling to see my own work on Women Thrive’s communications outlets! Furthermore, from day one of my internship, I’ve been able to attend all staff and strategy meetings, which are usually led by Ritu herself (how cool is that?) Through these biweekly meetings, I gained unique insight into the inner workings, triumphs and trials of a small non-profit. At times, the interns were even invited to share opinions on matters being discussed. I don’t think this level of trust, inclusion, and respect is something you find at just any internship – and that’s another reason I’m grateful to have interned at Women Thrive this summer.
Interning at Women Thrive has taught me so much about the “gender space” as I call it (the community of non-profits/NGOs/other organizations working on gender-related issues). In addition to attending workshops and an advocacy day hosted by our partner organizations, I went to our Gender Roundtable discussion in July, where Ritu spoke on a panel with gender specialists from UNDP, World Bank, Save the Children, and Plan Canada about the global gender gap. We also hosted a mini-conference of college-aged girls from countries like Mongolia, Egypt, and Libya chosen by the State Department for a leadership program based in D.C. and I got the chance to chat with the U.S. representative for the G(irls)20 Summit when she came to visit our office. It’s been truly inspiring to meet so many people doing great work to advance the status of women and girls worldwide. I’m definitely motivated to keep working in the “gender space” and I’ve realized that there are a lot of different ways for me to do that – which brings me some degree of direction and comfort as I head into the job search next year!
That being said, I feel most lucky to say that I’m leaving one great job in the gender space for another that promises to be similarly enriching. Next year, I’ll be employed at the Women’s Center at Georgetown as student staff. I’m looking forward to learning a lot from this position and contributing to such a valuable organization at Georgetown!
I can’t thank the folks at the Show Me Campaign enough for allowing me to enjoy this incredible opportunity with Women Thrive. Nonprofit work is often the most undervalued and underpaid – but in my opinion, has the potential to do the most good. Thank you SMC for supporting my interest in the sector and letting me use my summer to pursue my passion!
At Women Thrive Worldwide, we believe investing in women is key to alleviating global poverty. When women are empowered politically, economically, and socially, they can become some of the most powerful agents of change, even lifting entire communities out of poverty. However, women around the world face unequal social and economic barriers that prevent them from fulfilling their potential. Women Thrive seeks to help women living in poverty overcome these barriers by listening to their stories, bringing their voices to the attention of governments here and in their home countries, and advocating for U.S. foreign assistance policies that address their needs. Pretty cool, if you ask me!
Of course, you can’t do advocacy work without supporters. We depend on the help of our supporters around the United States, women and men working together, to make our grassroots campaigns effective. As the U.S. Outreach Intern, my job is all about engaging our U.S. supporters in our mission – asking them not only to support Women Thrive’s work but also to look for other ways in which they can invest in women.
Throughout my internship, I’ve learned that Women Thrive engages its supporters in a number of ways. One of the biggest ways we do this is by building our online communities through social media. Through webinars, workshops, and the wisdom of my supervisor (and social media guru), Erin, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade on how nonprofits can leverage social media to grow their organization’s reach. I’ve put them to use on Women Thrive’s Facebook page and Twitter, where I post from time to time – check them out! We usually post articles and alerts related to our work and our partner organizations, but we’re aiming to expand our outreach by launching an online book club this summer. We want to feature books about inspiring women around the world. I’ll keep you posted!
It’s important to reach out to our supporters offline as well. Recently, we held a happy hour/shopping fundraiser with Styleliner, a pop-up “fashion truck,” where a portion of the proceeds was donated to Women Thrive! To get locals to come to the event, I was tasked with researching D.C.-area fashion bloggers and inviting them personally. I had a lot of fun spending a few hours at work looking up fashion blogs (although I may have gotten some funny looks from my coworkers - I was working, I swear!) and was really impressed with the great response we got! A number of bloggers attended the event and many of those who couldn’t make it sent kind messages of support, asking to be updated on Women Thrive’s work.
Another way we keep supporters engaged – and gain new supporters – is by working with our coalition of U.S. partner organizations. We often pass along relevant news and action alerts to our list of supporters and vice versa. We also collaborate with our partners at events like the upcoming gender roundtable discussion next week, where our founder, Ritu Sharma, will discuss the global gender gap with representatives from our partner organizations. I’m also attending a series of workshops on reproductive health advocacy hosted by one of our partners, but maybe I’ll touch on those more in a later post.
Anyways, this is just a taste of the type of work I’ve been doing with Women Thrive Worldwide. Looking forward to the rest of the summer and sharing my experiences with you!