New YWCA Minneapolis Board Members Lead the Way
YWCA Minneapolis announces three new members joining the board of directors: Lakeeta Hill, Carissa Robbins and Bria Shea. Each bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge to the governing role. New board members are appointed to serve a single, three-year term as members on the board. The board of directors works to implement the organizational strategic plan and advance YWCA’s mission.
Recently, YWCA Minneapolis sat down with two of our new board members to talk about why they decided to get involved and what part of the work speaks to them most.
What made you want to be part of YWCA Minneapolis board of directors?
Bria: I wanted to serve on YWCA Minneapolis’ board due to the mission and the specific need for conversations surrounding sexism and racism right now. While I have always felt strongly about the need for equality, with our current political climate and tensions, I felt the need to take action, get involved and help shape the effort. Working with YWCA seems like a significant way to do so.
Carissa: Prior to moving to the Twin Cities I was the president of the board of a nonprofit in Milwaukee serving parents in distress and helping to prevent child abuse. I feel strongly about giving back to the community and helping families and children improve their health and well-being. Being part of YWCA Minneapolis gives me a chance to re-engage in my desire to improve the lives of others through my own strengths and abilities.
What part of YWCA Minneapolis’ work or mission speaks to you the most and why?
Bria: While all of YWCA Minneapolis’ work is remarkable and meaningful, if I had to pick just one, I think the Girls and Youth Programs are closest to my heart. The opportunity to influence girls while they are young cannot be understated – this will help shape their view of the world and themselves and enable them to become leaders and creators of change.
Carissa: In addition to the nonprofit board, I also spoke to at-risk girls in Milwaukee about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and how they could become engaged. I really enjoy mentoring and coaching girls and other women about how to be their best self. YWCA’s mission speaks to me in many ways but specifically the respect for diverse cultures and economic independence for women are two areas I feel I can have direct impact.
How do you live out YWCA’s mission in your work or everyday life?
Bria: I make a conscious effort to appreciate the women around me and let them know I value them. I look for opportunities to empower and build up other women, both in my personal life and in the office. I encourage the women in my life to negotiate hard and stand up for themselves, to not apologize for themselves, to have a voice at the table and be confident. I choose my words carefully so as not to perpetuate stereotypes. I enroll my daughter in the same STEM activities as my son (her twin brother) and correct people when they use words like “bossy” to describe her instead of words like “leader” that they use with my son. And finally, I talk about the inequity between men and women and point out my personal experiences to the men in my life, to open their eyes, help them understand and begin to change the conversation.
Carissa: Diversity and respecting other cultures is a regular conversation in my home. My husband and I expose our boys to many cultures and experiences so they learn to appreciate differences. I also mentor other women to assist them in their career advancement and speak at events promoting women in STEM.