No-one could have foreseen the challenges this year would present — and if you could, I’m sure the last thing you would have volunteered to do is learn the ropes of a new job on the fly and lead a young organisation through the most challenging and uncertain year of its young life!
But that’s exactly what Sarah Downie did — and boy girl, are we happy about it!
When Sarah took on the role of Acting CEO of One Girl in January, the instructions were clear. A new three-year strategy had been set and her mission was to see it through, keep the lights on, lean on the leadership team to deliver operations and keep the culture of positivity, challenging the status quo and collaboration alive and well. Because what is One Girl if not a sassy, mouthy force for change … amiright?
Fast forward nine months and Sarah has nurtured our sass to new levels of finger-wagging and glass ceiling-smashing. Let me put it like this: if fundraising was an ocean and One Girl a ship, Sarah has steered us through the biggest mother of a cold, dark storm to the calm waters of a tropical island with blue skies and white sandy beaches. I mean, it’s not like we’re sitting sipping margaritas or anything — there’s still work to be done — but this voyage hasn’t been for the faint of heart and many a captain would have been forgiven for lowering the anchor and simply riding it out.
In true One Girl fashion, Sarah lives and breathes our values and became a model of feminist leadership by leaning on the people around her to help steer us through. With a few tough decisions and some seriously courageous leadership, we’re happy to report that we’re in a really strong position coming into the second half of the financial year and the end of Sarah’s time as interim CEO.
BUT! Never one to walk away … we’re excited to announce that as she steps down from her role as CEO, Sarah has stepped into a role as a One Girl board director! We’re so excited to retain Sarah’s expertise, her passion, her dedication to girls education and her wealth of experience. And it’s a real vote of confidence in One Girl that she’s sticking around too.
Our board is a governance board, as distinct from an advisory one, which contributes advice and insight. Our board of directors not only offer opinions and thought leadership, but they also have governing power and are ultimately responsible for the organisation’s financial health. We take heart in the fact that, as a board member, Sarah is sticking around and taking on financial responsibility for this ship because she’s confident we can withstand whatever storms may lie ahead.
As Sarah so beautifully put it, ‘One Girl is special, and very hard to give up. If only more people had the gift of a little One Girl experience!’.
It is special, and we’re so happy she won’t be giving it up any time soon. As a team, we want to thank Sarah for her fearless leadership, congratulate her on a job well done and wish her all the best for her new role as one of our awesome One Girl board directors!
The One Girl team xx