Rise, a New York City-based group dedicated to giving a voice to and empowering parents involved in the child welfare system, has named two co-leaders who will take the helm in July when founder Nora McCarthy formally steps down.
The board of the New York City-based organization named Jeanette Vega and Bianca Shaw, both currently assistant directors, to step up together to lead into the next phase of development.
After undertaking an “extensive selection process,” the board “gained a deep appreciation for Jeanette’s and Bianca’s passion for justice, Rise’s vision and Rise’s team,” according to a statement announcing the change in leadership. “We are particularly elated that the next leadership will be two women of color, and will include in Jeanette a parent personally impacted by the child welfare system.”
The two are credited with helping McCarthy stoke the power of parents affected by the child welfare system by helping them push for changes leading toward more justice, compassion and healing, both within the organization and out.
As co-director for leadership and policy, Vega will continue to focus externally by working with partners, supporters and allies to build a child welfare system free of systemic racism and poverty.
Listen to John Kelly’s conversation with Nora McCarthy and Jeanette Vega about the first 15 years of Rise on The Imprint Weekly Podcast!
Shaw, as co-director for programs and culture, will assume more responsibility for managing and training staff and developing Rise’s programs in healing justice.
Vega has been with Rise for six years, while Shaw has three years under her belt.
“Rise’s values and the loving, family feeling that everyone gets when they come to Rise are so important to me,” Vega said. Sharing co-directorship with Bianca is exciting because we have the same mindset of what leadership means. We are two women of color who have experienced real life and have become strong women leaders in our own unique ways.”
Shaw, who is Black and queer, says her life experience has imbued her with a deep belief in the expertise of impacted people and their ability to “reclaim their truth.”
“I am excited to lead Rise alongside Jeanette, who brings fierce and persistent advocacy, and passion and love for the work,” Shaw said. “Our appointment as Co-Directors is a reflection of Rise’s commitment to being an organization led by parents impacted and women of color."
McCarthy, who founded Rise as a magazine produced by the New York nonprofit Youth Communication, will remain on the organization's board of directors.
“I’m not leaving Rise — I’m stepping back so Rise can step forward and flourish in new ways,” McCarthy said in February.