A Message from WVE’s Executive Director
At Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE), we envision a world free from the impacts of toxic chemicals, one where our planet and communities are thriving, one where each one of us are able to use our power to build a sustainable and collective future. As the executive director, I work with fierce organizers, researchers, and advocates to co-create this vision alongside communities most impacted by environmental harm. I’ve been fighting for bodily autonomy and liberation for over a decade within and alongside activists from the reproductive justice movement.
Over the last three decades our organization has redefined what is possible. WVE has been at the forefront of the environmental health movement. Over the last three years we have seen the impact of our work on ingredient transparency policies and practices in the beauty and home care industries. Our strategic policy advocacy work and strong partnerships have led to four major legislative victories in New York and California – two states that are often on the leading edge of industry practices and can influence the market nationally. We are both committed to disrupting the status quo and honoring the thoughtful, intentional, and compassionate practice of our values. We have applied this balance daily and for decades. To put it plainly, change doesn’t happen overnight.
The current threats to our planet require a deeply intersectional response. Without a bottom-up movement driving change, people will continue to be left behind and deemed disposable. As a justice-based organization observing these harmful missteps from well-intentioned actors, we knew we needed a new direction to lean into our role as weavers – building a tapestry of voices, advocates, and issues — and expand our table to support collective action towards a future free from the impacts of toxic chemicals. Simply put, we needed to walk the walk, rather than just talk the talk. From my lived and professional experience, I know that intentions for inclusivity without a plan that is developed alongside people most directly and/or disproportionately impacted often falls short and far too frequently leads to more harm.
We underwent a strategic planning process with the goal of sustainably broadening our vision and mission to hold more intersectional issues and campaigns, while maintaining the joy, hope, and rebellious spirit that is a common thread between so many members of our community. We have a rigorous and compassionate commitment to undoing the individual and organizational habits that reinforce white supremacy culture, and replace them with leadership practices that foster a sustainable work environment and strengthen the transformative work we are co-creating in our communities. I’m proud to have co-created a plan for the next five years of WVE with a diverse group of partners, members, staff, board members, fellows, and nonprofit colleagues. Throughout the strategic planning process, it became evident that we share a clear vision and theory of change for our work.
Our renewed theory of change will get us even closer to turning this vision into reality by focusing on leadership development within communities most impacted by toxics exposure, advocating for preventative measures rather than stop gaps, employing an intersectional approach to cross movement coalition building, and developing further internal culture changes that reflect our renewed values and allow for a sustainable work-life balance. Leading with compassion and vulnerability isn’t something that shows linear results; some days are harder than others, but the larger arc of this leadership journey has shown that the work has been worth it in this strategic planning process. WVE is positioned to leverage our transformational internal work to support and scale the external work of change making in the world.
Our 2022-2027 strategic plan is already being turned into action with the following current efforts. I’m proudly leading the organization into its first salary audit process, ensuring transparent and equitable compensation for all current, future, and prospective WVE staff members. Furthermore, establishing a reserve fund for WVE was among my top priorities when I began my role as ED in 2019. Over the course of the last three years, we have built and grown the organization’s reserves to support three months of expenses. This sustainability measure is critical not just to ensure operations for at least three months, but it is also intrinsically connected to worker’s rights and economic justice. When we commit to sustaining our organizations for any length of time, we are also invested in the livelihood of the employees and contractors who help animate the work. At WVE, we recognize that our people are our greatest asset in achieving our mission.
We have learned so much over our long tenure, and one thing that remains abundantly clear is that the will of the people can and does create change. I’m proud to lead this team that centers both joy and justice. Change management that seeks to disrupt white supremacy culture requires rigor and compassion: a focused commitment to doing better every day, as well as the grace to approach our mistakes with curiosity and an eye towards generative, adaptive solutions that center the vision of the world we are aiming to build. Together we’ve developed strong partnerships, built out our mobilization power, and released hard hitting reports to hold corporations accountable. Moving forward, WVE will continue to amplify the voices of those most disproportionately impacted by toxics exposure. That includes women, nonbinary and trans people, immigrants, lower-income workers, and people of the global majority. I’m immensely grateful to all who contributed to co-creating this plan. Without our community, we would not be able to do this work. This plan is a testament to how our collective influence is far greater than our individual impact. We invite you to examine your own internal bias and what it means to center joy and justice in all that you do.
Executive Director | WVE
To learn more, or get involved, please contact Amber Garcia, Executive Director, at (406) 543-3747 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Women’s Voices for the Earth
PO Box 8743, 114 W Pine St
Missoula, MT 59807