Portraits of Leadership
From your vantage point, what stories are not being told about the impact of the Coronavirus?
The most under-told stories are those of the workers providing critical services. The grocery cashiers, janitorial staff, garbage collectors — people here in the U.S. who society argues whether or not to pay a living wage. They’re putting their lives on the line right now.
Let’s also celebrate amazing teachers all over the world! If there were ever a time when parents and caregivers have learned, with humility, to step back and honor the contribution of educators, this is it.
And finally, we need to hear more from nurses. To any woman who has given birth in a hospital setting, you know your nurse makes or breaks your experience. They are also among the greatest heroes in this pandemic, leading with grace and compassion.
How have you needed to change how your staff works or the way you deliver services in order to meet the new reality?
As the new CEO of Malala Fund, I am fortunate to have stepped into a wired, digitally adept workplace. Google Hangouts, Slack and cloud based accounting systems are the norm.
The biggest difficulty is that the team misses each other in real time — so, now every day we have standing tea time hangouts for staff to socialize.
Malala Fund supports 59 local activists across eight countries through our Education Champions Network. To ensure their tireless work for girls can continue during and after the COVID-19 crisis we are telling them to not stress the small stuff. We extended deliverable timelines and allowed for them to reallocate some of their grant for operating expenses.
We’re also funding some special projects that are responding to this crisis. For example, Haroon Yasin, a Champion in Pakistan, is expanding the number of lessons available on the app he built to students forced to learn at home.
What gives you hope in this moment?
We don’t know how this pandemic ends, but what are we learning now that we’ll want to have with us when it passes? For me, it’s the pleasure of a weekday lunch at home with my kids. It’s the comfort of a midday snuggle from one of my dogs, while on an endless virtual conference call. It’s the loving and hopeful language of recovery, resilience and rebuilding.
Hyperakt is a purpose-driven design and innovation studio that elevates human dignity and ignites curiosity. We believe in design’s power to build a future filled with courage, optimism, and honesty.
Are you a leader in the nonprofit, cultural, or design space? Want to share your perspective on confronting COVID-19? Please fill out this Google Form.