Announcing Havenly's Co-Director Model and Search!

Announcing Havenly's Co-Director Model and Search!

Dear Havenly Community and Friends, 

We are excited to share an important update to our organizational structure, as well as an opportunity to join the Havenly team!

For the last 3 years, Havenly has worked with a traditional leadership structure in which one person holds the position of Executive Director (ED) - for us, that person was Caterina. Within this model, the ED holds all ultimate responsibility for the organization’s direction, strategy, operations, and sustainability. We are excited to announce that as of this month, December 2021, we will be shifting to a shared leadership model that more accurately aligns with our values and that allows for more shared leadership. 

What will this look like in practice?

Instead of having one Executive Director, Havenly will be run by a Senior Leadership Team consisting of three Directors who work horizontally. The three Directors on the Senior Leadership team will include: 

  • A Mission and Impact Director, who ensures that Havenly is fulfilling its mission of building the community power of immigrant and refugee women through its various programs and activities. Camila Guiza-Chavez will be filling this role.
  • An Operations Director, who oversees the day-to-day management of the organization and plans for its long-term growth. Nieda Abbas will be filling this role.
  • A Development Director, whose main role is to ensure that Havenly has the resources (i.e. revenue and funding) the organization needs to be sustainable in the long-term and to effectively pursue its mission-fulfilling activities. Caterina Passoni will be filling this role until the spring of 2022.

The three Directors will work collaboratively to set strategy, the culture of the organization, and to represent Havenly publicly.

Why did we make this decision?

At Havenly we believe in a world that is less hierarchical, where power never stagnates in one person or institution but instead is shared and decentralized, and where people are truly able to hold decision-makers accountable to their communities. If we want to work towards this kind of world, we know we have to start internally. 

Despite the incredibly important work of nonprofits and social sector organizations, the majority of us still operate according to top-down, corporate-like structures that are based in white dominant culture. These structures center leadership in one person, instead of unlocking the knowledge, capacities and experiences of the entire team. And, more often than not, that means excluding BIPOC, queer and low-income people from truly making decisions for their own communities. 

A shared leadership structure, instead, allows space for ideas to be created through collaboration, democratic discussion, and inclusive decision-making. In truth, this shift towards a shared leadership model is more of a formalization of the way we’ve operated for a long time already. All major strategic decisions over the past two years have been made by consensus among Caterina and Nieda, and then Camila and the rest of our staff as time has gone on, helping us develop a culture of transparency, constant trust-building, and open communication that are key ingredients for a shared leadership model. Through this shift, we aim to ingrain this objective in Havenly for the long-term. 

To us, this is not just about Caterina no longer being Executive Director, or one individual’s trajectory. It is about an ongoing commitment to building collective and shared leadership structures across the organization, becoming an organization where each and every staff member, community member, or board member can participate on equal footing, and leadership is driven by those most marginalized by the problem we are fighting. 

We invite you to consider joining our team!

Now that we’ve shared with you this update to our model, we are also thrilled to announce that we are currently seeking a Development Director to join our Senior Leadership Team starting this spring! Click here or scroll below for the job description

If you are passionate about our mission, excited to work in a dynamic and community-based environment, and have experience in fundraising and organizational development, please consider applying by emailing and with your CV and cover letter. 

For more information and resources about non-profits adopting shared leadership practices, read here: 

  2. Doing More with More: Putting Shared Leadership into Practice - Non Profit News
  3. 5 Reasons Why Your Organization Should Be Thinking About Co-Leadership 
  4. Case Studies in Distributed Leadership 

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