Siiri with one of her favorite strong girls, her 1 ½ year old niece, Annika.

Siiri with one of her favorite strong girls, her 1 ½ year old niece, Annika.

“I matter. I hope. I impact.” This is the rallying cry of our end-of-year campaign at Strong Women, Strong Girls. We are working to create a community here in Greater Boston where every woman and girl knows and feels that she matters, that she has big hopes for the future, and that she feels empowered to make an impact on the world around her.

I am only lucky enough to be leading the Boston team as Executive Director because I have had (and still do have!) mentors who helped me discover these things myself. Maintaining one’s ambition and self-confidence as a woman is a lifelong journey, but thanks to the support of many other women, I have learned that I matter. Because of this, I dare to hope and create tremendous impact on the world.

I matter. I was always told by my parents that I could be anything that I wanted to be. I was told by teachers that my voice mattered and that I should share it, even when it shook. I was encouraged to voice my opinion and take action on it. I was entrusted to care for others. I had adults in my life who coaxed me out of my shyness as a girl to sing, act, and lead. I learned early on that I was valued and important in this world – that my existence mattered. With SWSG in Boston, I look forward to helping every woman and girl we work with to understand that each of us matters, no matter what background we were born into. We all matter.

I hope. I am a dreamer. I like to think of myself as a practical optimist with the vision, the grit, and the network to make my dreams a reality. With SWSG, I have so many dreams already bubbling up that the Board and the staff and I are beginning to plan for. We are looking at how to reach deeper into our community and make sure that every girl eligible for our program is able to access it. We want to figure out how to support our college mentors more effectively and how to grow our network of Strong Leaders (professional mentors) to include an even greater diversity of women role models. We dream of stronger partnerships with our peers in Boston. We want to have a bigger voice in the national and international conversations around multi-generational cycles of empowerment. There is so much to do and with your help, we can do it.

Siiri with one of her favorite strong women, Elvire Eugene, a women’s rights activist in Haiti (with whom she worked in her last role as Founder & Executive Director of Prosperity Catalyst).

I impact. I learned a long time ago that if I put my mind to something, found the right people to help me, and forged ahead, I could change things. When I was in high school, I began to try shifting the status quo and was surprised at how easily it can be done, yet so few people realize that they can do it. Creating impact in your community can be scary – you put yourself on the line, you make yourself vulnerable to criticism, etc. – but making things happen is an extraordinary feeling. I know that this is the feeling that the girls, college mentors and Strong Leaders experience when working with our program. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every woman and girl could experience that feeling in Boston?
I am so honored to be leading the work of Strong Women, Strong Girls in Boston. To be working in my own community to invest in women and girls is an enormous privilege. Although I know that I matter, hope and impact, what is more important is knowing that we ALL matter, hope and impact. My leadership is nothing without the support of our SWSG community in Boston. Thank you for being part of it and for sharing your voices with me. I hope you will join us in the “I matter. I hope. I impact.” campaign this winter by making a contribution and sharing on social media your own story of discovering these things about yourself. Use the hashtags #Imatter #Ihope #Iimpact to share your story!
In sisterhood,
Siiri Morley