By now you may have seen the news that NCRP’s Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer, Jeanné Lewis, will become Interim President & CEO of Faith in Public Life in June. Her last day at NCRP will be May 13, 2022. This change is fantastic news for the world, and specifically for anyone who cares about justice and equity in the United States. This is a great move both for Jeanné and for Faith in Public Life.
I’ve been training and supervising organizers and change makers for the past 30 years, and nothing makes me happier than when someone I’ve worked with moves into an important new leadership role.
That’s not to say that her departure from NCRP won’t leave a gaping hole. It will. More on that in a minute.
Destined for Greatness
I first met Jeanné about 20 years ago when she started her career doing faith-based community organizing for the DART Network. I had joined DART five years prior to that, and I was lucky enough to be involved in the training of our newest recruits to the craft. I knew right away that Jeanné was destined for greatness. She had a tremendous sense of strategy, knew how to build strong relationships, and outworked just about everyone.
We both eventually left DART – she in 2005 to do conflict resolution work and me in 2007 to take the helm at NCRP. In 2014, I convinced Jeanné to come to work at NCRP as our Field Director. She was fantastic, of course, and she was promoted in 2016 to Vice President, a position she has held since then.
Forever Changed by Her Compassion & Genius
Jeanné played a vital role in the creation and implementation of NCRP’s current strategic framework. Her impact on the organization will live on long after her last day here. She trained, supervised and mentored a huge percentage of our growing staff team. Jeanné believes in empowering people and it shows in her coaching-based approach: She has a genius for helping people discover the answers to their own questions and gain confidence in their abilities and insights. She masterfully staffed the governance committee of our board of directors, helping to create a board that is diverse, bold and deeply supportive of NCRP’s mission.
And, most important to me, she made me a better leader. I could always count on Jeanné to bring new perspectives into the conversation, and she never shied away from challenging me when I needed to be challenged. Whether it is in one-on-ones, at staff meetings, on the stage at funder events or in coalition meetings with key partners, when Jeanné talks, people listen. She manages to give frank feedback with grace, hold her positional power alongside her personal identities with authenticity and always, always keep her focus on the mission and vision of creating a more just world.
For those reasons and many, many more, Jeanné Lewis will be greatly missed here at NCRP. But I, for one, can’t wait to see what great things she will accomplish at Faith in Public Life!