Dearest JAWS sisters,
JAWS helped me tell the truth — and changed my life.
In 2014, as a JAWS fellow, I fell in love with CAMP — and with the validation, compassion, and acceptance that I felt all around me. This incredibly diverse group of women in different career phases and stages of life made me feel more like myself. I’d found a home, a place to grow with grace. That intensified at CAMP in 2015, when in Jill Geisler’s diversity breakout sessions, my table talked about feeling ‘other’ in our newsrooms. It can feel so lonely in your newsroom – until you can share and hear others’ struggles too. I felt like, WHOA, I’m not crazy? How sad that we all feel othered, separately!
After writing a blog post about that epiphany, I started hearing from all these journalists, men and women, Black and White, saying thank you for speaking this truth. Thank you for putting words to an experience I thought was just my own.
I wasn’t calling out my newsroom; I was calling out the industry. But it backfired at my job. Although I was charged with telling stories about diverse people, they didn’t want to hear my story. After HR built a paper trail, they fired me.
It was humbling and painful to lose my job for telling my truth.
But my JAWS sisters listened, heard the stress and fear — and took care of me by presenting me with Betsy Wade’s JAWS quilt, carrying on the tradition of giving a real, huggable blanket of support to a JAWS member in need, for one year. That quilt held me and my whole family as I came back together.
From then on, I made up my mind to do everything in my life with purpose. I included that blog post in my book, “Everybody Knows: The Power of Being in Position.” I’m now host and executive producer of The Purpose Producer Podcast. I also manage production for a growing tech startup. And as my career evolves, I know I will keep coming back to JAWS because JAWS keeps coming back for me.
Now JAWS needs your help to continue supporting women in journalism. As a nonprofit, JAWS depends on donations. Anything you can afford to give will help, especially if you can give something monthly. Only you know if you can give $25, or $25/month, or $2,500. If you can’t spare even $5 today, I hope you will consider helping us raise money by asking for support in lieu of gifts for your birthday, the holidays or whatever you celebrate.
Let’s keep JAWS alive for the next wave of young women journalists — and for each other.
With love and purpose,
JAWS board member, 2015-2017