The beginning of this year marked a poignant "passing of the torch" as World Pulse Board Chair Ellen Wingard completed six years of board service—three as chair—and incoming Board Chair Colleen Abdoulah assumed the role. While Ellen will always be a part of World Pulse and will stay involved as a World Pulse mentor and member of our Global Advisory Network, this is a significant moment for our organization and community. In honor of Ellen and to welcome Colleen, we asked them both to share with you what they love most about World Pulse and their time of board service!
What drew you to World Pulse?
Ellen: What first drew me to World Pulse was the magnitude of Jensine’s vision to disrupt the status quo of global women’s equality by listening directly to women speak for themselves. In my own work to build gender equity, I had become disenchanted with traditional charity models that perpetuated a “power over” reality. I found World Pulse to be an innovative counterpoint to siloed channels that kept a distance. I loved the belief in women having their own answers rather than being told what they could or should do to be empowered. Listening and connecting to the riveting voices of women leading change around the world I saw firsthand the shared power—going beyond womens’ empowerment for a privileged few—to an accelerated, collective uprising.
Colleen: What drew me to World Pulse was the incredible mission of this organization, the leader that Jensine is, and the members of the board. I believe strongly that we must all fight for the rights of women and children. World Pulse is the organization that is best positioned to have a powerful impact on the lives of women across our globe in a way that has never been done before!
Why did you decide to serve on the World Pulse Board?
Ellen: From the time of Jensine’s earliest vision as a magazine to World Pulse's evolution to an online movement, I had wanted to be part of accelerating the reach and impact of World Pulse with an engaged, passionate board that supported a phenomenal team and community. Throughout the years, we have had a highly diverse membership of philanthropists, activists, human rights attorneys, business leaders, global security experts, public sector servants and social entrepreneurs who have sustained a fierce resolve to nurture World Pulse and ensure its economic sustainability.
Colleen: I have been a World Pulse funder for the last few years, and I really believe that the time is right, right now! Not just for me to deepen my commitment and passion to the organization, but also for World Pulse as an organization: we've got the right model, the right critical strategic partners, and the right operating team to get sustainable results. I feel privileged to serve with the other board members in supporting these goals.
What do you think makes World Pulse unique?
Ellen: World Pulse answers a need for immediate cross-border community where ingenious solutions and shared sisterhood meet on common ground. The online connection creates an instantaneous way to be a catalyst for change and to be changed. In witnessing the astonishing bravery and courage of community members we are emboldened to take actions in our own lives where we have felt powerless or unheard. World Pulse has also been unique in modeling positive, conscious partnering with other organizations seeking to move beyond hierarchical models and create real convergent innovation practices. I would say that in the last ten years, the vision manifested into action is more crystallized than ever thanks to our global community, Jensine, the extraordinary team, volunteers, mentors, and our new Board Chair Colleen—we are now poised to take World Pulse from tens of thousands of members to millions!
Colleen: I don't think I can answer this better than Ellen! World Pulse has this amazing multi-layered approach to reaching and supporting women globally—in the ways that matter to them most and make the biggest difference. I echo how smart World Pulse is in creating strategic partnerships that are mission aligned. World Pulse has a laser-like focus on the issues, what to do about them, and how to create real lasting change.
What makes the World Pulse Board of directors unique?
Ellen: This dynamic group of women always keeps the voices and presence of the global community members and team front and center while we work. We strive to live the values of World Pulse, and are a microcosm of our global community: we reflect deep respect and affinity while being an extremely diverse group who is comfortable calling out our biases and assumptions. We are learning how to thrive in a cross cultural context while keeping shared vision to preserve and protect World Pulse's fiduciary well-being. Whether it's strategic visioning, tech innovations, pragmatic execution, security issues, marketing, rigorous analytics, or intergenerational leadership, our board is always raising its capabilities. I have had many board members say that this board reflects how they want to conduct business and governance in their lives. With Colleen coming on as board chair, with her 30 years of experience as a CEO and multiple leadership roles on other boards, I know that this Board will take World Pulse to another evolutionary leap.
Colleen: I love the diversity of this board, and how we work to represent the women we serve. This is the first global board I have served on and it is fascinating to learn from one another—there is such diversity of mind and experience that each member brings. It's truly invaluable!
How would you describe the current evolutionary phase World Pulse is in right now?
Ellen: With all of enduring commitment of the team, as well as the new changes that have made our foundation so strong, we truly are poised to manifest long-held goals. We will be able to bring our users the most secure, connected, cutting edge level of connectivity on the planet, and multiply World Pulse's level of impact from thousands to millions!
Colleen: The stage is set! World Pulse is ready and able to go to the next level of impact: we have a new operating model, new infrastructure, and plans for a new user experience, all of which will catapult us to our goal of 10 million members impacting over one billion lives in the next five years.
What does World Pulse need most from its network of supporters right now?
Ellen: World Pulse supporters are the most dedicated, passionate and enlightened partners. Many have been here from the ground up and have witnessed and nurtured this evolution. There are multiple ways to engage! We continue to seek financial investment in our shared vision. Being a listener or mentor will change lives, as will offering expertise on the Global Advisory Network, and advocating for partnerships with social innovation organizations for shared impact. Staying current and connected will ensure our network grows with us. At the heart of our engagement is a desire to advance each supporter’s sense of purpose that will immediately change the trajectory of women leading change in the world.
Colleen: The beauty of World Pulse is that it's possible to engage on all levels! And that's exactly what we need. We invite you, our network, to financially invest in World Pulse and invite your own contacts to join our mission as community members and as funders. We invite you to stay active on WorldPulse.com, and as always, engage with our inspiring women changemakers.
This question is for you Ellen: what do you feel is your biggest legacy?
Ellen: In World Pulse's training program, Voices of Our Future, we often describe the mentoring role as the “vision-keeper:" The “vision-keeper” holds the belief in the leader’s vision in the midst of whatever conditions exist, and stands with the leader to stay true to her calling and purpose. I hope I have been and will always be a vision-keeper for World Pulse. I want to express my deep appreciation to all community members, the team and board—those who have selflessly worked to manifest their vision for World Pulse in the past, those present in this exciting time of growth, and those who come in the future—to bring World Pulse from where it is to its fullest potential of millions and millions.
Colleen, What do you hope will be your biggest legacy?
Colleen: Simply, that I took my passion and put it into action!
Dearest Ellen and Colleen, we at World Pulse thank you for your unwavering commitment to our community, and for your inspiring leadership now and always!