Announcing our new Co-Executive Directors!
I am happy to announce Katie-Jay Scott and Sara-Christine Dallain as iACT Co-Executive Directors.
After fifteen years in this work, I’m shifting my focus and responsibilities within iACT. I am not going to do less. I’m going to focus my attention more intently on making sure that, as we grow exponentially in impact, we maintain our iACT way, our mission, and our core values. In ten—or 100!—years, we want iACT to continue to be about hope in action for people affected by mass atrocities and genocide.
When first thinking about this transition, I realized that it was a great opportunity to make iACT even stronger, exponentially! What better way to do this than by having Sara-Christine and Katie-Jay be Co-Executive Directors and lead the way for all iACT activities.
Either of them alone would be AMAZING, and I would follow them into battle anywhere. I have close to literally followed them into battle.
I have been on countless trips with Sara-Christine to some of the most difficult places on earth. At times when things have looked the bleakest, and we’re faced with impossible odds, she has told me with resolve and as a challenge: “What are we going to do about it?” And she immediately gets to work on the path that will have us beat those odds.
I have been with KTJ when bullets are flying, and we’re on the floor trying to escape. At that moment, she calmly looks over and says, “Are you OK?” In these 10 years of iACT (+2 before), KTJ has taken on the creation and growth of the organization that is currently iACT.
Here are some words from our new Co-Executive Directors:
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to co-lead iACT with Sara-Christine Dallain, my longtime team member and friend. I believe that iACT is more than an organization. We are a team, a family, who sees and hears one another. I hope that everyone who is part of iACT knows this, and more importantly feels this. At the root of our work is the idea that every person deserves to live a meaningful and fulfilling life free of violence and harm. In my new role as Co-Executive Director, I will work to empower those affected by mass atrocities to use their voice to identify and their agency to create solutions that meet their needs. I commit to creating a stronger, more sustainable foundation from which iACT can grow its impact. I pledge to push myself, our volunteer team members, and our paid staff, both in the U.S. and in refugee camps, to participate in self-reflection and personal growth because social change begins at the individual level.
When I was a little girl, I believed I was going to leave this world better, stronger than when I came into it. It is a true honor to work every day towards this better world as a member of the iACT family. As the Aboriginal elder, activist, and educator Lilla Watson once said “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Let us continue our work together.
It is with great humility and excitement that I step into Co-Executive Director of iACT with the one and only, Katie-Jay. I began my journey with iACT, and many of you, six years ago as a volunteer. What I found most compelling about iACT then is still what drives me to be a part of our team today: we pour so much energy into creating personal connections; we never lose sight of the human in front of us, and next to us, in our humanitarian work; we refuse to accept the status quo and that things cannot be done differently; and we do the work, every day, together, with joy, compassion, and laughter. Building upon this foundation and culture, I’m eager to drive our efforts in creating a system that upholds dignity, that is empowering, and that creates pathways for peaceful futures for displaced communities. Every trip I take with iACT, I witness the strength, resilience, and ingenuity of refugee people and communities, and with their guidance, I truly believe we can change the way the world responds to people affected by mass atrocities.
As I enter into this new role, know that the magnitude of responsibility doesn’t escape me and that three values will be guiding my leadership: curiosity, courage, and collaboration. I’ll ask questions, listen, and learn from the experiences, knowledge, and perspectives of others. I’ll choose courage over comfort, lean into tough decisions and conversations, and ensure iACT takes bold leaps on behalf of the communities we work with. I’ll fortify how we work together as a team—staff, volunteers, board members, community partners, and displaced communities—knowing we can accomplish so much more together than we can alone.
These programs are entirely community-led. They made every decision from which day to run the program to what hours and to who will be on the teaching team each day. The teams are diverse and yet they have committed to working together.
Trust in the process. Trust in the modeling before the explanation. Trust in the people. Trust in the children, and they will trust you.
If there is anything that can foster community between people and across cultures, it is sharing a meal and a cup of tea. While we do that, we will also be sure to sprinkle in some early childhood development, mindfulness, and games!