Meet Our New Chief of Staff

Erin Rossitto, WDN member and former board member twice over, has joined our team as Chief of Staff. She answers why she stepped into this role and what she’s most excited about.

Photo: Erin Rossitto

You were a member before you took the role of our new Chief of Staff. Why did you decide to join the staff team?
I have enjoyed a very meandering journey with WDN so I might need to start at the beginning for this question! I joined WDN in 2003 – back when my GenX cohort was the youngest among us. As the years progressed, and my connection to the WDN community deepened, I was fortunate to step into other roles. I served on the WDN Board of Directors (2010-2016) where I took a turn as Chair and then again as a board member from 2021-2022. At other times, I was a consultant to the organization on several hiring processes (looking at you here Ayana, Nirvana, Jenna, Lindsay, and Christine!) supported the first year of the ABC Fund, and then came on as a full-time strategic advisor when Leena stepped into leadership. I always felt an enormous affinity and respect for the WDN staff each and every time I worked with them and loved having an even closer connection to the work of the organization. I probably could have skipped right to this part…who wouldn’t want to join a multi-racial, multi-gen, multi-talented social justice mission-driven team that also happens to be shepherding an organization that is beloved to me into an exciting new chapter?!

Will you stay a member of WDN? And how can members expect to interact with you as Chief of Staff?
Yes, I will continue to be a member. WDN has long been the best way for me to leverage my donor dollars to drive change and grow as a donor activist in a learning community with shared values. I see those things as still possible while being first and foremost accountable to the organization as a member of the staff.

As Chief of Staff, members can expect to see and interact with me in spaces where we gather as a network, as a point of contact in the office of our President & CEO Leena Barakat, and in all things related to our new strategic plan. What I love about the Chief of Staff position is the role I have as a connector across organizational functions. It means I will have my finger on the pulse of the organization and can be a great resource for members.

What are you most looking forward to?
So many things! I have such confidence in Leena and a ton of excitement around
supporting her leadership and vision. Also top of mind right now is the anticipation of sharing a new strategic plan with our network this Fall. I have been project managing the process since the beginning so I can tell you firsthand that the plan will be inspirational and aspirational. It will build on our past and encourage us to be even bolder in our work together. During this process, I reflected on my early days with WDN as one of the youngest members. I didn’t always feel like part of the pack but I stayed because I valued how members were willing to be challenged and do hard work in service of an ever-evolving WDN. And here I am, two decades later! So I look forward to seeing how we can stretch ourselves in this moment so that the next youngest members see that we are building for them.

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