Meet our new Executive Director!

We have major news to share with you today: we’ve hired a new Executive Director to take the reins when Founding Director Jaclyn Friedman steps down at the end of the year. And she’s FANTASTIC.

Starting in January, Jamia Wilson will become WAM!’s next Executive Director. Jamia was selected from a highly competitive field of candidates for her unique combination of stellar qualifications, proven leadership, and passionate vision for WAM!. Jamia is the quintessential WAM!mer, from her relentless efforts to increase gender justice across the media landscape to her wicked sense of humor.

Wilson has been a movement builder, a media maker and a storyteller for over a decade. She previously served as the Executive Director of YTH (Youth Tech Health), and has held roles as the TED Prize Storyteller, the Vice President of Programs at The Women’s Media Center, and the principal for Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s youth outreach program. And as an added bonus, she is also a long-time WAM!mer, where she has been an active member of WAM!NYC, our first and oldest local chapter.

A leading next-generation voice on feminism and gender justice, Jamia’s work and words have appeared in and on outlets such as New York Magazine, The Today Show, CNN, Ms., The Washington Post and more.  Recognized as one of the “17 Faces of the Future of Feminism” by Refinery 29, Jamia is a staff writer for Rookie Magazine, an online magazine for teenage girls, and has contributed to several books such as Madonna and Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop, and the 40th edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

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“WAM! is many things–a media organization, a cultural catalyst, and a grassroots movement,” WAM!’s soon-to-be new ED, Jamia Wilson says.  “I’m honored to deepen my commitment to an organization that has proven time and again that a small devoted team can be a mighty force. Building on Jaclyn’s legacy, I can’t wait to contribute my experience with solutions-driven media making, and collaboration-fueled media activism. l look forward to working with the WAM! community to leverage our collective power, expertise, and network to bring women, women of color, and trans folks’ voices from the margins to the center of our public conversation.”

10360537_10103053078787439_8983377686504391275_nBut before we say hello to Jamia, we want to honor and thank Jaclyn for everything she has poured into WAM! and the gender justice field. Starting with co-founding the first WAM! conference nearly 11 years ago, we’re beyond grateful for Jaclyn’s visionary work that has brought us to this moment.  WAM! is now a direct-action powerhouse that takes on multinational corporations like Facebook and Clear Channel–and wins! In the last year, WAM! has challenged misogyny at Twitter and helped to drive national conversations around online gender harassment, turned out crowds across the country to give the Anita Hill documentary a huge opening weekend, organized dozens of women’s groups to fight for Net Neutrality, and insisted that trans women be treated with dignity and respect by the news media.

WAM! is also fostering new leadership and building powerful communities through our local chapters across North America–from Toronto to DC to LA–where members are sharing resources, expertise and taking action together. WAM! provides connection points for all our members–from rounding up and publicizing the writings and perspectives of WAM!mer’s on important social issues to WAM!’s Entertainment Guide that helps to remind us we can have our gender justice and fun at the same time.

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We’re also excited to announce that as part of the Campaign for WAM!’s Future, with the goal of raising  $100,000 to serve as a launching pad for Jamia in 2015, four very special donors are providing a gift of $8,500 in Jaclyn’s honor. What amazing support!

And now we turn to you, dear WAM!mers and friends. With the passing of the leadership torch, this is the critical moment that we can come together and show our gratefulness to Jaclyn and our excitement for Jamia.  If you’ve already donated this year, we sincerely thank you, and ask that you dig deep one more time before the end of the year.  If you haven’t donated before, this is your opportunity to support both WAM!’s vision and its support of the next generation of gender justice voices.

Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s Jaclyn: “Creating and leading WAM! has been one of the great honors of my life, which is why it’s so moving to me to hand the baton to Jamia–someone I so deeply trust with our mission, vision and community passion. I couldn’t have asked for a better successor. Now my last wish as Executive Director is that you give her the runway she needs to launch WAM!’s next phase. Whatever you can give right now will mean the world to me, and make a world of difference for what Jamia and WAM! can accomplish in 2015.”

It’s not often that an organization can claim to have ongoing, brilliant women-led leadership. But WAM! is more than an organization — it’s a community and a movement. We hope we can count you among us as we embark on this exciting new chapter.

photo of Jamia Wilson by Tani Ikeda