Girl Be Heard Celebrates Young Women Through Theatre


Chief of Staff & Director of Operations at Girl Be Heard Jen Thatcher shares what’s in store for the organization, and why she and the Girl Be Heard team love how Nonprofit New York helps them meet their mission.

Tell me about the organization and a little bit about what you do.
Girl Be Heard develops, amplifies, and celebrates the voices of young women through socially conscious theatre-making.

Our Programs and Workshops create a safe, supportive environment for youth to talk about issues they care about and learn how to work together as an ensemble. Our curriculum fosters healthy, confident, self-aware young people who are engaged in their schools and communities.

How many are on your team?
We have 10 full-time positions and approximately 20 part-time. The part-time staff are largely our Teaching Artists, who deliver our programming, complemented by a small number of “feminists-in-residence” who provide in-office administrative support.

Servicing how many of the population?
We serve approximately 150-200 program participants annually and reach thousands of audience members through our performances.

Where do you see your organization in the next five years or ten years? What is your blue sky

It’s an exciting time for Girl Be Heard! Our founding Executive Director, Jessica Greer Morris, has just turned over the reins to our new ED, Chiwoniso Kaitano. (You can learn more about the transition in this lovely interview by M.M. Lafleur.

In order to grow and see your mission fulfilled, what do you need?
In the next 5-10 years, I expect to see a significant amount of growth, both in our New York programs and our global programs (we currently have a program in Trinidad and Tobago which we hope to replicate in other countries).

How has Nonprofit New York helped you succeed?
Nonprofit New York has been a tremendous resource for me personally and for the organization more generally. When I came on board at Girl Be Heard as the Chief of Staff / Director of Operations in 2015, it was from a 15-year career in the federal government. While I was a seasoned professional in the area of organizational operations (budgeting, finance, grants, HR, facilities, IT), I was new to the New York nonprofit environment. The training offered by Nonprofit New York (a free benefit of our membership) was invaluable in assisting me in ensuring Girl Be Heard’s operational processes and procedures reflected best industry practices. We were recognized for this when we were named a Finalist for the Nonprofit Excellence Awards in 2017.

What are you currently working on that you want us to mention to our membership?
Organizational excellence is a matter of continuous improvement. As such, I am always looking for ways to run our organization more efficiently and effectively.

In addition, we are currently in the 3rd year of a 3-year strategic plan. With the tenure of our new ED just beginning, we are very much looking forward to developing our new strategic plan to map our vision for the next 3-5 years.