SANTA BARBARA, CA – Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara’s (GIGSB) Board of Directors has hired women’s leadership advocate and policy expert Jennifer Faust (she/her/elle/ella) as the organization’s next CEO. Faust will begin the role on January 3, 2022, after a thoughtful transition this fall for her and her family relocating from Los Angeles. Tom Blabey, Girls Inc.’s interim Executive Director and COO will continue to lead the organization and serve as primary contact through the end of 2021.
During the transition Jen will consult with board and staff on special projects, which include evaluating board structure and preparing to launch a strategic planning process in 2022. Jen will also begin meeting with a variety of Girls Inc. stakeholders in the coming months – including donors and program partners – to discuss how Girls Inc. can contribute even greater value to the community through program expansion opportunities and increased advocacy initiatives promoting girls’ and women’s rights.
“Jen is a strategic and visionary leader and experienced community builder who will be a strong advocate for the Girls Inc. mission and for girls and women in our community,” GIGSB Board President Tracy Jenkins said. “She is the right leader for us today, and her experience and talents will help lead us confidently into the future as Girls Inc. works to dismantle systemic gender inequity, racism, and other biases that impact the rights and opportunities for girls and teens.”
Faust’s hiring follows a nine-month board-driven national executive search that included board, staff, parent, and community input. Her leadership in ensuring girls’ and women’s empowerment and equal participation at the policy level and practice has been evident throughout her career.
She brings to Girls Inc. an impressive mix of 25 years of strategic leadership, systems change management, and fundraising (major gifts), as well as policy expertise and passionate advocacy for gender equity and women in leadership. Her background in DEI, program development, and team building will help advance strategic initiatives the organization has launched in these areas in 2021.
“I am truly fortunate to be joining Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara at this pivotal time,” Faust said. “My mission remains set on giving voice to and championing marginalized leaders so we can all ensure that gender inequity is a thing of the past. I am moving from my decades-long career in foreign affairs after realizing that, as one of only a few women at my level in a male-dominated field, I could offer valuable guidance to other professional women and the girls and teens on the rise.”
Additionally, Jen offers significant experience in international social justice and policy efforts, working to secure economic and voting rights for women in Kosovo, among other countries. She also served in the U.S. Peace Corps where she organized broad-based economic empowerment movements for women’s groups in Haiti.
Most recently, Jen served as Executive Director for the Pacific Council on International Policy, University of Southern California. She is a women’s empowerment coach with a bachelor’s degree in business management from The George Washington University and she holds a master’s degree in political economy from The London School of Economics and Political Science.
Learn more about Jennifer Faust on Girls Inc.’s website.