Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara (GIGSB) has announced women’s leadership advocate and policy expert Jennifer Faust as the organization’s next CEO. Faust began her new role on January 3, 2022.
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 in practice has been evident throughout her career.
“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 to make gender inequity a thing of the past. I look forward to working with the organization’s extraordinary staff and board to elevate the important work ahead of us. Together we will lead the next phases of Girls Inc.’s growth and impact, so all girls have the opportunities to reach their greatest potential.”
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 over the past year.
“Jen is a strategic, 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,” said GIGSB Board Vice President Tracy Jenkins, who helped lead the executive search process. “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 was hired in September of 2021 and served in a consulting role for the organization through the end of the year while her family relocated to Santa Barbara from Los Angeles. During the transition she worked with board and staff on special projects that continue into 2022, such as evaluating board structure and preparing to launch a strategic planning process. Faust has also met with a variety of Girls Inc. stakeholders – including donors and program partners – to begin ongoing dialogue about 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.
“Watch for Jen to be a leading, influential voice and collaborator to help shape the critical community conversations around how we ensure all girls can grow up healthy, educated, and independent,” said GIGSB Board President Paul Portney.
Additionally, Faust 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, Faust 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 a master’s degree in political economy from The London School of Economics and Political Science.
Our vision: empowered girls in an equitable society. For more than 60 years, Girls Inc. has inspired girls in our community to be strong, smart, and bold. As one of 79 Girls Inc. affiliates in the U.S., we advance girls’ rights and opportunities through direct service and advocacy, based in the belief that every girl deserves the opportunity to grow up healthy, educated, and independent. Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara annually serves more than 1,300 girls, ages 5-18, through remote school day learning support programs, after-school and summer camp enrichment programs, a dedicated teen center, and recreational-to-competitive gymnastics program.