By Sara Morello, executive vice president & chief of staff
At Equal Justice Works, we are fortunate to have a strong and committed leadership team that supports its staff, Fellows, alumni, sponsors, and partners in creating opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. Change is inevitable, though, and this month we bid farewell to our colleague and friend Steve Denne as he retires from 43 years in public service, closing out this chapter as our vice president of institutional advancement. Steve brought his extensive experience—which began with a public service fellowship—to Equal Justice Works and helped us reach new levels of success even during the past, challenging year. We wish him all the best and send him off with sincere thanks for leading an outstanding development team that will surely continue to thrive and welcome more people into our community.
I am pleased to announce that Mia Sussman is stepping into the role of vice president of institutional advancement. Mia just celebrated her 10-year anniversary with Equal Justice Works, having led the unit that supports our signature Design-Your-Own Fellowship program, and expanding the community that supports our Fellows to include law firms, corporations, individuals, and foundations that share our vision of equal access to justice in America. Mia has an unwavering commitment to Equal Justice Works and our Fellows and has strong relationships with our sponsors, pro bono, and host site partners; her ongoing connection with our alumni speaks to the fondness she has for them, and they for her. During her tenure, our Design-Your-Own Fellowships program has grown tremendously as Mia strengthened our sponsor relationships, supported the launch of our new alumni engagement program, and built a terrific team of portfolio managers who will continue to foster this pipeline of future public service leaders. As she steps into her new role, Mia will bring her experience, enthusiasm, skills, and savvy to work across the organization to build support for Equal Justice Works and its Fellows who are helping to ensure that our country lives up to its promise of equal justice for all.
With Mia’s role change, we took the opportunity to adjust our internal structure to recognize the unity of our Equal Justice Works Fellows during their Fellowships and beyond. Kristen Uhler-McKeown, who has led the team supporting our cohort Fellowship programs for four years, will be our vice president of fellowships, taking the reins of a new single unit that brings together both of our post-graduate Fellowship programs and our alumni engagement program under one roof. Over the last four years, Kristen has transformed our cohort Fellowships into focused, responsive, and robust programs that move the needle on critical issues, build stronger communities of practice, and demonstrably increase capacity in legal services organizations across the country. Whether the issue is housing instability, elder abuse or disaster resilience, Equal Justice Works Fellows have worked and learned together under her guidance and with increased support from both public and private funders. Kristen has also worked with Mia to enrich the fellowship and alumni experiences, developing more opportunities for our Fellows and alumni to connect and learn from each other. Kristen will bring her substantial skills and experience in program design, management, and fundraising to lead a team of first-rate professionals dedicated to our Fellows and alumni, and will build from a position of strength to one of even greater impact driven by the passion of our Fellows and alumni.
I am so delighted to support the continued leadership development of these valued and visionary colleagues in advancing our work. I hope you are as excited as we all are to see where they will lead use, our Fellows, and indeed, the entire Equal Justice Works community in the future.