We share a passion for systems changing social change.
Jen's grandparents were part of an anthropological lineage connected to famous figures like Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, and Ruth Benedict. In college, Lynsey developed a passion for cultural anthropology and pursued it through a PhD. For both of us, there is no other field that asks questions in the same way about social relationships and cultural diversity.
We share a deep respect for the power of cultural systems in shaping our world, but our backgrounds are different. Jen worked in the private sector with early digital media and then in public administration. She is is fascinated by how we can redesign systems, from small communities to big institutions, to make a real and lasting difference. Lynsey has dedicated almost two decades to deepening her understanding of youth development and social innovation, first in Nairobi, Kenya, and then supporting impact-driven organizations across Sub-Saharan Africa through research, analysis, and capacity development.
We met while serving on the board of the Grandmother Project: Change Through Culture. This Senegalese-American organization, founded by Dr. Judi Aubel, is focused on improving the lives of women and girls through holistic and inclusive programs that engage everyone in the community. Our involvement with GMP led to the realization of something crucial -- in many community development programs, grandmothers and older women are left out, even though they play a critical role in socializing young people, in moral education, and in the development of our social connections. The impact these grandmothers have had in Senegal is undeniable – from girls staying in school longer to eradicating harmful practices like female circumcision and early marriage.
We wondered if similar models existed in other communities where grandmothers and older women were a driving force behind positive change? Could we connect these grandmothers to each other and grow a unifying movement that brought older women into the center of community development?
That's how the spark of the collective was born. We imagined an organization that would bring together those who were harnessing the wisdom of older women to drive transformative change. We wanted also to inspire others to recognize the potential of grandmothers as leaders of change, both in local contexts and on a global scale.
Relying on our diverse backgrounds and deep rooted belief that communities have the solutions, we are growing a global network of organizations and individuals who agree that grandmothers are a key to unlocking potential. With each new connection and partnership, we're spreading the message that older women can lead the way to a future where more people thrive.