Q&A with Lyudmila Nepomnyashchiy, Director, Community Health Acceleration Partnership

We spoke with Mila Nepomnyashchiy, Director, Community Health Acceleration Partnership, and one of the members of our 2021 U.S. Leadership Journey. Read our Q&A to learn about what has surprised her about the Journey and who is inspiring her.


Why did you choose to apply for the WomenLift Leadership Journey?  

To take stock of my leadership potential at a pivotal point in my career. 


What has been a highlight of your Journey experience so far?

Connecting with like-minded women who face similar challenges. Application touch points with Jessica Davidson, forcing us to confront tough questions about ourselves and our teams. 

Having a safe space to be vulnerable with others outside of my immediate work environment.  The support and encouragement are food for the soul, particularly at a time of so many transitions!


What is your Leadership Journey Project and why did you choose it?

Supporting WLH staff to develop a robust alumnae strategy. Chosen because it encourages me to think about team connectivity and the sustainability of that in a way I have never done before. I am inspired by this because I strongly believe in WLH’s value proposition and the importance of a strong alumnae program as part of that.


What has surprised you about the WomenLift Health Leadership Journey experience?

How vulnerable we can be in a safe space with people we don’t know all that well. The facilitation has done an incredible job of that.


How can we ensure that we are centering women and girls in health?

I’m assuming ‘We’ refers to WLH? Change has to happen at the individual, organizational and societal levels. We generally need to see more systematic change at the organizational and societal level. Policies that support women to stay in the workplace (organizational and govt) and tactics (primarily at organizational and individual levels) that can help women be more intentional about their professional development. This is especially a challenge in the non-profit sector where limited resources typically prohibit expenses on PD-related items.

I think we need to reflect on the fact that the majority of women who work in health, do so in challenging circumstances with very little support when it comes to PD. So if programs like WLH do not exist and without advocacy for policy change at govt and org levels, we have little reason to think anything will change.


Who inspires you?

Depends – I get inspiration from different people – women are a consistent theme. These include my parents for persevering with a challenging immigration journey as political refugees (with me in tow!) and instilling in me core values.

More recently – Jessica Davidson, for sharing her story raising 5 kids and creating an amazing career for herself.

My great-aunt, Agathe Nadai, who switched careers in her 50s (from pharmacology to geology!), accepted a decision to be a stay at home mom for 10 years to support her daughter who struggled with health challenges and who continues to have a thriving life in her late 80s now. Seeing what she was able to do gives me so much strength and perspective.

And of course, the many well-known women who broke ceilings – I think well articulated in a miro board we did a while back!