We spoke with Rena Greifinger, Managing Director, Maverick Collective, Population Services International, 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?
I stepped into a new leadership role at the beginning of 2020 and one of the WomenLift mentors recommended me for the program. This could not have come at a better time in my career. I applied because the Journey would give me the opportunity to carve out the time and space that I knew I needed for personal reflection, network-building, and professional growth.
What has been a highlight of your Journey experience so far?
The community and the personal coaching have been the highlights of the experience so far. This is such an incredible group of women who, from day one, have been like a lifeline of support across the personal and the professional realms. I know that I can be vulnerable and authentic with each and every one of them, and that I can lean on them for support as I try new aspects of leadership and learn along the way. The coaching is also invaluable, and I have come to cherish the sessions with my coach dearly. It is too rare that women like us get this kind of support.
What is your Leadership Journey Project and why did you choose it?
My leadership project is the launch of a new philanthropic vehicle from the Maverick Collective called the Maverick Portfolio. The Portfolio will tackle systemic barriers to women and girls achieving sexual and reproductive health around the world, by upending traditional power dynamics in philanthropy. Through a grassroots-led approach that focuses on shifting power, partnering with local feminist movements, and going where typical funders won’t, the Portfolio hopes to accelerate progress toward gender equity and reproductive justice, while creating a model for other international non-profits and donors.
What has surprised you about the WomenLift Health Leadership Journey experience?
I’ve been joyfully surprised by how much time and space these incredibly successful, ambitious, and busy women make for one another. It is truly an exceptional community whose journey together is just beginning.
How can we ensure that we are centering women and girls in health?
Engage them, ask them, and most importantly listen to them when designing and delivering the solutions that will impact their lives. Women and girls are experts of their own experience, and that expertise is just as, if not more, valuable than any professional training and accomplishments that we in the public health workforce have. We need more women and girls who have lived experience of the challenges that we wish to solve in the drivers’ seat of designing solutions. Women’s leadership programs like Women Lift have an enormous role to play in that.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by women philanthropists like those I work with at the Maverick Collective by PSI who are making bold and flexible investments in sexual and reproductive health, gender justice, racial justice and systems change solutions – all alongside the women and girls we serve. We are moving from transactional funding models to transformative problem-solving relationships, all in service of gender equality.