June 3, 2021
Leadership Announcement from Board President, Aislinn Canarr (she, her):
It is with a heart full of both sadness and joy that I share the news that Andrea Irwin will be stepping down as Executive Director of Mabel Wadsworth Center after six years of leadership. Andrea is the second-ever Executive Director in our 37-year history of providing exceptional client-centered reproductive and sexual health care, and educating and advocating for reproductive health, rights, and justice.
Under her leadership, the Center invested in an ambitious three-year strategic plan that has guided us through significant change and new opportunities. Under her visioning and with the support of the board of directors and staff leadership team, Andrea has led the Center to a place of stability and growth.
Under Andrea’s leadership, the Center:
- Reckoned with its feminist identity and legacy to reimagine a more gender inclusive mission in alignment with our values, and now welcomes people of all genders.
- Expanded clinical services to become the region’s largest provider for trans clients; and to offer a more holistic and comprehensive model of care for all, including primary care, mental health counseling, and client advocate services to help clients to enroll in health coverage and overcome other barriers to care.
- Became a nationally known and respected leader in providing and advocating for trans-inclusive abortion care and other reproductive healthcare.
- Prioritized abortion justice and relentlessly advocated for dismantling the discriminatory and racist Hyde Amendment and other restrictions that harm people who need abortion care; acted as lead plaintiff in ACLU lawsuit to restore state Medicaid coverage of abortion.
- Spoke loudly and unapologetically about abortion in unexpected forums by lifting the voices of people who have abortions.
- Strengthened Mainers’ access to abortion care by championing the enactment of new state laws to require MaineCare coverage of abortion care, and to allow nurse practitioners to provide abortion care, demonstrably increasing access for people struggling to make ends meet and in rural areas.
Today Mabel’s is a nationally recognized feminist health center known for our exceptional abortion care, trans care, and other essential health services. As we have become a leading provider for LGBTQ+ care in Maine, Andrea’s commitment to social justice and centering the experiences of folks living at the margins, precipitated our work to prioritize racial justice and equity. While it has been a time full of stress and challenge, her strategic thinking, vision, and pragmatic base saw the Center not only stay open to serve clients during a pandemic, but thrive as well. Her focus has always been on the community we serve, and the care of the staff that serve them. I and the Center will miss Andrea’s enthusiasm, care, and curiosity. I am grateful that I got a chance to work closely with her as Board President.
Andrea’s last day with the Center will be June 18. After informing the Board of this news last month, we have worked closely with her to create an initial transition plan to share with our community. The Board has formed an experienced transition team and intends to hire an external interim Executive Director before hiring the Center’s next Executive Director. Kate Waning (she/her), the Center’s current Director of Finance and Operations, will become Acting Director upon Andrea’s departure, before an interim director is selected.
Andrea leaves the Center in an excellent position to be intentional and thoughtful in our approach in hiring our next Executive Director. We will be reflecting on equity in hiring and attracting great talent. Our focus will be leadership based in feminist and racially equitable models in order to better serve our clients and community.
Andrea will be missed dearly, but I am also excited for her next chapter and our ongoing partnership with her as a valued member of our community.
What a time. To pause. To reflect. To prioritize our work. To grow in opportunity.
Thank you all for you do to support the Center. Please contact me directly with questions or concerns at email@example.com.
Message from Andrea:
Leading Mabel Wadsworth Center for the past six years has been a privilege for which I am profoundly grateful. I am especially grateful to current board president Aislinn Canarr and past president Suzanne Gordon, and the entire board, for their strong leadership and commitment to the Center. I have also truly enjoyed working with such an incredible team of staff and volunteers, who meet every challenge with courage, grace, and resilience.
My pride in this team and our work to support our clients with compassion, and to impact our broader community, is immense. I am especially proud of our work to celebrate the experiences of people who have abortions, and to build trust and strengthen relationships within the trans community. Mabel’s has always been on the frontlines, acting boldly and with great clarity of vision and values, a legacy that will undoubtedly continue.
While I am leaving the Executive Director role, I remain deeply committed to the movement for reproductive health, rights, and justice, and look forward to continuing to be a part of Mabel’s vibrant, diverse, and powerful community. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to steward this dynamic organization for six years!