A Message From TIME’S UP Interim President & CEO Monifa Bandele

By Monifa Bandele

On September 1, 2021, I was named the interim President & Chief Executive Officer of TIME’S UP Foundation and TIME’S UP Now. This, alongside recent changes made by the Governing Board of Directors, marks a new chapter for the organization.

I recognize that the past several weeks have been extremely challenging for our community, and I appreciate that each of us are processing these events in a range of different ways. My first order of business as interim President & Chief Executive Officer has been to hear directly from as many people as possible — survivors, first, but also other community members who are willing to offer feedback. I want to listen to your frustrations, concerns, thoughts and recommendations, and involve our allies and critics in the process of building a better organization as we chart a path forward. I am encouraged by the messages of support that I have received to date from partners and colleagues, and I am energized by the work ahead.

While I have been serving as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer since November 2020, I realize that I have not had the opportunity to “meet” many of you. As such, I wanted to give you a chance to get to know me better.

I am a mom and a Black feminist. I come from a long line of women who fought for gender and racial justice to advance our families and community. My earliest memory of women building power to protect their families was watching my mom, a social worker, lead a rent strike that began with our building and then became the biggest city-wide rent strike in history, winning a landmark court decision. My grandmother was shut out of her lifelong dream of being a doctor and, instead, built the first pipeline into nursing for Black women in Pittsburgh. This is the kind of women-led power building that I come from and strive to facilitate.

For two and a half decades, my organizing model has always been rooted in establishing power through base-building efforts alongside policy advocacy, private sector change, litigation, and strategic communications. Prior to TIME’S UP, I served as senior vice president and chief equity and partnerships officer at MomsRising, co-leading a national on-the-ground and online grassroots organization of more than a million people working to achieve economic security and justice for moms, women, and families.

I came to TIME’S UP because of the organization’s commitment to fair, safe, and dignified workplaces. As COO, I led operations, culture change, and policy campaigns that work to achieve TIME’S UP’s strategic goals. From serving as a principal in our We, As Ourselves initiative to center the voices of Black survivors, to my leadership during our efforts to address the sexist and racist culture of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, I have focused on speaking truth to power.

I take seriously the responsibility of guiding TIME’S UP through this next phase. I understand that, most immediately, we must do the hard work of repairing trust, reconciling relationships, and building power for women workers. This week, we made an important step forward in that process with the announcement that we will be working with Leilani M. Brown — a well regarded executive with decades of experience as a leader in corporate, non-profit and higher education centers in a strategic organizational review process. You can read more about the process here.

We are at an inflection point for this organization. I know there will be obstacles ahead, but I stand steadfast in one of the founding principles of TIME’S UP — women should be linked, not ranked. This is the time for us to reconnect to our origin story and support one another, raise each other up, stand by one another, especially in difficult times such as these. Dismantling the patriarchy and the systems that have enabled abuse for far too long are what we are all ultimately striving to do.

And, until we live in a world in which all women are afforded safe, fair, and dignified work, I believe that TIME’S UP has an essential role to play.