“I missed doing the work”
Ask a COO what a COO does and you’ll likely get a brief pause. Mala is no different, but you can tell she takes the responsibility seriously. “The COO ensures the vision of the board and the CEO is implemented in a strategic and clear way. That the team members see themselves in that vision, and that everyone is invested in the growth of the team and organization.”
But more to heart, Mala says, “I would love to see a clear voice when it comes to policy and advocacy.”
Mala is no stranger to her self-described “systems-level work”. “It’s about changing policy at the state or institutional level. Making changes that help our foster youth navigate life a little bit better,” she says.
Foster Success has pushed for healthcare policy changes and worked to lift barriers that prevent foster youth from showcasing their talents to themselves and the world for years.
“Working for Foster Success gives me the opportunity to get back into doing the work. I missed that. I missed doing the work.”
“My comfort zone is talking about difficult topics”
In her new role as COO, Mala wants every foster youth to know one thing: “We see you. We hear you. We want to make sure you’re seen in every conversation we have. Whether it’s in education or healthcare of financial literacy.”
She adds, “We all want to talk about equitable outcomes for youth. But a lot of the time foster youth aren’t involved in those conversations. I want youth to know that Foster Success is in these spaces working to bring your voice to the table.”
Now at Foster Success with these items squarely in front of her she wants to use the voice she’s developed, combine it with the staff’s expertise, and do similar systems-level change in Indiana and elsewhere.
You can email Monika at firstname.lastname@example.org.