26 February 2024

Reflections On My First Day as Executive Director

Today is my first day as Accountability Counsel’s Executive Director, and I am reflecting on community and accountability.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the community of advocates, supporters, movements, and organizations that have made Accountability Counsel what it is today. This is Accountability Counsel’s 15th year, which is an incredible feat and speaks to the strength of our team and broader community! We could not do our work alone. I’m grateful to:

  • Communities globally who have welcomed Accountability Counsel to advise on accountability strategies and amplify their voices;
  • Natalie Bridgeman Fields for her vision and persistent efforts to create Accountability Counsel in the first place and build it to what it is today;
  • Lani Inverarity, who led Accountability Counsel as Interim Executive Director, developed our ambitious organizational priorities, and will lead our programmatic work going forward;
  • Funders who saw the potential of Accountability Counsel at the very beginning and who have supported our work over the past fifteen years; and
  • The global network of civil society organizations and community rights advocates who work alongside Accountability Counsel as partners in our shared mission to hold powerful institutions accountable to the people they harm.

I feel an immense responsibility to ensure our organization’s continued accountability to our mission and values. Even with our deeply held commitment to community-driven advocacy, we must acknowledge Accountability Counsel’s positionality and the ever-present risk that we replicate the harms of the systems in which we work. I have confidence in and trust the judgment of our global team of exceptional advocates who commit to working at the request of communities seeking justice. We implement a respect-based approach to our work that keeps community clients as lead decision-makers in the advocacy that impacts their lives. Our casework drives direct impact, our research exposes patterns of harmful investment, and our policy advocacy changes systems at scale. We can envision the world we want, and we won’t stop until our vision is a reality.

Being an accountable member of a community means sharing our struggles and seeing the interconnectedness of our goals. I applied and prepared for this new role as the Israeli government killed thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, and painfully, Accountability Counsel’s November 2023 call for a ceasefire remains relevant today. We cannot truly achieve our vision of accountable institutions while powerful actors operate with impunity, whether in Gaza, Haiti, Myanmar, Uganda, or the United States.

All together, with the people most impacted leading the way, we must dismantle oppressive systems and seek a world where people and our planet are prioritized over profits, powerful institutions are responsive to the needs of communities, and the global financial system respects human and environmental rights.

Thank you to supporters of our vision. I invite everyone to join us in our ambitious and exciting next chapter.