The Kathy Duffy Espy Leadership for Social Change Program
Beginning in 2023, YWCA’s leadership program will be known as “The Kathy Duffy Espy Leadership for Social Change Program.” This program will engage young women at the beginning of their careers, helping them understand how discriminatory practices, policies, and beliefs produce various forms of inequity. The program participants are then better prepared to speak up and act out on behalf of themselves and others – just as Kathy so often did for her community.
Kathy was integral to YWCA’s growth in Columbus through her volunteering, board leadership, and advocacy. Serving as a mentor and celebrating others for their achievements, Kathy lived the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women every day. Known for her gentle wisdom and unwavering support of women, she had a bold vision to bring diversity to every table where she was invited, generating a lasting impact that is still felt at YWCA Columbus and in our community today.
We believe we are responsible for educating and empowering the next generation of women and nonbinary leaders. Through the 11-month learning experience, emerging leaders will engage in workshops with community experts working in organizations that create social change. Experts from grassroots, political, community-based, educational, and nonprofit organizations help participants develop practical and theoretical knowledge about current issues and models for creating change.
We are proud to honor Kathy’s legacy and grateful to our generous donors who have ensured this program will be around for many years to come.
The deadline to apply for this year’s program has been extended to Friday, Dec. 1! Learn more and apply at the links below.
Leadership Program Goals
Recruit, Inform and Empower
Recruit, inform, and empower a diverse group of advocates to become the next generation of leaders in Central Ohio, who can identify needs for social change and effectively develop strategies to address these needs
Learn What Perpetuates Inequalities
Educate participants about the critical factors that create and perpetuate inequalities in our community
Connect Young Leaders
Connect young leaders to a network and resources that will support their leadership endeavors for social change
The ideal applicant is an emerging leader in their 20s or 30s at the beginning of their career and leadership journey without much formal leadership experience. Applicants must be 21-39 years of age. They desire to be involved in the Columbus community through professional and community service and want to effect positive social change.
Applicants will, preferably, have little to no formal leadership development training in academic, community, or work settings. Their passion for social change will align with YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, and the candidate will be able to fully commit to meeting at least once a month during the 11 month-program. We welcome cisgender women, transgender women, and non-binary individuals who experience gender-based oppression and are comfortable participating in a women’s program to apply.
Upon acceptance into the Leadership for Social Change program, each participant is required to pay a program tuition of $300 due no later than Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024.
Participants will be asked to complete an employer commitment agreement. The commitment is a way for participants to share their acceptance with their employers, ensure they are in agreement about the time commitment, and highlight the participant’s commitment to ongoing leadership development. We encourage participants to explore with their supervisors the possibility of the company sponsoring their participation.
Scholarships are available for those experiencing financial hardships. Please inquire for more details.
25 participants will be selected for the 2024 Leadership for Social Change program. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in discussion with each other, workshop presenters, and Columbus community leaders around a myriad of social justice, personal, and professional development topics.
The program seeks to support emerging leaders who bring new ideas, methods, and energy to social change work. Throughout the duration of the program and beyond, participants will be challenged to do the following:
- Participate in workshops facilitated by those working with social change organizations, particularly grassroots and community-based groups
- Enhance their confidence to actively participate in democratic processes
- Strive to strengthen their ability to help shape progressive policies in the communities in which they live and work
- Develop theoretical and practical knowledge/approaches to leadership and social change
- Identify and build relationships with community members within local social service, education, and governmental agencies as they begin to participate in movement-building work
- Contribute to changing discourses in various workplace environments to endorse progressive social justice values
- Participate in group volunteer opportunities that utilize their leadership skills and passions to further YWCA Columbus’ advocacy priorities
This 11-month learning experience will include formal and informal learning opportunities for participants. Program components will appeal to a variety of leadership learning styles and may include, but are not limited to, personal and professional development, experiential learning, fundraising, and networking.
In addition to monthly meetings, Cohort Connection events provide voluntary opportunities where participants can connect with one another and the program’s alumni through educational workshops, community-building events, and book/movie discussions in a book study style format.
The safety and health of all YWCA Columbus program participants is our primary concern. 2024 Leadership for Social Change sessions will take place in-person at YWCA Columbus’ downtown office (located at 65 S. 4th Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215) but we reserve the right to transition to virtual sessions, depending on the state of COVID-19. Consistent participation is expected, regardless if sessions meet virtually or in person.
Leadership for Social Change participants are expected to do the following:
- Miss no more than three scheduled meetings and events, including the mandatory Opening Retreat on Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024 and the mandatory Closing Retreat on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2024
- Fully participate in all discussions, activities, and networking opportunities
- Be open to new ideas and points of view
- Complete all the requirements of the Board Member Informational Interview and #AlliesOnAMission group service project
- Participants must conduct an informational interview with a sitting board member and turn in a one-page written summary of their experience by the Closing Retreat.
- Participants must complete a group service project and give a 5-7 minute presentation at the Closing Retreat.
- Complete the program volunteer requirement centered around civic engagement
- Practice networking with YWCA Columbus Alumni and Board Members at the summer Alumni Mixer
Share Your Spotlight
Across the city and country, in all professional roles and career stages, LSC Alum are change-makers, leaders, and innovators in advancing social change. It is important that we acknowledge and celebrate these efforts. Have you or a fellow LSC alum accomplished something spotlight worthy (i.e. joined a Board, landed a new leadership position, been recognized for your contributions, etc.)? Please share and we’ll highlight an alum each month! And yes! Please feel confident to highlight yourself!