Meet VOW’s New Executive Director, Natasha Johnson

By Kris Leja, VOW Board Chair

On behalf of the entire Voice of Witness (VOW) team, please join us in welcoming Natasha Johnson as our new executive director. Natasha is an educator, attorney, and lifelong advocate for human rights and justice on a global scale.

Over the last six months, with the support of DRG Talent, we conducted a nationwide search. We received an outpouring of interest in this role with over 1,000 individuals across the United States applying. It was clear to the staff and board that Natasha was the right fit to help VOW realize our ambitious Vision Plan guiding our work over the next several years. We are excited to build on our commitment to advance justice through community-based oral history.

VOW's executive director, Natasha Johnson

Natasha brings impressive experience in both the nonprofit and academic sectors. For over two decades, Natasha has been an activist, educator, lawyer, and artist working primarily on intersectional gender justice. She served as the executive director of the North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence, as an anti-trafficking legal specialist drafting reform legislation in the Solomon Islands, and as a director of education working to support homeless LGBTQ youth.

In 2015, Natasha founded the nonprofit Globalizing Gender, an organization committed to creating a just world and preventing gender-based violence through capacity building, law, governance, and awareness. Three years later, Natasha organized New York City’s inaugural march to end female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) in the United States and was one of the lead contributors to a local statute that created a mayoral-appointed culturally aware task force on FGM/C, the first of its kind in the country.

Natasha has been a professor and a director of academic programs at multiple colleges and universities, including Metropolitan College, St. Joseph’s College, Adelphi University, and Medgar Evers College. She is skilled at creating arts-based programming that integrates human rights and social justice awareness in elementary through graduate school environments. She has also taught courses in law, ethics, policy, civic engagement, education, nonprofit leadership, business development, and more.

As a nonprofit leader, Natasha has founded and led several organizations and brings expertise in stewarding professional development, strategic planning, community outreach, and programmatic capacity building to facilitate equity. She excels at developing innovative infrastructural blueprints that advance justice through strengths-based ideologies and re-imagined nonprofit structures and management.

On joining Voice of Witness, Natasha said:

Words can’t express how excited I am to join the amazing team at VOW! Our work together to fortify community-based oral history and amplify unheard voices has never been more pertinent to the goal of advancing human rights.

VOW's Executive Director, Natasha Johnson

The VOW board and staff are thrilled to welcome Natasha, and I can’t wait for each of you to meet her. I also want to thank Erin Vong Limoges and Dao X. Tran, who have been serving as our co-interim executive directors for the past six months. Their years of experience at Voice of Witness, their steady approach to leadership, and the trust they have cultivated with our broader community have ensured that VOW is stronger than ever and well-positioned to welcome our new executive director.

Please join me in welcoming Natasha to Voice of Witness, and thank you for being part of this next chapter filled with innovation, community care, and growth.

With appreciation,

Kris Leja
VOW Board Chair

P.S. We’re quickly approaching one of the most important days on our calendar—November 28 is Giving Tuesday! This event will kick off VOW’s annual fundraising campaign, and we hope that we can count on your support to help us reach our $75,000 goal.

Look out for our campaign emails and posts over the next few weeks where we’ll be sharing our recent successes, programs supported by your donations, and storytelling activities you can take home to your loved ones this year.

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