Undeniable and Unmatched: The Power of Women’s Leadership
In our third episode of #AscendTogether, Anne Mosle was be joined by Gayle Goldin from the Rhode Island State Senate, Nikki Pitre from the Center for Native American Youth, and Lola Adedokun from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In recognition of the anniversary of women’s suffrage and equality day, our special guests Gayle Goldin, Nikki Pitre, and Lola Adedokun discussed the undeniable power of women’s leadership and opportunities ahead to center gender and racial equity to transform communities and systems that create inclusive pathways for generations to come to reach their full potential.
Host: Ascend at the Aspen Institute
Lola Adedokun is program director for child well-being and director of the African Health Initiative at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In these respective roles, she promotes children’s healthy development and protection from abuse and neglect in the United States and works to link implementation research and workforce training to deliver primary health care in sub-Saharan Africa. Previously, Adedokun was an analyst at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, responsible for management and analysis of HIV/AIDS surveillance data, and an analyst at Abt Associates Inc. She was a co-founder and advisor for Boys Speak Out and an advisor for the Adaptive Education Languages Institute.
Gayle Goldin serves as a senior advisor for the Women’s Bureau. Gayle is a policy analyst, strategist and former state senator. Most recently, Gayle served as campaign advisor to Family Values @ Work, where she helped coalitions around the country pass paid leave legislation while also advocating for a national paid family and medical leave program. Gayle has also served as the strategic initiatives officer at Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, where she developed a gender equity policy platform, ran the Women’s Policy Institute and oversaw the grant making process.
In 2001, two things changed Gayle’s life: she broke her back and became a mom. Questioning caregiving policies in the U.S., Gayle started organizing and then ran for office. In her first year as a state senator, Gayle successfully championed the passage of Temporary Caregiver Insurance, making Rhode Island the third state with paid leave and the first state to ensure everyone who used it has a right to return to work afterwards. During her legislative career, she also led efforts to increase access to affordable child care, improve health care, raise the tipped minimum wage and address the gender and racial wage gap.
Gayle holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and earned her master’s degree from Tufts University.
Vice President & Executive Director
The Aspen Institute’s Forum on Women and Girls and the Ascend program
Nikki’s Indian name is khwhele’ which means Meadow Lark. She is a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and is of the Red Bird Clan. She is also Kalispel, Yakama, Nisqually, Cowlitz, and Squaxin Island. She is a direct descendant of Chief Spokane, Chief Ignace, Chief Kamayakin and Chief Leschi. Nikki takes pride standing on the shoulders of her ancestors, honoring the foundation they have laid and being as a vessel for her grandmothers to uplift the next generation. With a true passion to support Native youth and youth-led programming, Nikki serves as the Executive Director at the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute.
As Executive Director, Nikki works closely with the Board of Advisors and Youth Advisory Board, manages staff and sets the vision, strategy and priorities for the Center. Nikki oversees finances, manages development of communications, advocacy, programs and is the lead in resource development, partnership development and collaborative strategies.
Before her appointment as Executive Director, Nikki was Acting Director, Associate Director and Program Manager at CNAY. Prior to CNAY, Nikki served in several capacities at the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, including Student Success Program Director, Federal/ Tribal & Special Initiatives Associate, Advocacy Associate and Student Outreach Coordinator.
Nikki sits on the Partnership With Native Americans Board of Directors and serves on the Miss Indian World Committee for the Gathering of Nations Pow-wow. Nikki has worked on behalf of her people her whole life. Her biggest inspiration comes from her daughter, Aplnmarimn’tsu’tn (Carries the Medicine). Nikki maintains her culture through language, ceremony, powwows and honoring her teachings passed on to her. Nikki enjoys sewing regalia for her daughter, listening to podcasts, spending time in the outdoors, running, doing yoga and baking.