To get a glimpse inside the tremendous growth of the Circle of Sisterhood over the last ten years, we sat down with its first employee, Annie Labo. She started as a contractor in 2012, became the first part-time employee in 2014, and is now the Administrative Coordinator and Campus Team Lead. With CofS being inspired by the book, Half the Sky (http://circleofsisterhood.org/reflecting-on-10-years-of-giving/), it’s no surprise that Annie was drawn to the organization when her neighbor told her about the book. That neighbor, of course, was CofS founder, Ginny Carroll, who was inspired to take action at a global level in 2010. That action was not only founding CofS, but also finding amazing people, like Annie, to help build on her mission to eliminate barriers to education for girls and women worldwide.
With Annie’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University, she felt an instant connection to the CofS mission, especially having two daughters of her own. Everything about CofS resonated with her.
“I was drawn in by the immeasurable impact that is seen throughout the grant programs,” Annie said. “And I have always looked up to Ginny as a mentor.”
As the first employee, Annie has grown along with CofS, which now has 2 part-time staff members and more than 70 volunteers. She started out being responsible for administrative tasks and maintaining the donor database, and as time went on, began taking on more special projects. She especially enjoys being part of the undergraduate student leadership conferences which provides her with the opportunity to connect one on one with CofS collegiate supporters. As she looks back now, she is proud of the foundational work that has evolved over the last (almost) eight years.
“The experience that I have gained from my work is invaluable and I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been provided with through the organization,” Annie said. “ I am extremely proud to work for an organization that is acting as a real change-maker.”
Annie has been dedicated to the CofS mission since her first day on the job and is always looking for ways to spread that passion with others. She has been inspired this year by the different ways the campus partners have decided to celebrate and engage communities around the 10th Anniversary of CofS. In addition to these ideas, all of these partners will come together for the virtual celebration on September 30, which Annie is looking forward to as we all continue to pivot during these times. Hosting a virtual event is something CofS has never done before, so Annie is excited about this new opportunity to connect and raise money because she is worried that the effects of COVID could keep many girls from ever returning to school.
“Knowing that the last few decades of progress could be completely erased has me greatly concerned,” Annie said. “I plan to take my efforts further by educating my own circle of influence (family, friends, etc.) about the importance of achieving gender justice in our lifetime.”
We hope you will join Annie, Ginny, and all of the CofS supporters as they celebrate the 10th Anniversary virtually with the help of 260+ campus sorority communities in the United States on September 30 at 7 pm ET. The featured guest is Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author, Sheryl WuDunn, who co-authored Half the Sky. To join the circle, please click here to receive the official invite to the Zoom event.
As CofS shares its stories leading up to the Day of Giving on September 30, be sure to also join in the conversation by telling us who the most inspiring women are within your own circle. Tag CofS on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter, as well as use #BeHerHero to come together to make a difference.