March 3, 2023
Dear If/When/How Community,
With full hearts, we are writing to share the bittersweet news that Jill E. Adams will be stepping down as If/When/How’s Executive Director at the end of May. Jill has been an instrumental force in the founding and development of multiple organizations and initiatives that comprise If/When/How today, as well as an influential thought leader in the reproductive health, rights, and justice field.
Jill’s 16 years of service as an Executive Director include the If/When/How we know today, and the merged entities it’s evolved from and composed of (Law Students for Choice/Reproductive Justice, Center on Reproductive Rights & Justice at Berkeley Law’s strategic initiatives, and the SIA Legal Team). In each of these roles, she has brought tenacity, intellect, and innovation, consistently conjuring and creating new endeavors—sometimes entire organizations—to meet the needs of clients or constituents. Jill has always dared to see beyond “what is” to “what can be” for our organizations, our movement, our world. She employs a combination of optimism and long-range vision to co-create aspirational aims and forge practical plans to achieve them. She rallies people and resources to get behind ideas based on pressing needs, as defined by those most impacted by reproductive oppression. The RJ Fellowship Program, Repro Legal Helpline, and Repro Legal Defense Fund are just a few examples.
Under Jill’s leadership, If/When/How has evolved into a wholly unique and exceptionally effective organization with:
- A reimagined model of lawyering that centers and serves people affected by reproductive oppression and mobilizes the legal community to leverage their skills and privilege to change systems and shift power.
- A hybrid orientation as a primarily legal organization devoted to advancing reproductive justice.
- A focus on some of the most complex and overlooked issues affecting people living at the intersection of multiple forms of oppression.
- A comprehensive multimodal approach that employs mutually reinforcing strategies (organizing, training, legal services, litigation, policy advocacy, and research) to address core issues.
- A multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-generational workplace where staff, and the work they do, are enhanced by the multiplicity of perspectives guiding it.
- A leaderful culture through which every staff person is granted deference in their respective areas of expertise and encouraged to “hold the whole” of the organization.
- An incredible growth in resources and capacity to do the work sustainably, having increased the staff size from 15 to 40 and the annual revenue from $3 million to $19 million in the last four years.
We are deeply grateful for Jill’s years of visionary leadership and wholeheartedly support her decision to pass the torch. She will be spending the summer with her family and taking some time off before planning what’s next professionally. Thankfully, we know she will forever be a part of If/When/How’s community and the reproductive health, rights, and justice movements.
While it’s difficult to imagine the organization without Jill at the helm, she is leaving it in an unprecedentedly strong and stable position. If/When/How continues to grow, expanding to meet increased needs and evolving to adapt to changing conditions. The organization is well-positioned to undergo a leadership change, thanks to our talented staff team and the solid foundation of resources and capacity developed during Jill’s tenure. The transition also coincides well with our staff-led strategic planning, which kicked off at the start of the year.
Planning for an executive search is underway, led by a joint staff-board Transition Team with the guidance of expert consultants. In the meantime, we are grateful to Mariko Miki, who will serve as Interim Executive Director. Other senior leaders will fill in for Jill in various movement roles and relationships until a permanent Executive Director has assumed the role. Jill will be available to consult with senior staff and new organizational leadership as needed.
We will share more information in the coming months about opportunities to share your reflections and wish Jill farewell, and we will keep you posted as transition plans progress. Thank you for all of your support of If/When/How to date, and for standing by us as we navigate the changing terrain with care and confidence.
Parker Dockray, Jamille Fields Allsbrook, Cecilia Fierro, and Jessica González-Rojas
If/When/How Board of Directors