We recently sat down with our new Board Chair, Lisa Washington.   Lisa is only the second female chair and first woman of color to hold this position in JEVS’ history. We discuss her excitement and preparation, especially under the current unusual circumstances.

Q: How did you get connected to JEVS Human Services? Was there something specific that attracted you to JEVS?

A: Through the years, I had heard great things about JEVS from friends and colleagues, all of whom recommended that I get involved.  What attracted me to JEVS is the mission, the people, and the programs. I admire how JEVS keeps its mission and its heart at the center of all it does while maintaining a business focus.  JEVS Human Services helps create the opportunities that individuals need to become independent and succeed. Services meet clients where they are, focusing on individual needs, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Q: What makes JEVS mission powerful to you?

A: Giving people the opportunity to cultivate independence is very powerful to me.  Not only do our programs teach people skills required for success on the job, but also the skills need to create a better future for themselves and their families.

Q: What are the opportunities and challenges you are anticipating as Chair? 

A: The COVID pandemic has underscored just how fragile employment is for so many in our community.  The call for racial equity magnified this challenge.  The question for all us – and for JEVS—is how do we better support people to find and keep good jobs that move them up and out of poverty for good?

Some of us have been fortunate to have jobs that haven’t been impacted by stay-at-home orders because we can do our work from our homes.  This isn’t true for a lot of the people we serve at JEVS.  We have an opportunity to think differently about access to learning, skills and work. How we can provide services in different ways or add new supports?

The challenge is funding these solutions.  Private, state and federal resources need to be leveraged to create the change our clients and community need.  We need to get our message out and promote our mission.  JEVS has important ideas and actions to contribute to the change we need now.

Q: How have you been keeping busy during the COVID stay at home?

A: Aside from preparing for my new role at JEVS, I’ve been busy with work and other volunteer commitments.  I am also on the board at the Rosenbach Museum Library. In my downtime, I’ve been staying close to home and spending social distancing time with my mom and neighbors.


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