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PowerPlayer: The YWCA’s Meghan Grady

Monday, October 31, 2011


This week's PowerPlayer is former Rhode Island Young Democrats President Meghan Grady. Ms. Grady recently became the Chief Operating Officer at the YWCA of Northern Rhode Island. She was kind enough to chat with GoLocalProv about the work she is doing now and the importance of getting women more involved in politics.

1) Tell us about your new job at YWCA Northern Rhode Island. What made you decide to leave City Hall?

After being a long time supporter of the organization, I joined YWCA Northern Rhode Island as Chief Operating Officer in September. I enjoyed working at the municipal level of government but had always been drawn to the mission of YWCA - empowering women and eliminating racism. When the position became available, I decided it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss out on. I’m managing the day-to-day internal operations of the organization and focusing on implementing local strategies to empower women, eliminate racism, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

2) Speaking of City Hall, you're pretty involved in politics (former President of the Young Democrats and a major player on Mayor Taveras' campaign). When can we expect to see you running for office?

I’m not going to say I will never run for office but right now I’m focusing on being successful in my new position. I think its important that young people, especially young women run for public office. In my role at YWCA, I’m able to make a positive impact on our state through the work we do to empower women and eliminate racism.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

Every morning I scan the news using twitter (follow me @MegGrady) and then I stop by Starbucks in Wayland Square to pick up a cup of coffee. I either have meetings or travel up to the YWCA in Woonsocket. When I get into the office, I enjoy taking a walk around the building to visit the students that come to our child care program. At the end of the work day, I head back to Providence most nights going directly to the United Way of Rhode Island. I sit on the the Board of Directors and serve as the Vice-Chair of the Young Leaders Circle - this commitment keeps me busy! Typically, I end day by working out at the gym, having dinner with my boyfriend, or catching up with my sisters and my parents. If possible I try and sneak in an episode of Mad Men or Amazing Race before I call it a day.

4) Rhode Island still doesn't have enough women holding office or in leadership position. Talk to us about the importance of having powerful women in the state.

It is essential for the future of our state that half of our population have equal representation. We need to elect more women to public office which means we need more women to run for office at all levels. Typically, women are seen as more compassionate, creative, and outgoing leaders. Women get higher marks than men when it comes to standing up for one’s principles in the face of political pressure, being able to work out compromises, keeping government honest, and representing the interests of the community. These are just a few reasons why we need more women holding office and in leadership positions in Rhode Island!

Every year YWCA organizes a Women Holding Office event to celebrate and honor female elected officials. Last year, one of the women we honored was Lila Sapinsley, hearing her experience made me realize how much progress we’ve made in Rhode Island when it comes to electing women to public office.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about you.

At Merrimack College, I played on the Field Hockey team. I loved the experience of being a student-athlete. Playing on sports team in the NCAA helped me develop disciple, strength, and confidence - qualities that I have since integrated into my professional life. Some of my best friends today were my teammates back in college and we still talk regularly.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: Secretary of State Hilliary Clinton

Favorite Restaurant: The Lobster Pot in Bristol

Best Beach: East Matunuck

Best Book You've Read in the Last Year: The Tipping Point

Advice for the Next Meghan Grady: Work hard and don’t be afraid to take a risk.

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