Asha Mehta Joins Liz Derias and Shannon Ellis as CompassPoint’s Third Co-Executive Director

August 28, 2023

[Image description: A photo collage featuring CompassPoint's three Co-Executive Directors, set against a blue, green, and yellow abstract backdrop with CompassPoint's logo featured as the heading in white text.]

Dear CompassPoint community,

We’re thrilled to announce that Asha Mehta has joined Liz Derias and Shannon Ellis as CompassPoint’s newest Co-Executive Director.

It’s been two years since we first shared our intention to move into a three-person executive model, and after a lot of thoughtful exploration and consideration across our organization, we’re so excited that Asha has agreed to join this team.

Asha is an experienced leader dedicated to transformative leadership in service of liberation. She is a facilitator, feminist, writer, activist, and aspiring Ayurvedic practitioner. She is one of the foremost leadership developers in the country with three long strands of work stretching through her career: BIPOC feminist leadership, youth and community power-building, and radical vision and strategy. As a Project Director with CompassPoint for several years, Asha played key roles in the development of programs like the HIVE (Healing, Inspiration, Voice, and Equity) Leadership Development and Network Building Program (for reproductive health, rights, and justice leaders in Louisiana) and Next Generation Leaders of Color Program. [Learn more about Asha here.]

Ada Palotai, CompassPoint Board Co-Chair, adds, “We are so excited about Asha stepping into this role – beautifully rounding out our new three-person Co-ED team and model alongside Liz and Shannon. Asha brings her own unique strengths and perspectives to this team, helping to manifest both synergy and dissonance – necessary elements of the type of generative and liberatory leadership we are hoping to embody, and elements that will move CompassPoint even more purposefully in the direction of its bold vision.

We’ve been building our shared executive leadership model since 2018 when we first made the commitment to Co-Executive Directorship. By 2020, it was clear that a three-person executive leadership model would better meet our needs, allowing us to distribute work in alignment with the specific skills, experiences, and backgrounds needed for executive leadership at CompassPoint.

For a long time, it's been clear that the notion of a single "heroic" leader (not just at the executive level) is often a setup for failure, and that we can achieve more powerful outcomes when we work with distributed leadership models that amplify everyone's strengths while building collective power. Unsurprisingly, we’re just one of many social justice and nonprofit organizations trying on shared executive leadership models that are collaborative and team-based.

CompassPoint Board Member Anbar Mahar adds, "Having a shared leadership model is an important part of our commitment to center liberation in our work. Moving towards a shared leadership model allows for labor to be more distributed and collaborative, instead of being held by one person who often ends up feeling isolated. And, we have the added benefit of having three great leaders who have been part of the CompassPoint team."

We’re excited to share more about our model, how we got here, and what we’re learning along the way. Ultimately, we hope we can model shared power across a multiracial team, deepen our commitment to Pro-Blackness, and support a new phase of programming that builds power among social justice leaders and organizations at a crucial time for movement-building efforts. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating Asha’s move into this role, and share our enthusiasm and support for Asha, Liz, and Shannon kicking off this new chapter of executive leadership as a team!

In solidarity and partnership,
The CompassPoint Team



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