Abortion Care Network is delighted to announce a new co-leadership model with Erin Grant, (they/them) and Nikki Madsen, (she/her) as Co-Executive Directors. Erin and Nikki have stepped into their new roles and will co-lead Abortion Care Network as our entire network navigates a radically changed abortion access landscape.
The fall of Roe has had devastating impacts on access to abortion care across the country. For the first time since ACN started tracking clinics in our Communities Need Clinics report, 14 states are without a single abortion-providing clinic. Independent abortion clinics remain on the front lines in the most hostile states and regions, serving patients across the country. The innovation, resilience, and determination of independent providers to serve their communities and restore or expand abortion access in the U.S. calls for a re-commitment to a thoughtful path forward for ACN.
ACN’s Board of Directors has operated under co-leadership model since 2017 and is currently co-chaired by Andrea Ferrigno and Ravina Daphtary. “Co-leadership must be grounded in trust, and as co-leaders ourselves, we believe the organization has already benefited from the diversity and experience we and past co-chairs have brought. After seven years of working together on behalf of ACN, Nikki and Erin have deep trust and respect for one another. Together, they have a shared vision for ACN and its membership and their long-standing relationship will lead the way forward as they take on new roles,” said Ferrigno and Daphtary.
The ACN Board of Directors has been strategically moving ACN toward a co-Executive Director model since 2020 to expand the capacity to grow staff, generate resources, support internal sustainability, and recognize the expansive skill set required to lead a multi-racial, multi-generational, national network.
In addition to allowing Erin and Nikki to share executive leadership responsibilities, a co-leadership model encourages each to bring different experiences, skills, and enthusiasm to the table. Our move to co-leadership will allow for greater shared visioning and collaboration at ACN, and will help ensure ACN’s sustainability as an organization and a network in a time of significant upheaval for abortion access.
As a board and staff, we take the sustainability of our member clinics seriously; we must take our sustainability (as a staff, as an organization, and as individuals) seriously, as well. Co-leadership is putting our values into praxis: we commit to develop, uplift, and trust our emerging and existing leaders and to thrive in inter-connectedness, which dismantles the power of individuality and creates room for new leadership, styles, and collaboration.
Co-leadership is a way of holding ACN accountable to our values, ensuring our own sustainability, and serving our membership — now and in the future. Executive Directors are often expected to be experts in many areas and are held to standards that can feel impossible. Even with all of the grace and support in the world, leading a national membership organization is a huge undertaking.
Abortion Care Network is committed to co-leadership as a way of working grounded in continual learning, thoughtful decision-making, collaboration, and growth for the entire organization, not just at the leadership level.
ACN is excited to make this organizational move to co-leadership. Our board and staff are united in celebrating the leadership of Erin and Nikki and look forward to the next steps in our collective future as an organization and in service of independent clinics, their allies, and the people who rely on them for care.