It Takes a Pioneer

By Ken Patterson, Co-Chair of the Together Women Rise Advocacy Group with RESULTS and Director, Grassroots Impact with RESULTS

Five years ago, Together Women Rise started exploring a partnership with RESULTS, a constituent advocacy organization working on US federal policy affecting women and girls around the world. The idea was to complement the great work Together Women Rise is doing supporting women’s organizations on the ground with systemic policy change that would create change at scale.  

Dr. Leslye Heilig (MA, Great Barrington-3 chapter) took part in the original exploration of the Together Women Rise and RESULTS partnership and has been leading the Together Women Rise Advocacy Group since the two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding four years ago. Leslye was somewhat new to advocacy as the partnership was getting started, but she saw the potential. She decided to be a role model of the power of change through advocacy and learned how to build a relationship with her members of Congress, use her voice in the media, and inspire skeptics who may have lost faith in our government.  

According to Rise CEO Beverley Francis-Gibson, “Leslye has been a committed volunteer leader and ambassador for the impact that advocacy can have when members are given the tools. We are so grateful for her many years of dedicated service to ensuring that Together Women Rise and RESULTS work together to champion many causes.”

During the past four years, Leslye has helped over 200 Rise members develop their advocacy skills, resulting in many Rise advocates building relationships with their members of Congress and staff, getting published in the media, and becoming more knowledgeable about health, nutrition, and education policies affecting women and girls globally. Most importantly, with Leslye’s help, many Rise advocates have learned that their voice really matters with our elected officials and that the change we want to see in the world won’t happen without it! 

The work of the Together Women Rise Advocacy Group has made a difference. Over the past four years, Leslye’s leadership, 50+ partnership webinars, and individualized coaching have helped increase funding and improve policy for girls’ education; maternal and child health and nutrition – including the passage of the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act in 2022; and combating diseases like COVID-19, AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. All of the advocacy issues that the Together Women Rise Advocacy Group works on create the international policy change needed so that Rise grantees like Tomorrow’s Women, Girl Rising, Educate2Envision International and  others can grow their impact.  

Leslye has been, and continues to be, a hardworking, passionate pioneer, giving Together Women Rise members another powerful way to make a difference in the lives of women and girls in the world. Congratulations Leslye! 

Looking ahead, Leslye will be stepping down as the Co-Chair for the Rise Advocacy Group, although she will continue to be involved in the Group’s advocacy efforts. If you’d like to learn more about how you can be part of this movement for positive change through advocacy, check out the Rise Partnership with RESULTS web page and join the Advocacy Group for one of the monthly webinars. 

The next Advocacy webinar will be on Tuesday, December 12th at 8:30 pm ET / 5:30 pm PT. We will have a special guest speaker: Colin Puzo Smith, Director of Global Policy with RESULTS. We will also be holding our annual orientation for prospective new advocates. If you would like to learn more, please join us on Wednesday, January 17 at 8:30 pm ET / 5:30 pm PT.  

Sign up HERE and we will send you the links to join our monthly webinars and our special Orientation in January.