Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest, which serves Portland, SW Washington, and Seattle, has announced that Cyreena Boston Ashby has joined the organization as chief executive officer after serving as interim executive director since the summer of 2020. With 15 years of experience leading high-profile public affairs campaigns, with a focus on youth development and non-profit work, Boston Ashby is a visionary leader with the expertise and vision needed to continue the organization’s purpose-driven mission into the future.
“We’re thrilled to welcome such a strong, smart, and bold Pacific Northwest thought leader to the organization,” Julie Kearney, board chair of Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest said. “As systemic racial injustice, social unrest, and the pandemic upended our world, Cyreena provided critical leadership to enhance our ability to meet the changing needs of Girls Inc. youth.”
In her new role, Boston Ashby will lead the organization’s efforts to advocate and provide support for youth in the PNW who may be dealing with the effects of 2020 for years to come, particularly with learning loss. Shifting to remote learning has been difficult for students, teachers and parents, and support will be needed to get youth back on track with curriculums.
“This is an incredible time for youth in our country and we need their resilience and ideas more than ever,” she said.
“I am thrilled to be part of writing the next chapter of an organization that leads with evidence-based research to empower young women to create the future they want.”
Boston Ashby grew up in Portland, raised in a family-focused on social justice and business leadership. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy, Portland’s single-sex school for young women, and an alumna of Spelman College, a historical Black college for women in Atlanta, Georgia. Her career includes over 15 years in public affairs, including a focus on youth development and non-profit work. Boston Ashby was the first director of the Portland African American Leadership Forum, Imagine Black and led the Oregon Public Health Institute as CEO. Most recently, Boston Ashby has co-directed the Oregon office of D.C.-based Hilltop Public Solutions where she was a partner providing strategic solutions for non-profit and private sector clientele.
After sunsetting the long-standing Power of the Purse event last year, Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest is moving quickly into a new era with the inaugural Strong Smart Bold Brunch on April 23. The virtual fundraising event will be Boston Ashby’s first in her new role and will raise capital for after-school programming and experiences that will benefit youth across the PNW.
“I am proud to be a part of Girls Inc. at such a pivotal time,” Boston Ashby said. “We are here and ready to do the work to raise up all young women in the Pacific Northwest so they can someday lead us.”
Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest was formed to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. Serving youth ages 6-18, their comprehensive approach to whole-girl development equips girls to navigate gender, economic and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated and independent. These positive outcomes are achieved through three core elements: people ‒ trained staff and volunteers who build lasting, mentoring relationships; environment ‒ pro-girl, physically and emotionally safe, where there is a sisterhood of support, high expectations, and mutual respect; and programming ‒ research-based, hands-on and minds-on, age-appropriate, meeting the needs of today’s youth. Informed by youth and their families, they also advocate for legislation and policies to increase opportunities for all girls and address the systemic barriers that impede their success, particularly youth in low-income communities. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, or learn more at girlsincpnw.org.