Speakers

Elisha Rhodes, Interim CEO and COO

Elisha Rhodes

Elisha Rhodes is a leader, movement builder, and change maker. Within her new role as YWCA USA’s Interim Chief Executive Officer and during this transition period, Elisha looks forward to leading this incredible storied movement in its work to realize YWCA’s audacious and necessary mission. For the past fifteen years, Elisha has guided the organization’s strategic and operational growth, to ensure that YWCA’s mandate to eliminate racism and empower women, never falters. As YWCA USA’s Chief Operating Officer, Elisha effectively stewards critical resources to support a federated network serving over 2.4 million women and girls each year. She serves as the operations, finance, strategic and people leader of YWCA USA and provides leadership to ensure key initiatives, culture transformation, program regulations, performance outcomes, and operations are managed appropriately. Elisha plays an instrumental role in streamlining operations, while playing a leadership role in strategic enterprise wide initiatives, such as the Strong Foundation Fearless Future Initiative, the Strategic Business Plan, and successful oversight of YWCA USA’s operating budget. She regularly plans regional, national and international events for the network and strategic partners.

Elisha is often called upon to share her subject matter expertise in gender and racial justice, young women’s leadership, operations, people management, and federated networks, within national and international forums, and was recently invited joined the Forbes Nonprofit Council. Her leadership continues to garner recognition from national and international institutions: YWCA South Africa honored Elisha for her leadership during the 29th World Council in Johannesburg, South Africa, and Procter & Gamble invited Elisha to take part in The Georgetown University New Strategies Symposium. Elisha also serves as a Chief Diversity Leader for Leadership 18’s Executive Committee.

An active community member, dedicated to centering the needs of women and girls in underserved and unprotected communities, Elisha continues to lead critical efforts to amplify YWCA USA’s mission within the network and beyond. She played a leadership role in the development of YWCA USA’s inaugural Indigenous and Women of Color Cohort, and guided strategic and operational oversight of the organization’s first North American and Caribbean Young Women’s Conference, hosted in her country of birth, Barbados. Committed to building the infrastructure and foundation necessary to guide YWCA USA’s deepened racial justice work, she co-leads the YWCA USA’s work to develop and implement an internal racial equity framework. Devoted to supporting the advocacy and leadership of young women, Elisha serves as board treasurer for the Black Swan Academy, a non-profit organization in the District of Columbia that concentrates its efforts on empowering Black youth through Civic Leadership and Engagement.

Dr. Leana Wen

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Dr. Leana Wen is an emergency physician, visiting professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. She is also a contributing columnist for The Washington Post, a CNN medical analyst, and author of the critically-acclaimed book on patient advocacy, When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests (St. Martin’s Press, 2013) and a new memoir, Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health (Metropolitan, 2021).

Previously, she served as Baltimore's Health Commissioner, where she led the nation’s oldest continuously operating health department in the U.S. to fight the opioid epidemic, treat violence and racism as public health issues, and improve maternal and child health.

Dr. Wen obtained her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine and studied health policy at the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She completed her residency training at Brigham & Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School. 

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Wen has received recognition as one of Governing's Public Officials of the Year, Modern Healthcare's Top 50 Physician-Executives, World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders, and TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People. 

Dr. Wen lives with her husband and their two young children in Baltimore.