Welcoming our new CEO: Elizabeth Clay Roy

I hope this note finds you all safe and healthy in these challenging times for our country. As we close out 2020, I continue to believe that effective civics education is a paramount solution to the many challenges that affect our democracy. I’m grateful that all of you are part of the Generation Citizen community- we need your support more than ever.

A little more than a year ago, we wrote to you to let you know that our founder, Scott Warren, would be stepping down from his role as CEO after almost 11 years of dedicated service in which he led GC into a national organization serving thousands of educators and students. While we could not have predicted the months to come, we are incredibly excited to announce our new CEO: Elizabeth Clay Roy. Elizabeth will start her tenure as CEO in January, 2021.

This process of finding our new CEO was incredibly comprehensive. Working with a Search Committee of Board members and staff alike, we generated a robust pool of nearly 70 applicants diverse along an array of dimensions (including race, gender, leadership, and work experience). 

Although our original plans were to name a new CEO in April, much like the rest of the country we paused the process in March.  Scott offered to continue to stay on while we determined our next steps as the pandemic flipped our entire education sector, and we gratefully accepted.  We re-started the process in July, after we had stabilized the organization from the economic turmoil brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and finalized a new strategic plan, with racial equity at its very foundation. 

After this thorough process, we are incredibly thrilled that Elizabeth accepted our offer to join GC.  She comes to us having previously served as Executive Director of TakeRoot Justice, an organization that provides legal services, participatory research assistance and policy support to community-based partners in the social justice movement in New York. Prior to TakeRoot Justice, Elizabeth was the Chief of Staff at Phipps Neighborhoods and Co-Director of South Bronx Rising Together, an education equity partnership. She was the founding Deputy Director of Opportunity Nation, a national campaign to expand economic mobility. She began her career working in participatory budget planning in India and serving Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick as a Policy Advisor and the Director of Grassroots Governance, and managed a first-in-the-nation state volunteerism initiative. 

Elizabeth’s entire life demonstrates a passion for GC’s mission and the pursuit of a more equitable democracy. Leading Generation Citizen brings Elizabeth full circle to her childhood roots, when she campaigned door to door for candidates in Boston before she was old enough to vote. Elizabeth currently lives with her family in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.

I want to especially thank the co-chairs of the Search Committee, Julie Hudman and Matt Segeneri, who worked tirelessly on this process over the last year. I am excited that Julie will transition from the Search Committee to becoming GC’s new Board Chair, starting in January. We are excited to learn from her extensive public sector experience, and know that Julie and Elizabeth will form an incredible team.

As we welcome Elizabeth, we also want to take a moment to share our thanks and appreciation to Scott Warren, our outgoing CEO and founder, for making Generation Citizen what it is today.  Generation Citizen began in 2009 as a project led by two college students, and has now grown to deliver its comprehensive Action Civics curriculum to more than 90,000 students in over ten states, becoming one of the pre-eminent civics education organizations in the country. Scott has sparked so much impact in a short time. None of this would be possible without Scott’s dedication to young people and advancing the GC’s mission over the past 11 years.

Most importantly, Scott’s leadership style has modeled what GC teaches in the classroom – humility, empathy, courage, and passion. While he will be sorely missed as our leader, we know he will continue to be a leader in educating and supporting young people across the country. 

On behalf of the Board of Directors, we look forward to partnering with Elizabeth in building upon the work and legacy that Scott has led. We, along with our supporters, funders and alumni, will continue to advocate and deliver an Action Civics curriculum that represents our core values of equity, inclusion and diversity to young people across the country.

Our country and our democracy are at a critical inflection point and GC’s work has never been more essential.

Let’s get to work. 

Kunal Modi, Generation Citizen Board Chair