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Tenth Decade Project
Anne Robinson Wadsworth
Girls Education Collaborative
Anne Robinson Wadsworth is the Executive Director of the Girls Education Collaborative. She earned her MPA from Maxwell in 2009 through the Executive MPA program, and also holds a BA in Sociology/Anthropology from Bowdoin College. Originally from Buffalo, Anne is happy to live and work in her hometown. She explains, "I'm really proud to have this NGO based in Buffalo, NY. There is a certain energy and excitement around global engagement that we are tapping into."
Girls Education Collaborative (GEC) works in rural areas in developing countries to support community-driven initiatives where girls education is at the core. The organization is a 'spin off' of a project at the University of Buffalo called The Buffalo Tanzania Education Project. Anne shares, "GEC had an amazing first year - so many people and organizations are eager to help girls in these communities transcend their current circumstances."
In her work as the Executive Director of a start-up NGO, Anne's "typical" day consists of a little bit of everything. As for what she enjoys most about her job, she says, "My favorite thing to do is to talk with potential donors about our work or to connect with another organization that may be able to bring resources or expertise to our project."
Anne reflects that founding an organization and participating in its growth and success has been a challenging but incredibly rewarding professional experience. She has also worked in politics, with another career highlight being when she took over a congressional primary campaign for Alice Kryzan in 2008. She reflects, "The night she won the primary - as the unendorsed candidate - was quite a victory for all."
A single class was pivotal in shaping Anne's Maxwell experience - and her career: "I went to Maxwell 'later in life,' as I was considering a fresh professional direction for once my children were grown and gone. I took Catherine Bertini's course, "Girls Education in Developing Countries," and never turned back. I knew then that this was my career shift - I had for a number of years worked on education domestically, yet I yearned to get back to my earlier days when I was engaged internationally. When I learned about what happens when you educate a girl and the barriers keeping them from participation, I could not turn away. I am so grateful that I am working every day on an issue that I am passionate about, that I get to meet girls who are ready to transform their lives, and that I get to work with so many incredible people and organizations all working towards the same goal of helping to equip girls so they may transcend their circumstances and lead their communities."
Anne notes that having a supportive family can be one of the most critical components of the EMPA program: "Going to Maxwell while living in Buffalo was made possible because of the great support from my husband Bill, the local bank, and my youngest, Jeremy, who didn't get to see much of his mom his junior and senior years of high school!"
Her advice for current students? "Get to know all the wonderful students and professors who surround you. And, Maxwell grads interested in partnering (public health, agriculture, education, leadership...) - call me!"