The Board of Directors of the Women’s Centre of Calgary is pleased to announce the appointment of the Centre’s new Executive Director, Bodil (Bo) Masterson, who will formally take over the reins from founder ED Susan Gillies in June 2021.

Bo Masterson is a dynamic leader whose passion for social change has seen her shaping the work of non-profits internationally and in Calgary. Over the course of the past 15 years of her career, she has developed a relentless belief in the power of bringing people together and leveraging communities to create positive lasting change in society. With a B.A. in International Law and Psychology, an M.Sc. in International Development Studies, Bo holds a deeply-rooted philosophy that everyone has something to bring to the table, and that relationships are key to achieving the greatest impact. She views the widespread adoption of this community development approach as critical to the success of non-profit organizations in Calgary, and is a passionate advocate for its implementation across the sector.

Originally from the Netherlands, Bo has worked across the globe to design and lead community-based programs, grassroots projects, and complex strategic initiatives. Internationally, Bo designed and built child protection programs for communities for Burmese refugees in Thailand, spearheaded the provincial expansion of capacity building initiatives for educators in Southern Thailand and South Sudan, and implemented participatory approaches in diverse other projects. In Calgary, Bo brought her strategic vision to life in the Community Hubs Initiative – a multi-stakeholder effort which will be familiar to many in the Women’s Centre and non-profit communities. In her most recent role at Carya, she brought a renewed energy to the organization’s community development efforts by focusing the portfolio to enhance strategic impact, while also leading Carya’s gender equity strategy.

Bo’s view of women and women’s issues is shaped and layered by her diverse experiences around the world, recognizing the wide array of realities and intersections that shape women’s lives. As a woman, she has seen the power of what is possible when women come together in even the most deeply complex environments. A mother of a son and twin girls, she is committed to raising them all to understand and contribute to a norm where women are equal contributors and decision makers in society. To make this a reality, she works hard to be a role model and a change-maker through her career choices – advocating for change in policies that meaningfully and systemically reduce gender inequity.

The Board welcomes Bo to the amazing team of women who work hard to make real the Women’s Centre’s values and vision for a just and gender equal society. We knew Bo was truly passionate about her new role when she willingly offered to cut short her maternity leave so she could start work as soon as she and her partner could organize childcare arrangements for their young children. As the Board of the Women’s Centre, we deeply understand – and willingly accommodate – such systematic challenges in women’s lives! We also sincerely appreciate Susan Gillies’ offer to continue her leadership on an as-needed basis at the Women’s Centre beyond her desired retirement date of end of April to accommodate a smooth transition.

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