SiX is Transitioning Leadership

June 24, 2024

SiX is Transitioning Leadership

A Message from SiX and SiX Action's Board Chairs, Cathy Duvall and Tamieka Atkins

As the board chairs of SiX and SiX Action, it’s with deep gratitude that we share Neha Patel and Jessie Ulibarri are transitioning from their roles as co-executive directors of SiX and SiX Action with thoughtful intention. Their last day with SiX will be March 31, 2025.

On behalf of the SiX and SiX Action boards, we are grateful to Neha and Jessie for co-creating a vibrant and resilient organization that will last well beyond their leadership. Their vision and planning has prepared SiX to continue building power with state legislators and partners for the long-term.

Over the past seven years Neha and Jessie have more than tripled the size of the organization’s operating budget, doubled the size of staff, built a strong financial reserve and multi-year funding pipeline, and have helped SiX’s programs to grow in their impact

SiX has never been stronger. 

Our state legislator and partner network is over 12,000 members strong - across all 50 states - and growing. Our legislator cohorts continue to innovate with programming like partnering with FTC Chair Lina Khan to hear anti-monopoly concerns from midwestern farmers and legislators; amplifying the voices of state legislators time and again who push back against attempts to limit abortion access at the U.S. Supreme Court; training over 1,000 state legislators through the Progressive Governance Academy, a joint partnership with Local Progress and re:power; producing research reports on child labor and taxing investment gains; and launching two new legislator cohorts – Economic Power Project and State Gender Policy Collective – within the past year. 

To our partners, our funders, our legislative network - we’re just getting started. Thank you for entrusting your time, talents, and trust with SiX. We are confident in SiX’s ability to thrive for its next chapter. To this end, we will be launching a formal search for executive leadership in early fall. 

Jessie and Neha will see us through organizational milestones and external dynamics, including the 2024 election, our 10 year organizational anniversary, and SiX’s high-profile 2024 National Conference. SiX will continue to be with you in this work for the long-haul.

Should you have any questions or want to reach out to us, the board chairs, please contact us at boardchairs@stateinnovation.org.


In shared power,

Cathy Duvall and Tamieka Atkins
SiX and SiX Action Board Chairs

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A Message from SiX Co-Executive Directors Neha Patel and Jessie Ulibarri

We’re writing with joyful and bittersweet news. We will be transitioning out of our roles as co-executive directors in 2025. We are so proud of the organization we’ve helped to build and we also know it’s time for a new chapter. We are leaving the organization from a position of strength and joy -- both for ourselves and for the colleagues who will remain at SiX. After over 7 years of co-leadership at SiX, we have envisioned a different future for ourselves and for SiX. 

We arrived into our partnership with intention, care and love and we want to transition out of SIX in the same way.

Most people don’t know this - we didn’t know each other before we entered into these roles together. But it was clear from the first day that we would need each other - our experiences, our talents, and our support - to build an institution that could transform American governance from the states outward. We didn’t realize how radical it was at the time, but we trusted that if we started in relationship, with respect and love for each other as people, we could build an intentional and enduring partnership. We know that the way you build power is by sharing power -- and that is as true in organizational leadership as it is in elected office. It should be no surprise then that we are ready to pass the baton of leadership to others who will grow power by/with/for our communities. We build a bigger “we” by ensuring there is more space for folks to lead across our movements.

When we came to these roles, we experienced pretty traditional views of how leadership looked, where a single leader was responsible for every major decision. But our lived experiences told us that we could build a very different approach to leadership. In our families, in our communities, and in our relationships with our movement peers, we see that collaborative governance is the way we build durable outcomes that can last beyond any one single leader.

We set out to challenge the status quo of what leadership could look like so folks of color could thrive in leadership. There were central questions of our leadership journey that have been foundational to us since day one. Could leadership be for people like us in a way that wasn’t extractive, but generative and joyful? This has influenced every aspect of our work at SiX. 

How we govern.

How we build a culture of care as managers.

How we incorporate other worldviews into our own.

How we manage conflict and disagreements. 

How we movement stitch.

How we center each other’s humanity.

How we love.

We knew what we needed for us and our people. That is why we fight for collaborative governance as a way to be. More people need to be involved for the outcomes we fight for to be real for everyone. So we structured leadership in a way that isn’t focused on just the two of us. We know in our bones that individuals aren’t the answer -- it is community that saves us. When we treat people as people first, and do the work together, we can overcome every obstacle and that is true of our institutions. We are so proud that this is true for SiX. Which is why we think this is exactly the right time to plan a transition.  

It is a responsibility to set the conditions for who comes after us – so they can lead with abundance - and this is our way of meeting that responsibility with love and care. We have shared power at SiX and this is a moment for us to share it again. This is our way of doing that. Our identities and lived experiences as people of color are so central to how we have led, that it’s hard to separate this aspect from our leadership to how we transition. This is the best time for others to lead this organization, and we feel called to other forms of movement leadership and presence in our own lives. 

The SIX of today is not Jessie and Neha's SiX. It is the SiX of everyone who has helped to build this place over the past decade and everyone who is still here, building for the future. We couldn’t be more proud of the journey we have been on with SiX and its incredible board, staff, partners and funders. We have collectively built an enduring institution that is centered on the values we hold dear to us, building a future we haven't seen yet. 

It has been an honor to meet so many of you who are doing so many great things. As we say, movement work is like a choir - the singing continues with joy - even when some take a breath. We aren’t done world-building with you or with each other. You’ll hear our voices again in a different part of the choir. 

In Solidarity,

Neha + Jessie

P.S. We invite you all to continue building our future with joy and to join us December 11-13 in Atlanta, Georgia as we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of SiX at our national conference

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