This post was authored by Tanisha M. Sullivan, Senior Corporate Counsel, Sanofi US, who was recently elected President, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) – Boston Branch. Here, in honor of Black History Month, she shares her story about what led to her election to the association’s oldest chapter, with just under 1,000 members and approximately 100 leader volunteers.
When I reflect on what led to my election as President, NAACP – Boston Branch, three things come to mind: my beliefs about the power of service, my exposure to the NAACP as a child, and the leadership of the women who came before me.
From an early age, I was convinced of the power of service and my responsibility to roll up my sleeves and give back to my community. People often think about giving to non-profits in the financial sense, but for me it’s always been more than that. I believe that through service, we all have the opportunity to do life-affirming work that can better our communities.
As a child, I was first introduced to the NAACP through its youth-focused programming and its advocacy work. The president of my local branch at the time was a woman, and there were several other women in leadership roles. In many ways, the organization affirmed to me, as a young black girl, that I came from a rich legacy of achievement, and I, too, could be a leader in civil rights and social justice.
That early experience left a lasting impression on me. I never set out to be president of an NAACP branch. But when the opportunity presented, I knew I was prepared to take on the challenge because I saw women who looked like me perform well in the role.
For me, this is a great honor and tremendous responsibility because the issues we work on ─ voting rights and eliminating racial health disparities, for example ─ are so important to the communities we serve,” Tanisha noted.