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"I'm proud to announce that Kimberly Ellis will serve as the next Director of the Department on the Status of Women," said Mayor Breed. "Kimberly is a tireless advocate for those who are too often overlooked in our society, and I know that in this role she will continue that work by improving the lives of women and girls in San Francisco. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting women, exacerbating disparities that already existed beforehand. That's why the work of the Department on the Status of Women remains more important than ever and why I'm proud that Kimberly will be leading it for years to come."
The Department on the Status of Women was established in 1994 when voters approved Proposition E, which created a permanent Department to carry out the mission and polices of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission on the Status of Women was established in 1975 to ensure the equitable treatment and foster the advancement of the women and girls in San Francisco through programs, policies and legislation. In 1998, San Francisco became the first city in the world to adopt a local ordinance reflecting the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), an international bill of rights for women and girls.
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"Equity and its creation of economic independence are the silver bullets for so many troubles facing all those this department intends to serve, and I am equally humbled and determined to make lasting change in the lives of all San Franciscans," said Kimberly Ellis. "We know that when we raise up women, girls, trans, and gender non-conforming people, every aspect of our society improves. I thank Mayor Breed and the Commission for entrusting me to help transform and renew this vital department. A new era has begun in America and it's time we empower all marginalized people in the dismantling of systemic racism and the white male patriarchy that has held too many back for far too long."
After running national operations for Emerge America, Ellis was tapped to lead the flagship affiliate, Emerge California, as its Executive Director. For nearly a decade, Ellis successfully led the California affiliate, growing what had been a regional training program into a statewide electoral force for women candidates and elected officials.
Inspired by her grandmother's lifetime of community service, Ellis launched Unbought - Unbossed (UnB2) in summer 2018. An incubator for the next generation of political disruptors, at its core, UnB2 is about civic education, civic engagement and civic empowerment. Unbought - Unbossed was designed to be a powerful vehicle to drive a collective narrative to elevate and support the voices and work of everyday activists who seek to create progressive change in their communities.
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"Kimberly Ellis is an outstanding choice to lead the Department into its next chapter," said Breanna Zwart, President of the Commission on the Status of Women. "Ms. Ellis will bring a wealth of unique experience as a grassroots activist and leader to the role, including extensive civic engagement across California and serving as the executive director of the nation's largest training program for female candidates for office. I look forward to working with her in ensuring justice and equal opportunity for all women, girls, and gender-nonconforming people across our city and the region."
"Kimberly Ellis is a vibrant leader who possesses the experience and skill to bring together a broad coalition for the common good," said philanthropist Susie Tompkins Buell. "Her appointment to lead the Department on the Status of Women will elevate it to a new level and her leadership will be a boon to other women's groups and to the City and County of San Francisco as a whole."
"Many people are effective leaders, but it's Kimberly's heart and her undeniable record as an ardent flag bearer for women and historically marginalized communities that ensures her tenure will truly be transformative for women, girls, trans people, and our gender non-confirming community here in San Francisco and beyond," said Mia Satya, former Youth Commissioner. "Kimberly will certainly take this critical department to a whole new level at a time when we need her unique skills the most. We could have no greater champion and fearless warrior than her and I can't wait to see what she'll do!"
Ellis holds a law degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Jacksonville University. She lives in the Bay Area and is a proud, single, working mom of two teenagers and their cat, Agave.
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