This post is part of a series where we pose questions on issues related to maternal and infant care for vulnerable populations to health professionals, community advocates, mothers, JBLF volunteers and other important voices.
Jennifer Myers served as the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation Executive Director from 2017 to 2020 and now serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors.
1. You were JBLF Executive Director for 3 years, what are you proudest of?
It was really exciting to start expanding JBLF’s work. Our relationship with Virginia Hospital Center to support low-income moms and babies in Arlington has been extremely special and impactful, but so much need still remains in our county and region. I was glad to have the board’s support to explore other ways that JBLF could work in our community to lift up our most vulnerable members. While I was executive director, we launched a Prize for Prenatal Innovation, we held our first thought-leader event at Duke University’s DC offices, and we began making plans for research projects that have the potential to lead to better solutions. It was a groundbreaking time to be at the helm of JBLF and I can’t wait to see where our work goes under our current executive director.
2. What JBLF program has surprised you the most?
Our thought-leader event exploring innovative solutions to solve the maternal mortality crisis blew me away. The panelists spoke before a packed, engaged audience that included participants from the Arlington County board, DC government, nonprofits, foundations, businesses and more. When you launch a new program, in some ways it’s always a leap of faith. Seeing the interest by so many in such varied fields, all wanting to help moms in need, made it clear that JBLF was on the right path.
3. What are you most excited about for 2021?
I can’t wait to have a normal 5K again in November! It’s hard to match the community love that I sense each and every year at that event. It’s wonderful to see so many faces coming back, and I’m always excited about the new people who join us after hearing about our mission.
4. What are people surprised to find out about you?
I’m not a runner! The annual 5K is one of JBLF’s largest fundraisers and it’s an event I love, so I think most people assumed when I was the executive director that I was an avid runner. Thanks to two back surgeries, running is not in the mix for me (you can catch me at the pool swimming laps, though!). But JBLF’s mission and the community spirit at the 5K pulled me in.