Jenna Kirkpatrick Howard, AAUW Member

Personal Statement

My passion for the advancement of women and girls is evident in every aspect of my life – work, family, advocacy, philanthropy, and community.  I bring to AAUW’s Board the perspective of a mid-career female working in professional services that has developed corporate partnerships over two decades, along with non-profit board experience in governance and finance.  AAUW’s long history and influence on a range of issues that advance equity for women and girls is important.  Ensuring that the organization remains sustainable and mission-driven must be the central focus of the AAUW Board, staff, and its members.  As a AAUW national and branch member, my time on the Board is spent concentrating on the future of this amazing organization.

Exploratory Information

What is your vision for AAUW in the next 5 to 10 years?

My personal vision for AAUW is to be the megaphone of women’s voice in America through the work in advocacy, research, training, scholarships, and engagement. This can be accomplished if AAUW focuses its efforts on the programming that is funded and most impactful.

As a board member, how would you contribute to achieving AAUW’s mission and strategic plan?

AAUW Board Members must engage in challenging conversations on what programs are most critical to the mission and ponder the path towards a sustainable future.  We must be mindful that operational efficiencies and strong governance within the AAUW walls is vital to the organization. The role of the Board is to ensure the longevity. Every decision should be made with the lens of the mission – “will this decision advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education and advocacy?” If it does not, we must say “no” and move onto matters that future the vision of “equity for all.”

My contribution as a Board Member include experience with other organizations at an inflection point, having intellectual curiosity to explore new ideas, and advancing the mission through corporate connections and funding.

Please describe your board and leadership experience.

Board experience:

  • Treasurer, 826DC Board, 6 yrs.;
  • Board President 2020, Commercial Real Estate Women DC (CREW DC);
  • Board Director, CREW DC, 2 yrs.

Leadership Experience:

  • Vice President, Lockton Companies. Serves on the Inclusion Committee at Lockton. Executive Committee member for Lockton Northeast’s Women in Leadership Initiative.
  • Participated as Chair and/or Host Commission of the Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas annual fundraiser for four years
  • Host committee for 2020 Women on Boards
  • Graduate of the KPMG Executive Leadership Institute for Women (ELIW)

Please describe your strategic planning and finance/budget experience.

Strategic planning:

  • Participated in the creation and execution of 2 strategic plans with 826DC
  • Involved in the creation of the current 3-year strategic plan for CREW DC and implementation is underway during my time as Board President

Finance & Budget:

  • While acting as 826DC Board Treasurer, Jenna was responsible for leading the Finance and Audit Committee, development of risk management objectives, creation of financial policies, and working with Executive Director to track annual financial results. Income grew over 200% during six-year tenure
  • Currently serving on Community of Hope’s Finance Committee
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  1. Avatar Caroline Pickens says:

    Hello, Jenna. You mention you are a branch member. Could you tell us more about your experience in the branch and what you see as both the challenges and strengths in branches? How can AAUW national help with the challenges and support the strengths?

    • Avatar Jenna Howard says:

      I am a member of the Washington DC branch.
      Branches have the ability to reach the local community through its programming and advocacy. Leading Work Smart Training Programs at local colleges and universities is a great example of this work. Meeting with state legislators to discuss laws and policies that promote the equity of women and girls is another example of important work performed by branches.
      A challenge faced by many branches is membership recruitment and retention. One way that AAUW National has and can help with these challenges and strengths is through the Five-Star Recognition Program. The program provides a road map for states and branches to increase their exposure in the community and gain national recognition for their efforts.

  2. Avatar Helga Hans says:

    would you be for woman that do not have a 4 year degree being able to joint AAUW?

    • Avatar Jenna Howard says:

      I welcome anyone, with or without a 4-year degree, to stand with AAUW in our mission “to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy.” Supporting AAUW comes in many forms including donating to this important work, taking part in the Equity Network (that does not require membership), and partnering with us. The value of membership is joining a community who share in this vision, provide programming in your city or state, and advocating for laws and policies within your state legislators. Personally, I believe these opportunities should be available to all individuals, regardless of their level of formal education.

  3. Avatar Deborah Simontacchi says:

    Would you advocate for men who identify as women, transgender women, to be allowed to participate In women’s competitive sports where their physiological advantages would give them an unfair advantage over biological females?

    • Avatar Shannon Wolfe says:

      AAUW Statement: AAUW opposes all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on gender identity. Consistent with AAUW’s member-approved Public Policy Priorities (, AAUW strongly supports the Equality Act to ensure federal protections for all LGBTQ individuals. Our full letters supporting the Equality Act, as well as the statement we signed on to with several women’s organizations supporting full and equal access to participation in athletics for transgender people can be found here AAUW remains proud of our ongoing commitment to battle discrimination against all women and girls.

    • Avatar Jenna Howard says:

      One of the reasons I am a supporter for AAUW’s work is the commitment to remove all barriers that stand in the way of gender equity. That includes the advocacy for laws that end all forms of discrimination, including gender identity.

      • Avatar Deborah Simontacchi says:

        Allowing transgender women to participate in women’s sports is the very definition of building unfair gender barriers against girls and women. Men are indisputably different physiologically than women, and many of those differences result in giving them an unfair advantage in sport competitions…more upper and lower body strength, larger lung/aerobic capacity, broader shoulders, heavier, taller, etc. That’s why there are separate competitions for men and women. Allowing men to participate in women’s sports is simply unfair. It deprives young girls athletes of wins, championships, scholarships, careers…it destroys their dreams.
        AAUW should be on the front line ensuring equality for girls and women in sports. That is our mission.

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