Fatima Goss Graves ’01 to Lead National Women’s Law Center


WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 23, 2017)— The Board of Directors of the National Women’s Law Center, a preeminent advocate for advancing equality and opportunity for women and girls, said today that it has named Fatima Goss Graves, NWLC Senior Vice President for Program, as the organization’s next CEO and President. She will succeed NWLC’s founders and Co-Presidents Marcia D. Greenberger and Nancy Duff Campbell, who will step down on July 1, 2017.

“Under Marcia and Duffy’s leadership, the Center has made groundbreaking contributions to nearly every major advancement for women and girls since the organization’s inception in 1972,” said Board Chair Jane Sherburne. “Looking to the future, the Center is committed to building on their legacy, eliminating barriers and expanding possibilities for women and girls in a dynamic and changing world. Fatima has the skills and experience to do just that, pairing her law and policy expertise with the savvy to engage the organization’s nearly one million supporters and expand its connections with a newly energized public.” 

“The Center has played a pivotal role in the women’s movement and I am honored to be its next leader, following in the footsteps of Duffy and Marcia, who have been extraordinary trail blazers and mentors to so many in the movement,” said Goss Graves. “We are living in a transformational moment, with potentially lasting consequences in the fight for equality, fairness and democratic principles. Women and girls are facing unprecedented assaults on their rights and economic security. To meet these challenges, our work must be inclusive, with a particular focus on the experiences and interconnected threats facing LGBTQ people, women of color, immigrant women, and low-income families. I am inspired to work on their behalf and honored to be part of NWLC’s exceptional team of more than 60 individuals who are ready for the battles ahead. Together, we will translate the incredible energy and activism of this pivotal moment in our nation’s history into lasting change.”

Goss Graves, who has served in numerous roles at NWLC for more than a decade, has spent her career fighting to advance opportunities for women and girls. She has a distinguished track record working across a broad set of issues central to women’s lives, including income security, health and reproductive rights, education access, and workplace fairness. Goss Graves received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2001 and is widely recognized for her effectiveness in the complex public policy arena at both the state and federal levels. She began her career as a litigator at the law firm of Mayer Brown after clerking for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Campbell and Greenberger informed the NWLC Board of Directors last summer of their plan to step down. The Board retained the executive search firm Russell Reynolds to assist in a rigorous search for the Center’s next leader. The Board unanimously approved Goss Graves as the best candidate to lead the Center and believes that her qualifications, experience, and deep familiarity with the Center and its capacity will ensure a seamless leadership transition during a critical moment in the national experience.  

“I am enormously proud of all this organization has accomplished in its 45 years,” said Greenberger. “But as the last weeks have demonstrated, the need for the Center is even more urgent than ever. Fatima is ready for these times and, under her leadership, the Center is well-positioned to combine its advocacy with a newly activated public and its legal and policy expertise to effectively advocate for women and girls—in legislatures, administrative agencies, the judiciary, as well as the court of public opinion. I am thrilled with the Board’s selection of Fatima and excited about the Center’s future.”  

“The Center’s strength has always been its ability to strategically apply depth, knowledge, and know-how to push the fight for equality forward,” said Campbell.  “Fatima is deeply passionate about the Center’s work and the lives of the women the Center helps. She has proven her effectiveness as a brilliant lawyer, an effective advocate, a visionary leader, and an inspiring role model.  She is the right leader for these challenging times.”