Jessica Partnow

I got my start in the nonprofit sector at the Food Bank For New York City, where my job was to provide technical support to soup kitchens and food pantries from Staten Island to the Bronx. It was an incredible way to get to know New York - and to learn that my Pacific Northwest communication style (“great job on X and Y, but let’s work on Z”) was a bit too gentle for the Big Apple. Since then, I have founded and led two nonprofits, worked as an international freelance journalist, spent almost a decade on the journalism faculty at the University of Washington, developed a passion for small and startup nonprofit organizations - and learned to tell the difference between conversations that call for diplomacy and those that need a straight shooter. In 2019 I earned my MBA with a focus on leadership from UW Bothell and transitioned away from education in order to focus on my work with nonprofit organizations in transition.

As a co-founder and executive director of The Seattle Globalist, I grew the organization to an annual budget of $350,000. The Globalist published work by more than 600 freelance contributors - 67% people of color, 73% women, and 45% immigrants or first-generation Americans - during my tenure. The Globalist is dedicated to elevating diverse voices through media, and in my role there, I began to develop my approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to building anti-racist nonprofit organizations with support from training at the People’s Institute and the opportunity to study the Globalist and its work. I left my staff position at the Globalist in 2017 and returned as a board member in August 2019.

I love working with clients as an Interim Executive Director through leadership transitions, and as a consultant and collaborator on organizational development, corporate formation, board development, mission and vision, strategic planning, messaging, and communications. I particularly enjoy working with small teams, and I operate as a collaborator and a coach, supporting staff, boards, and individuals to identify and achieve their goals.

Fun facts about Jessica:

  • I have had the same best friend since I was five years old.
  • I’ve reported from more than a dozen countries in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, East Africa, and the former Soviet Union, including Kazakhstan...twice.
  • My first life plan was to be a ballerina, and I still try to take dance classes every week.